The Enchantments in Leavenworth, WA have to be one of the most natural beautiful places I have ever been. They are considered to be one of the best hikes in the state. If you are looking for a weekend hike, where you backpack, camp, swim, summit, and see some amazing views, animals, lakes, arch and granite everywhere, then you must plan to visit The Enchantments. There are five zones, each require a day pass or a permit for overnight camping. The permits for overnight camping are given by lottery each year, you can check online for availability HERE, and plan early!
We had a pass to the Stuart Zone, which is 5 miles (elevation 5065) from the Stuart Lake Trailhead to first view of the lake. It starts out easy, in the cool forests, creeks and meadows before emerging in the forested basin, base of the lake with trees, and the 9415-foot peak Mt Stuart. At the shoreline there are plenty of sandy and grassy spots to stop and have lunch, as well as areas to camp.
At the end of the maintained Lake Stuart trail, you will jump onto a narrow trail of fallen logs, that blend into a marshy meadow. The trail really isn’t clear as to where you are going but we continued on until we ran into a tree studded with a metal horseshoe. The mark to turnoff to Horseshoe Lake begins the steep climb, through thick forests, narrow trails and the obstacle course over many fallen logs. After 1.5 miles, the trail becomes rocky until you are climbing over the ledge. At the top, you will be stunned, the most beautiful scenic site, Horseshoe lake. We were the only ones up here, set up camp and went for a swim!
The hike in took around 7 hours and out took around 5 hours (we had a big group and as many rest stops to enjoy the day). Keep a look out for the mosquitos and horse fly’s, they come out in the morning and night and are a pain!