Backpack - The Enchantments


Backpack - The Enchantments

This will be a week long photography oriented trip in to the core Enchantment Lake Area. Because Photography Opportunities will provide the basis for the trip itinerary and the pace of our backpacking schedule, this trip is for serious amateur/professional photographers only. This will be an excellent opportunity to photograph the Enchantment Lakes and surrounding area in beautiful Fall light. The larch trees and foliage should feature brilliant fall colors this time of the year. The leader will do everything possible to enhance your photographic experience helping ensure you come back with awesome photographs!

COVID-19: Learn about our most up-to-date guidance for participants and leaders on our COVID-19 Response page. All participants and leaders must agree to the COVID-19 Code of Conduct before participating in this Mountaineers activity.
  • Very Strenuous
  • Challenging
  • Mileage: 18.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 6,500 ft

We will meet at the snow creek/lake trail trailhead parking lot at 10AM on Wednesday September 30th.  For the first day we will hike 5.6 miles gaining 3,500 feet to Nada Lake where we will camp.  The next day we will hike 4.2 miles to Perfection Lake gaining another 1,000 feet.  We will find a suitable base camp in this area where we will stay 3 nights.  The base camp will provide opportunities for excursions to other lakes and the upper enchantments.  On day five we will break camp and hike to Snow Lakes where will camp.  The following day we will hike back to our cars.  There will be an optional lunch/dinner at Gustav's Restaurant before saying our goodbyes!

Due to the physical challenges of this trip along with the potential for cold/stormy weather, all participant will require extensive screening through an interview process prior to being approved for participation in the trip. 

Everyone is responsible to bring there own food and tent for this trip.  We can discuss the potential for sharing stoves and wonder purification devises to reduce weight.  The leader will bring a first aid kit.  Temperatures can get cold this time of the year at our planned elevations so bring a warm sleeping bag, ideally rated at 15 degrees or lower (note a bag rate 15 is really 25 degrees!).  Also bring other cold weather clothing-warm underwear, and layered clothing. 

This trail is within Alpine Lakes Wilderness.  The Snow Lakes Trail is 12.0 miles long, gains 6500 feet of elevation, and is designated hiker-only. The trail begins at the Snow Lakes Trailhead, crossing a large bridge over Icicle Creek, then immediately starts to switchback up the rocky canyon. The heavily-used trail has very little tree cover and no water for approximately 2.5 miles, then it passes Snow Creek on the right and continues to switchback up through the forest. The trail climbs more steeply across an old landslide path, and heads into denser forest, leveling out and opening up at Nada Lake, which is about 5.6 miles from the trailhead. There are many well-established campsites on the east shore of Nada Lake, and the trail continues to the southeast end of the lake. It then switchbacks up over a large talus and scree slope, climbing 1.7 miles until it reaches Lower Snow Lake, where there are several well-marked campsites. The trail goes over the old dam between Upper and Lower Snow Lakes, and continues for 1.5 miles along the south shore of Upper Snow Lake, where there are dozens of clear campsites. After the head of Upper Snow Lake, the trail is designated unmaintained, and is very rugged. The path switchbacks up extremely steeply: parts of it cut through dense forest, where gnarled roots grow in the middle of the trail, and sections of it cross precipitous granite outcroppings that can be very slick if it is raining. The trail reaches Lake Viviane after about 1 mile of steep uphill scrambling, and there are several lovely campsites here with breathtaking views of the valley below and the surrounding peaks. A short, steep climb up the north-facing granite cliff, and the trail passes Leprechaun Lake, then continues less steeply—though no less ruggedly—past Sprite Pond and around the east side of Perfection Lake. At the head of Perfection Lake, Snow Lake Trail ends and becomes Colchuck Lake Trail #1599.1, which continues through the Upper Enchantments. Please be advised: while heavily-trafficked, the trail beyond Upper Snow Lake to the Core Enchantments is a primitive route marked with rock cairns, and is recommended only for experienced hikers.


The Enchantments

  • Green Trails Alpine Lakes East (Stuart Range) No. 208SX

    Green Trails Enchantment Lakes No. 209S
  • See full route/place details.
Required Equipment

Required Equipment

The Ten Essentials plus overnight gear which may include:

  • Tent with footprint/ground tarp
  • Stove and fuel
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pad
  • Water filter
  • Bear canister or extra stuff sack and cord designated for hanging food
  • Cooking pot/pan with plate and utensils
  • Toilet paper and shovel or blue bag to deal with waste
Trip Reports