Hiking Colchuck Lake Trail


On Sunday, I completed the first major hike in my life.

Colchuck Lake Trail sits about 13 miles west and a bit north of Leavenworth, which is about 18 miles north and a bit west of Wenatchee — where I live.

This hike compiled of a few things I think didn’t matter, but that’s because I don’t know anything about hiking.

However, I realized why people wear what they do when they are “on the trail.”

First off, I should have started with some easier trails and built my way up to this eight-mile roundtrip, 2,280 feet change in elevation beast. This is one of the harder trails in the North Central part of Washington, but far from the toughest.

This trail was filled with interesting feature, including several cross-bridges that go over Icicle Creek, which flows into the Wenatchee River.

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Asgard Pass, which sits at an elevation of 7,700 feet, is the gateway to The Enchantments and Core Zone.

I started around 8:30 a.m. The trail started off easy, but little did I know what was ahead of me. Huge tree roots and big rocks filled the trail as I started my climb to Colchuck Lake. Flat periods were a welcomed site, but extremely short-lived before gaining more elevation.

There were many switchbacks on this trail, but the ones I came across were difficult (a switchback is when the trail climbs one way, then immediately shifts back the other direction — essentially, it’s a zig-zag).

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A look at Colchuck Lake with Dragontail Peak in the immediate background. To left is Aasgard Pass and Colchuck Glacier is to the right.

On this trail, I felt I gained a ton of elevation on the switchbacks, which end up taking a lot out of a person on a four-mile hike.

After 3.5 hours of hiking, I made it to the top and stared at what was Colchuck Lake.

At the top, I was faced with Aasgard Pass — which is the mammoth mountain that leads to The Enchantments and Core Zone of the Cascade Mountains — to the left, Dragontail Peak in the middle and what was left of the Colchuck Glacier.

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Icicle Creek doesn’t slow down, even during the dry summer. The creek flows into the Wenatchee River, which then flows into the Columbia River.

Every time I look at a mountain, it just amazes me. These were spectacular to see and Dragontail still had snow on it. Colchuck Lake was so clear and pure that it was a shame someone was floating around in a tube to disturb the peace.

However, I would have loved to be out there.

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The podunk — named Chunky Charles — took a break from his day to pose for a photo.

Maybe next time.

The trek down took 2.5 hours and got long at the end. The last half-mile seemed to drag on forever, but that was because I was tired and my feet were sore. Even if I was in shape, I still would have been exhausted. It heats up the during the day, but it took me to look in the mirror when I got home to realize I was burnt on my face, arms and neck.

All in all, I learned a lot on this trip. A lot of people have a real passion for the outdoors in Washington State. Whether they are people from the state, region or another country, I saw many different people — of all shapes, sizes and ages — hiking up this mountain that can be treacherous at times. However, the end prize is extremely rewarding.

If any of you ever venture out here, be sure to leave early, bring plenty of water and food, and prepare for a great workout.

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