central cascades washington enchantments

Bucket list photos from a wonderful backpacking trip to the Enchantments

The Enchantments, three hours east of Seattle, are full of alpine lakes, rugged peaks, and endless beauty. Even though it’s a 22+ mile hike with a significant incline, it’s a sought-after place. It’s also why they have a stringent permitting process to help limit visitors’ impact on the terrain.

Over 23,000 people a year apply for permits for backpacking the enchantments, with only a few hundred getting the ‘Core Zone,’ which is the most stunning part of it.

Below is an Enchantments backpacking photo journey through the 22-mile trail with over 10,000 feet of elevation change. It’s not for the intro hiker or backpacker but for those with experience hiking long distances; it’s one you’ll never forget.

Enjoy these photos of the Enchantments.

Related: My Guide of what you need to know for a trip into the Enchantments

Photos From a Dazzling Trip Backpacking the Enchantments

Photos of the Enchantments – The hike into Colchuck Lake

The hike to Colcuch was uneventful, and we found a great place to sleep in the boulder field towards the back of the lake. Then, we walked back around for a peaceful sunset.

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colchuck lake sunset
sunset in the washington enchantments
backpacking colchuck lake sunrise tent
backpacking the enchantments

Hiking Up Aasgard Pass

This is one of the most demanding ascents I have ever done. It was slow-moving, with over 2,000 feet of vertical gain in just over a mile. Thankfully, you only have to do it once if you thru-hike it.

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washington central cascades aasgard pass
core zone backpacking the enchantments

The Core Zone – Days 2 & 3

Once in the Core Zone, it was super easy to get around. After two days of backpacking the enchantments, the gang was tired, and we lounged around, playing cards and napping. But I still had enough energy to snap these photos of the Enchantments.

Hope you’re enjoying this photo story so far!

Views from the Enchantments Core Zone

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backpacking the enchantments
backpacking the enchantments
backpacking the enchantments
core zone enchantments

The Enchantments Mountain Goats

goats of the enchantments

Sunset from Aasgard Pass While Backpacking the Enchantments

These are some of my favorite photos of the Enchantments I’ve taken. The view at sunset is so surreal.

backpacking the enchantments aasgard pass sunset
central cascades washington enchantments
backpacking the enchantments
backpacking the enchantments
sunset enchantments

Hiking through the Core Zone while backpacking the Enchantments

We moved about two miles through the core to Leprechaun Lake. As 3/5 of us hadn’t been here before, we wanted them to get the whole experience.

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washingtons cascade mountains
prusik peak reflection washington
backpacking the enchantments
backpacking the enchantments
backpacking the enchantments

Photos of the Enchantments – Descending through Snow Lakes

I’ve now nicknamed this the Enchantments Death March. It gets boring quite fast with 11 or 12 miles of downhill walking. I think I’d rather go down Aasgard than down this route.

mountain goat lake viviane
snow lakes enchantments

I hope you enjoyed these photos of the Enchantments. It was grueling but so incredibly worth it!

Until next time adventurers, take care and be safe.

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Author: Alec Sills-Trausch

Title: Founder of Explore with Alec

Expertise: Hiking, Backpacking, Photography, and Road Trips


Alec Sills-Trausch is a hiker, backpacker, landscape photographer, and syndicated travel writer. He enjoys showing off the beauty of the world through his photos, videos, and written work on ExploreWithAlec.com. Alec is also a 2x cancer survivor and bone marrow transplant recipient, showing the world that there is a future from this terrible disease.

He lives in Washington, where he gets to enjoy the stunning PNW mountains in addition to all the other places he attempts to visit each year! You can see more work on IG at @AlecOutside