The Colchuck Lake route via the Stuart Lake Trailhead is a fantastic way to see a gorgeous part of Washington state, plus Aasgard Pass looming above the lake itself. It's 8.0 miles round trip to Colchuck Lake, with about 2,200 feet of elevation gain.
If you're considering heading beyond Colchuck Lake, be prepared for the mighty climb up Aasgard Pass (also known as Colchuck Pass), with a very challenging nearly 2,000 feet of elevation gain in less than a mile to reach the Core Enchantments area (but well worth the hard work). Use extreme caution when snow is present, due to hidden hazards that have taken the lives of several unaware hikers.
An overnight permit is required is staying at Colchuck Lake from May 15 - October 31, but day hiking only requires a self issued wilderness permit. Dogs are prohibited on this trail.
In the parking lot there is a vault toilet. The trailhead itself is at the far end (south side) of the parking lot.
Read more about the Core Enchantments area, here.
It's a long hike in, though worth the effort for the views. Taking children beyond Colchuck Lake and up Aasgard Pass isn't recommended.
Sights to See
Stated at the trailhead about 4am, lot was half full (I imagine with thru hikers and those with permits to stay overnight.). Didn’t encounter many people on the trail. Beautiful clear night skies with the moon so bright. Used headlamps for the first 2-3 miles until the light started to come out. Fall colors were just beginning to show. Amazing views wherever you get the chance to peak out from the trees. We made it to the lake about 30 minutes too late to watch the darkness lift and the light illuminate the lake. Was still just as beautiful with the morning glow. The larches were so bright and yellow! We brought breakfast to cook as we sat and just admired the lake the the scenery and talking about thru hiking the enchantments next year. Wandered around the lake for about an hour then headed back down. Now in the daylight we were able to view the creek/river on the way down that teased us on the way up. ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Beautiful lake, like so many of our alpine lakes! A friend and I hiked up here on our way up through the Enchantments. We were pretty rushed as we were doing the whole trail in a day, but Colchuck Lake was a great stopover—just wish we could have camped there instead! Maybe next time, if we're ever able to get the permit for it. It's definitely worth the trip out even for the afternoon though, and has great views of Aasgard pass above. ★ ★ ★ ★ ★