Trail No. 1599.1
June 10, 2007 - Although it was raining when I left Seattle early in the morning and raining even harder as I drove across Stevens Pass, Leavenworth was sunny and warm. I was excited to be on this trail at last, and it was a delightful hike through a very pretty forest along Mountaineer Creek. Trail 1599, the Stuart Lake trail, starts off on an easy grade, but after it crosses Mountaineer Creek about 1.5 miles from the trailhead, it gets down to the business of gaining elevation and begins to switchback steadily up. Shortly after this creek crossing, Dragontail Peak comes into view from behind trees, and almost before you know it, you are at the junction of Colchuck Lake Trail No. 1599.1. Almost immediately after turning left at this junction, the trail crosses Mountaineer Creek and skirts the lower reaches of a massive boulder field. Back in the woods, the trail begins to climb through granite rocks of all shapes and sizes. It is a fun hike, with rocks to scramble over, and it gains elevation rapidly and presents one show-stopping view after another. Typical of most trails in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness area, this trail is narrow, steep, and crisscrossed with gnarled roots. Massive boulders and chunks of white granite along the way make it picturesque.
About the time you think it can't get any better than this, it does. The trail passes by a waterfall and shortly thereafter reaches Colchuck Lake. Surrounded by granite cliffs and peaks, the lake is the brilliant blue-green color that is typical of a glacier-fed lake. Dragontail Peak, Aasgard Pass, and Colchuck Peak dominate the scenery and guard the entry into the Enchantment Lakes basin. It is indeed an enchanting setting, worthy of the mythical names. The only thing lacking is a mountain goat.
It is Aasgard Pass that drew me here today; I have come to see first hand what will be involved in hiking up the pass later this summer.
8.4 miles roundtrip
Elevation gain: 2200'