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The Enchantments & Perfection Lake

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@rossschram
By looking at photos of The Enchantments online, you'll quickly see why it's one of the most sought-after backpacking destinations in the Pacific Northwest. Nature has created one of the most pristine places in the world at this spot! It's an alpine paradise of granite, larch trees, mountain goats and crystal-blue lakes. This much beauty comes at a price, though, as there are no easy ways to experience The Enchantments. The shortest route is around seven miles long, with over 4,000 ft of elevation gain — but, if you can handle the strenuous climb, I highly encourage you to experience this once-in-a-lifetime hike.

Plan

Overview

Skill level

Difficult
Accessbility
Public Location

Hours

Anytime

Fee

$5 day ($30 year) Northwest Forest Pass for parking. Backpacking lottery fee is $10 per application and successful permits are $5 per person per day.

Pack

  • Wide-angle lens (16mm)
  • Lightweight, sturdy tripod
  • Food
  • Water
  • Appropriate hiking attire (depending on season)
  • Backpacking gear (if spending the night with a permit)

How to get there

N47° 28' 44.5548"W120° 48' 00.5904"
This image was taken along the The Enchantments trail, with a northeast view of Perfection Lake. The best way to get to this location is by taking a car and then hiking.
Please note: this hike is very difficult. I only encourage you to visit this location if you are experienced in hiking and are in good health.
Starting from the Stuart And Colchuck Lake Trailheads (47.527837, -120.820915), follow the route to Colchuck Lake. Once you've arrived at Colchuck Lake, head to the southend of the lake. The trail may disappear at times, but cairns will usually mark the way. The route will eventually become clear and you'll begin climbing steeply over a slope of talus. You may once again have a difficult time following the "trail" (look for foot paths) as you hike upwards and to the left of a large group of larch trees about halfway up the climb.
Continue working your way up over large boulders until you reach the top. You're now finally at the beginning of the Enchantments (47.478608, -120.819253)! From there, the trail is easier to follow and much less steep. Head east and reference the GPS coordinates to find the point where I stood on the southwest side of Perfection Lake.

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