- Elevation: 1,700 feet
- Distance: 9 miles RT
- NWFP required at trailhead
Stuart Lake is an awesome sight to see. It is in the Northern Cascades near Leavenworth, WA. Aaron's parents were in town visiting over Memorial Day weekend, and we decided to check out a new area while they were in town. Leavenworth was mentioned 4 or 5 times by different people (women I met in Costa Rica, my co-worker- Michelle, and several patients). Since it came up so many times in only a week or two, I took it as a sign that I should go explore there soon. Leavenworth is the closest town to the Enchantments. The Enchantments are a spectacular backpacking trip in the Cascades. Just google "the enchantments," and you'll see for yourself. Stuart Lake lies at the edge of the Enchantments and is an easy way to get a taste of them with only a day hike. We started our hike around 9am. Lewis and Cynthia dropped us off and we told them to come back at 3pm. The hike in begins in the forest and it gains elevation the whole way. Before too long, you'll have your first sighting of the river.
The trail gains elevation for about 2 miles the flattens out. There is one junction; left goes into the Enchantments, right goes to Stuart Lake. We hung a right and continued. This is where it gets really awesome. We had no idea what we were in for and were pleasantly surprised with the views. We strolled through several meadows and did a little more climbing. Two more miles after the junction, we arrived at our destination.
There are several campsites around the lake. Surprisingly, there were several still open. This is encouraging since I would figure a spot like this would be full on a holiday weekend. We laid on a large rock in the sun for about an hour and then headed back to the trailhead. Lewis and Cynthia literally drove up within a minute of us finishing, what timing! We drove back into Leavenworth and enjoyed a German meal with beers!
I moved to the Pacific Northwest in August of 2012. I quickly identified myself as a hiker. I want to document my experiences so that I can refer to them for myself and others to provide the best hiking experience. I also hope to learn more about hiking from others comments and recommendations.