Selecting the starting and ending trailheads for this magical journey can be a challenging decision. My group elected to start from the Snow Lakes trailhead.
Nada Lake includes this forceful fountain from Lower Snow Lake. Enjoy this video I took showing the power of this fountain.
Upper and Lower Snow Lakes are used as base camp for many unable to obtain permits to camp in the Upper Enchantment zone.
This is the infamous rebar section. On a dry day, the steps are unnecessary, but when wet, icy, or snowy, this area makes hikers ponder whether to ascend, descend or avoid the Snow Lake Trailhead.
Lake Viviane is the first of the alpine lakes. The sun glare made it difficult to capture a photo equal to her beauty.
Leprechaun Lake, just as magical as it’s name.
A peninsula separates Leprechaun Lake and a granite wall highlighted by waterfalls.
Expect to see a few families of goats. We found them to be docile, seeking only our urine, which should be deposited only on or between rocks when an official toilet is not used.
Inspiration Lake with Prusik Peak in the background.
Crystal Lake and McClellan Peak
The views from atop Little Annapurna were dramatic. To the south, the geology was much different than that in the Alpine Lake region.
Near the front right of the below photo is Crystal Lake, with an apparent infinity edge. In the middle are Perfection and Inspiration Lakes. Further in the distance is Leprechaun Lake with Lake Viviane above it, and in the far distance are Snow Lakes.
Sunrises and sunsets can be dramatic.
Prusik Peak highlighted by the clouds signaling a change of weather.
An unnamed lake provided this stunning opportunity.
Looking over the scree embankment down to Colchuck Lake
Looking up at the scree field of Aasgard Pass as well as the boulder field surrounding Colchuck Lake. Would you rather go up or down scree?
Colchuck Lake, another camping area for those without Upper Enchantment permits.
Ending at the Stuart Lake Trailhead
Here’s a general idea of what to expect.
Celebrating at the top of Little Annapurna
- Lighten your load! I can’t stress enough the challenges of hiking boulders and scree with an oversized weighty pack. I saw many miserable hikers. Your FUN meter will increase exponentially with a lighter leaner pack.
- Some people run and hike the trail end to end in one day, others will take a week or more to enjoy the many alpine lakes and summits.
- Be prepared for weather changes. We had one night of extremely strong winds, bringing with them a drop in temperature and clouds which could have easily dumped either rain or snow. Fires are prohibited.
- Leavenworth is the nearest town. Besides it’s tourist charm, it meets a hiker’s basic needs with a Safeway and Starbucks. There was at least one outfitter, plus the Wenatchee River Ranger District Office for obtaining walk-up permits. I stayed at the Best Western before and after my trip; they permitted me to leave my car in their parking lot.
- Use this link to find other areas I’ve explored in Washington state.