Hiking to Lake Colchuk and Aasgard Pass, gateway to the Enchantments!

This is the second to last weekend before the permit season starts; starting mid-June the only way to overnight in the Enchantments is via a very hard to get permit that is awarded by lottery. Seems I wasn’t the only one out to bag a night before permit season!

Stuart Lake Trailhead:

Stuart Lake Trailhead Sign

Clearly posted: NO DOGS ALLOWED (more on that later…)

No dogs allowed in the Enchantments

Why aren’t dogs allowed here you might ask? Well here’s your answer:

> Dogs are not allowed in the Enchantments for a few reasons. When they were permitted, the goats and ptarmigan disappeared. Measurable levels of fecal coliform pollution were detected in the basin’s pristine alpine lakes. And dog barks sometimes echoed off the surrounding rock through the night, prompting complaints. (http://www.seattlepi.com/news/article/A-heavenly-reward-awaits-in-the-Enchantment-Lakes-1157203.php#page-2 )

Anyway, on with the hike!

Nice trail in good shape through the woods with some cool bridges along the way-

Footbridge on the Stuart Lake Trail Crossing some rapids on the Stuart Lake Trail A cool footbridge on the Stuart Lake Trail

As the trail climbs you begin to get some nice views-

View from the Stuart Lake Trail

It’s roughly 4 miles to Lake Colchuk.

OSMand Stuart Lake Trail to Lake Colchuk Map

The effort is well worth it! Welcome to Colchuk Lake!!

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The magnificent Dragontail Peak looming above Colchuk Lake!

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Stunning clear icy cold glacial blue water- can you see the trout swimming below?

Trout in Lake Colchuk, Alpine Lakes Wilderness!

Pressing on- considering how crowded the trailhead parking was I’m a bit worried about finding a camping spot. The amazing views never quit up here!

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I’ve long heard about Washington’s mountain goats, but never seen one until today!

Mountain goat!

Scrambling over some fallen trees I tear a nice hole in my $3.99 Goodwill wool hiking pants…

Holy wool pants

On the plus side I found a really nice spot to camp!

Camping at Colchuk Lake

Ah it felt good to take off the boots and soak my feet in the freezing water of Lake Colchuk!

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The day is still young and across the lake Aasgard Pass beckons!

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I packed some snacks and water and headed off in the direction of Aasgard Pass, not really thinking I’d go all the way up, but wanting to reach the snow at least. From Colchuk Lake to the top of Aasgard Pass is over 2000 feet of elevation in less than a mile- STEEP!

Up there is Colchuk Glacier!

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Looking up towards Aasgard Pass far above- it’s a bit of a scramble just to get to the base-

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Beginning the climb-

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It was a tough hike, but the views along the way were simply breathtaking!

Snow crossings on the way to Aasgard Pass DSC_0888 The view from Aasgard Pass

Made it to the top of Aasgard Pass, gateway to the Enchantments!

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Even up here at 7800′ it was warm and sunny- perfect spot for a picnic and a nap! 🙂

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The climb was tough and I’m running low on water- time to head back down to Colchuk

Colchuk Lake as seen from Aasgard Pass

To Be Continued!

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Categories: backcountry, camping, Environment, Hiking, Inspiration, mountaineering, mountains, National Parks, Outdoors, travelog | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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One thought on “Hiking to Lake Colchuk and Aasgard Pass, gateway to the Enchantments!

  1. tim dubie

    Marc, you are a Christopher Columbus explorer with quite the Photographer skills!

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