An epic hike not far from Seattle. Learn how to “win” the permit lottery in order to camp here!
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Permitted Season & Conditions
May 15 – October 31
Even during May and June, there is still quite a bit of snow. Do your best to check conditions on forums to see how much snow to expect – specifically for which zone you’ll be staying in.
1 ➢ Eightmile / Caroline
The Eightmile Lake area is the only area under 5000 feet, which means this is the only zone where you’re allowed to build a fire… BUT, you’re not allowed to have a fire less than a half mile from any lake, no matter which zone you’re in.
2 ➢ Stuart
3 ➢ Colchuck (my recommendation)
4 ➢ Core Enchantment
Permit to Core Enchantment allows you to camp in ANY of the 5 permit zones
5 ➢ Snow
Hiking Distances and Elevations
Snow Lake: Snow Creek Trailhead to the Upper Snow Lake Dam
6.5 miles / 3800 foot elevation gain (and another 1.5 miles to the far end of the lake).
Colchuck Lake: Stuart Lake Trailhead to first view of the lake
4.2 miles / 2200 foot elevation gain.
Stuart Lake: Stuart Lake Trailhead to first view of the lake
4.6 miles / 1600 foot elevation gain.
Eightmile Lake: Eightmile Trailhead to the lake outlet
3.3 miles / 1300 foot elevation gain.
Lake Caroline: Eightmile Trailhead to the lake
5.6 miles / 3100 foot elevation gain.
from Colchuck Lake to the top of Aasgard Pass:
2.5 miles / 2500 foot elevation gain
from the inlet of Upper Snow Lake to Lake Viviane:
1.5 miles / 1400 foot elevation gain
The Whole Core Enchantment Loop, Stuart Lake Trailhead to Snow Lake Trailhead:
approximately 19 miles / 6000 foot gain and 7800 foot loss
★ Fires are prohibited throughout the vast majority of the Enchantment Permit Area; no fires anywhere above 5,000 feet or within 1/2 mile of any lakes. Note: stoves are allowed.
★ Maximum length of stay is 14 consecutive days.
★ Eight people is the maximum group size allowed together in any of the permit zones.
★ Two (or more) groups on separate permits may not travel and/or camp together if the total number exceeds eight.
★ You must carry your permit and photo identification with you and present these upon request to any Forest Officer or other law enforcement officer throughout the duration of your trip.
★ You may not re-enter on a different date using the same permit.
★ Your permit is not valid until signed.
★ A “stock permit” is a permit for animals, such as a horse (dogs and other pets are not allowed, and are not considered as “stock”)
★ It is illegal to leave camp gear or any other supplies or materials unattended for more than 48 hours.
★ Geocaching is prohibited in all designated wilderness areas. Please practice this sport elsewhere.
How To Apply For a Permit
There are three methods of obtaining an overnight permit during the permit season:
1 ➢ Apply during the annual permit lottery
2 ➢ Make a reservation online after the pre-season lottery
3 ➢ Obtain a daily “walk-in” permit during the permit season
A pre-season lottery is held around mid-February through early-March of each year to allocate the majority of permits.
CLICK HERE to see the exact dates of the lottery
Didn’t Win The Lottery?
If you didn’t win the lottery, you’ll have only two more opportunities to obtain a permit:
- Through the walk-up lottery held Monday-Saturday at the Wenatchee River Ranger Station
- Through the advance reservation system beginning April 1 around 7am PT (around 10am ET).
Check the current weekly weather conditions HERE
What to Bring
Wool hiking socks
Good hiking boots
$5 per day at the trailhead, or purchse a Northwest Forest Pass for $30 and good for one whole year.