Colchuck Lake and Lake Stuart
|Distance (both ways):||
Colchuck: 8.2 miles (13.2km)|
Stuart: 9 miles (14.5km)
Colchuck: 2,200ft (670m)|
Stuart: 1,700ft (520m)
|Green Trails Map:||209S|
Northwest Forest Pass required to park a car near
Overnight Permit required for camping (contact Leavenworth Ranger Station at 509-548-6977 for details).
The trail head for these hikes is just a short drive away from Leavenworth (accessible from Seattle by Rt 2 or I-90 followed by I-97 North).
The main trail (#1599) leads to Lake Stuart. After 2.5 miles, however, there is a junction where you can take a side trail (#1599.1) to Colchuck Lake. Both trails a very clearly marked and well maintained, with comfortable bridges for crossing Mountaineer Creek. The only potentially confusing place is a little junction where the trail splits briefly with one leg going to a horse ford and the other to a foot bridge. On the way up, you will by default go to the foot bridge but if you are not paying attention on the way back, you may miss the faint sign and end up at the ford instead.
Both lakes are very pretty and are surrounded by spectacular mountains. At Colchuck Lake, there is only a limited number of places where you can get to the shore of the lake and it is not immediatelly obvious where one should stit down for lunch. At Lake Stuart, the trail runs very close to the shore and a few big rocks by the trail are great places for a picnic as they offer a wonderful view of the lake and the nearby mountains.
Jean and I hiked to Colchuck Lake in early June. The trail was clear of any snow and the weather was good. We camped by the lake. Since it was very early in the season, overnight permits were not yet required and the traffic was low. We had no problems finding a good camp site. It rained at night but the following morning the weather was good again. We hiked back to the trail junction, left our packs there and went for a quick hike to Lake Stuart where we cooked our lunch. A very very pleasant weekend.