EXPLORE OUR FULL ENCHANTMENTS PLANNING GUIDE TO LEARN EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THRU-HIKING OR BACKPACKING THIS WORLD-CLASS TRAIL IN WASHINGTON.
The Enchantments are an absolutely amazing alpine wonderland located in central Washington state. In fact, this stunning mountain landscape has been termed the “Crown Jewel of Washington Hiking” by the Washington Trails Association, the leading expert on hiking in Washington. And after doing the full thru-hike of the Enchantments ourselves, we couldn’t agree more: it is absolutely incredible.
Numerous crystal clear alpine lakes. Rugged and pointed granite mountains that look like they are out of some medieval adventure novel. Wildflowers and rushing rivers. Baby mountain goats and speckled alpine birds. The Enchantments really are a mountain paradise and one definitely worth exploring in person.
And if the only thing keeping you from exploring and adventuring in this wonderland yourself is the actual planning, then we are here to help.
Because if we are being honest, it can be a bit overwhelming to plan a trip into the Enchantments. This is mostly due to the fact that there are a lot of options available: from day hikes out to one of the many lakes, to thru-hiking it all in one day, to spending the night (or a couple). But also it can be tough to plan an adventure in the Enchantments because there is just a lot to know about the 20-mile long trail (including, just how tough is it actually?!).
After thru-hiking the Enchantments in one day (one veeery long day) we have got a lot of those answers for you. So, if you are considering hiking in the Enchantments - either via a day trip, a thru-hike or a backpacking adventure - we recommend you read our full Enchantments Planning Guide below.
ENCHANTMENTS PLANNING GUIDE | STEP-BY-STEP INFORMATION
🥾 QUICK OVERVIEW OF THE HIKING TRAIL
📌 TRANSPORTATION (GETTING TO THE TRAILHEADS, PARKING, THE HIKING SHUTTLE)
🎫 PERMITS AND REGULATIONS (BACKPACKING VS THRU-HIKING)
🎒 PACKING GUIDE (FOOD, WATER AND GEAR)
(Keep scrolling for the full guide OR jump to each section above to save time)
THE ENCHANTMENTS TRAIL MAP
\\ The Enchantments Hiking Trail | A Quick Overview
Even though this is one of the most popular trails in all of Washington state, the Enchantments trail should not be underestimated. It is a darn tough trail. Especially if you decide to do it all in one day (aka thru-hike it). While the beauty and the insane landscape makes it 100% worth it, still be prepared for a long and tough day on the trail.
TOTAL DISTANCE: ~20 miles (32 kilometers) one-way
TYPE OF HIKE: point-to-point (see more on this below)
TOTAL ELEVATION GAIN: around 5,000 feet
HIGHEST POINT: the infamous Aasgard Pass, which sits at 7,800 feet (2377 meters)
TIME NEEDED TO DO THE THRU-HIKE: 10-15 hours; depends on your fitness level and how often you stop (we did it in 12 hours and took our time by the many lakes)
➳ You can find more stats on the Enchantments hiking trail on Alltrails.
WHICH WAY SHOULD YOU GO?
Because the trail is point-to-point, you can technically go either direction - start or end at either the Stuart Lake or Snow Lake Trailheads. But for the most part, people usually begin at the Stuart Lake and Colchuk Lake Trailhead and then hike over Aasgard Pass and then back down to Snow Lake. By going this direction, you save yourself 2,600 feet of elevation gain. But you still have to climb up the infamous Aasgard Pass - where you climb 1,900 feet in less than a mile.
We decided to follow everyone else and hike over from Stuart Lake to Snow Lake. While climbing over Aasgard Pass was tough, if you take your time and drink plenty of water, you should be fine. Plus, from the top of the pass the rest of the trail is a nice gradual downhill hike.