The Enchantment Permit Area lies within the Alpine Lakes Wilderness in the Cascade Mountains of Washington State. It is managed according to the Wilderness Management Plan and the 1964 Wilderness Act, to provide protection of fragile resources and preservation of wilderness character for generations to come.
The area is typified by rugged glaciated peaks and a series of lakes ranging from 4,400 feet to 7,800 feet in elevation. Lower elevation trails and lakes are forested, while the upper lakes are within an alpine environment. Although the area is high use, trails are very primitive with steep, rocky sections. Travel is difficult in areas.
The weather can vary in the Cascade Mountains. May, June, September and October are considered "shoulder seasons" and visitors can expect to encounter snow and winter-like conditions. Day and overnight visitors need to check the weather and be prepared for all weather types throughout the season.
Due to the overwhelming popularity of this unique area, all visitors must obtain a permit if visiting from May 15 through October 31. Through the remainder of the year, permits are not required. During this time, visitors are requested to self-register at the trailhead registration box.
Day users need only fill out a free day-use permit, available at any of the three trailheads accessing the Enchantment Permit Area. Day use is very popular and opportunities for solitude are limited and not likely during the summer. A Northwest Forest Pass is required and visitors must park in the designated day use parking areas at the Stuart Lake Trailhead.
Demand for overnight permits far exceeds the number available, therefore advanced reservations are recommended. A small number of daily walk-in permits are available on an unreserved basis Monday - Saturday. View historical lottery statistics (PDF).
Trips into the Enchantment Permit Area can range from overnight to multiple days. It is imperative hikers and backpackers evaluate their comfort and ability in various environments when choosing their route, as many hikes are strenuous and somewhat primitive, while others offer easier climbs.
A trip to the Core Enchantment Zone is recommended for experienced hikers, who are prepared for arduous travel and all weather conditions. Visitors typically plan at least three or four days for this trip. Steep and challenging terrain make travel with an overnight pack very strenuous.
A three day trip to Colchuck or Snow Lakes allows time for a day trip to the Core Enchantments. Likewise, many may find an overnight trip to Eightmile or Stuart Lakes to be adequate, while others take a few extra days to relax or fish.
The Overnight Visitor Parking Pass that comes free with an Enchantments permit must be on display on your vehicle’s dashboard. Park in appropriate day or overnight designated parking areas.
Alternate group leader must have a recreation.gov account and accept online. This person cannot be changed after the lottery application process.
Trail users should anticipate the potential for 15-30 minute delays from the Snow Creek Bridge through the first ¼ mile of trail during September – October 2021 and March – April 2022. Trail users should also expect the intermittent presence of heavy machinery and construction noise.
Between May 15 and October 31, a permit is required for overnight use in the Enchantments. Permits allow the permit holder and their group to camp overnight in one of the five permit zones:
View a map of the permit zones.
Groups must camp together each night in the zone for which the permit is issued. Core Enchantment permit hol ders may camp in any of the five zones. Day use is permitted across all zones, but camping can only occur in the zone for which the overnight permit is issued.
There are three methods of obtaining an overnight permit:
1. Apply during the annual permit lottery
2. Make a reservation online after the annual permit lottery
3. Obtain a daily walk-in permit at the Leavenworth Ranger Station during the permit season (excluding Sundays)
Find detailed information and instructions on how to obtain a permit.
Rules and regulations for the Enchantment Permit area are strictly enforced. Failure to comply with regulations may result in citations for all group members, termination of trip and denial of future permits. Watch Enchantments Educational Video!
Conditions of Use:
Alternate Group Leader
Risk and Responsibility:
The Enchantment Permit Area is a remote alpine environment with potential hazards and risks. Being prepared and knowing your skill level and ability and the skill level and abilities of all of your group members is imperative. Aasgard Pass is not advised for hikers not prepared and equipped for steep snow travel. Use extreme caution when climbing or descending steep snow slopes, exposed and hidden creeks and waterfalls are present. In recent years, hikers have died after glissading and falling into a creek or hole in the snowpack.
There are no refunds for unfavorable weather conditions.
Lottery Application: $6.00 non-refundable fee (Note: reservation fee is non-refundable even if you are unsuccessful in the lottery.)
Recreation Fee: Overnight Enchantment permits are $5.00 per person, per day, May 15th-October 31st.
*The recreation fee finances on-the-ground administration and management of the Enchantment Permit Area. Trailhead passes for parking are included in the permit cost only for the duration of your overnight trip.
Day use visitors are required to obtain a free self-issue day use permit and purchase and display a Northwest Forest Pass (PDF), available online, at the ranger station, or at the trailhead.
Parking is prohibited along the lefthand side FS Road 7601. All users must display required day or overnight parking pass and park in designated areas within designated trailheads. Violators will be ticketed and towed at owners expense.
Cancellations and Changes: Confirmed and awarded trips may be cancelled up to 22 days before the trip with a refund. The $6 application fee is nonrefundable. There is no refund if the trip is cancelled within 21 days of the entry date. There are no refunds for unfavorable weather conditions. You can cancel or change your reservation online at Recreation.gov.
600 Sherbourne Leavenworth WA 98826