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Colchuck Lake....Leavenworth

Please be respectful of those on the wait list and change your RSVP if you are not sure your going to make it...Thank you

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NO Cotton, no tennis shoes and 10  essentials REQUIRED.... you will be turned back at the p&r if you are not prepared.

Roundtrip 8.4 miles

Elevation Gain 2200 ft

Highest Point 5600 ft

SLOW to moderate pace


15 for gas

NW. Forest Pass required

No cotton

10 essentials



From Renton to Leavenworth 2 h 14 min

Merge onto I-405 N

   Take exit 23 for Washington 522 E toward Wenatchee/Woodinville/US         

   Exit onto US-2 E toward Wenatchee 8.8 mi            

Continue onto Stevens Ave 1.3 mi            

At the traffic circle, take the 2nd exit onto US-2 

Right onto Icicle Creek Rd......@ gas station


To trailhead from Icicle Creek Rd........ Milepost 99 on US 2


Driving Directions:

follow the paved Icicle Creek Road (Forest Road 76) for 8.4 miles,

 turning left onto Eightmile Road (FR 7601).

Continue on this washboarded dirt road for 3.8 miles to a large parking lot and the trailhead (elev. 3400 ft).

Set in a granite bathtub beneath spiraling peaks dabbed with shimmering strings of glacial ice, Colchuck ranks as one of the most beautiful alpine lakes in all of Washington. And one of the most popular too! Can you resist the lure of Colchuck's sparkling cobalt waters? Or being mesmerized by her glacial-scoured surroundings that appear right out of the High Sierra? I didn't think so. But before joining the boot-beating brigade, be forewarned. The hike isn't easy. It involves a knee knocking ascent over some pretty steep and rocky terrain.

Immediately entering cool, dark forest, the trail starts off easy enough, following alongside sensory-pleasing Mountaineer Creek. Soon after crossing into the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, transition into open lodgepole pine forest.

On decent tread and good grade, weave through big boulders and cross bubbling side creeks, all while staying within constant eyesight and earshot of tumbling Mountaineer Creek. At about 1.75 miles (elev. 4000 ft) cross Mountaineer Creek on an attractive log bridge spanning deep pools fed by crashing rapids. The trail now begins to climb in earnest-through fields of big boulders, up and around granite ledges, and through open forest granting views of the craggy Enchantment peaks. You'll notice a considerable increase in temperature too on these sun-kissed slopes.

The way eases before coming to a junction at 2.5 miles (elev. 4500 ft). The main trail continues straight for a fairly easy amble to Lake Stuart. Hang left instead for the more challenging and more scenic journey. Cross Mountaineer Creek once again, and then work your way through a boulder field alongside the creek, maintaining balance and dry boots. The trail reenters forest to cross a devil's club-cloaked creek, makes a big sweep up ledges, recrosses the creek, and then heads up a steep rocky stretch, passing a small cascade.

Now ascending a series of granite ledges between steep stretches of rocky and rooty tread, the way continues its abrupt climb. A short drop of 50 feet or so may dampen spirits. But growing views of the valley and surrounding peaks should help recharge them. The sheer volume of scoured granite above and below may give California transplants a Yosemite flashback or two.

But all will rejoice upon reaching the deep rocky pocket cradling the lake. A short spur takes off left 0.1 mile to a small lagoon on Colchuck's south end, where breathtaking views of the backdrop spires Dragontail and Colchuck peaks can be enjoyed. Tucked between that pair of precipitous peaks is the Colchuck Glacier, one of the many icy sources feeding the chilling waters of the lake. Colchuck is derived from the Chinook Jargon meaning "cold water."

Feel free to explore the lakeshore, looking for sunny slabs, perfect for snacking and napping. But treat this area with care. Despite the durable appearance, plants have a tough time surviving in this harsh environment. Keep to rock and use the available backcountry privy if nature calls.

Driving Directions:

From milepost 99 on US 2, on the western edge of Leavenworth, follow the paved Icicle Creek Road (Forest Road 76) for 8.4 miles, turning left onto Eightmile Road (FR 7601). Continue on this washboarded dirt road for 3.8 miles to a large parking lot and the trailhead (elev. 3400 ft).


Disclaimer: Trailside is not a professional guide service. Our leaders function, as facilitators only, to enhance your outdoor experience. Reports of trail and weather conditions are based on best available information, are subject to change, and are no guarantee of fitness for any particular purpose. You may join us on this hike at your own risk. Keep in mind that hiking involves risks and weather changes quickly in the mountains. You are responsible for your own safety and the more prepared you are, the better the chance you will remain safe.

Signing up for any Trailside organized event indicates that you have read, understand and agree to the terms of this disclaimer and hold harmless all Trailside Organizers and Leaders in the event of injury or loss.

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  • Gretchen S.

    This was a magnificent hike! Enjoyed myself so much...glorious weather, beautiful scenery, and great company! Thank you Charlotte for loaning me your shoes....they worked so well I am going to go get me a pair like them. Will try to post pics either tonight or tomorrow. Thank you Lorri for organizing and for driving.

    July 7, 2014

  • Lorey

    Great to go further away from home, wonderful people and stunning mountains. Freezing cold lake too but soooo fun to jump in! Thanks for getting us out there Lorrie.

    July 7, 2014

  • Lucia C C.

    The hike was a great workout! The view of the lake was well worth the sweat! Thank you Lorri for organizing it! Dinner was the best part of the day (for me!) lol

    July 7, 2014

  • Bill V

    I am coming from Graham and will pick up three riders at the South Hill PnR on 94th Ave East. Taking south route to TH with stop at Traveler's Rest at Snoqualmie pass. I have Senior Pass. No dogs. Since this route is longer than Lorri's, I will be leaving the SH PnR at 7:30am. Any takers?

    June 13, 2014

    • Lorey

      Bill do you know what time we should leave Tacoma to be on time at the trailhead? I get to NB in 45 minutes.

      June 24, 2014

    • Bill V

      I would leave Tacoma at 0715.

      1 · June 24, 2014

  • Kelly

    Has anyone thought about going over and staying Sat night.

    June 9, 2014

    • Kelly

      Lorey, It looks like I have no takers for staying the night, so I'd love to ride with you. Where are we meeting you and what time?

      June 23, 2014

    • Lorey

      Yes, you are welcome to ride with us and we are meeting at the old Top Foods at 8: 30

      June 24, 2014

  • Gretchen S.

    Allen and I can drive but do not have a pass. Room for two others. Or we can be passengers.

    June 21, 2014

    • Gretchen S.

      Sounds good. We're coming from Puyallup so we'll meet you at the Renton park and ride

      1 · June 21, 2014

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