The view of Colchuck Lake from the middle of the ascent up/down Aasgard Pass.

UPDATED: Road closures expected in summer 2025 for Icicle Road and the Enchantments

UPDATED 2/16/2024: This road construction will be pushed back until summer 2025, according to a release from Wenatchee River Ranger District.

“..The project timeline for the Icicle Road rockfall mitigation work had to be pushed back to 2025, so there will be no access restrictions on the Icicle this summer after all.”

In a bulletin announcement above the Enchantments Lottery Application, Icicle Road beyond Snow Lakes Trailhead will be temporarily closed to vehicle traffic during business hours (except for 12pm-1pm) starting August 15, 2024. This road leads to one-half of the Enchantments trailheads, including Colchuck Lake and Stuart Lake.

The notice says that from mid-August until October 31, traffic will be prohibited Monday-Friday, 8am to 12pm and 1pm to 5pm. The highly trafficked road will be open on weekends and holidays. It appears the road closure will begin around milepost four and only span half a mile in distance.

RELATED: Enchantments Guide

The Snow Lakes Trailhead, which is eight miles before the Colchuck and Stuart Lakes Trailhead, will be accessible.

I obtained a letter from the USDA dated June 22, 2023 that notified community members of this proposed road construction in this area.

Below are a few sections of that letter:

The Western Federal Lands Highway Division of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)
in partnership with the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest (OWNF) are proposing to stabilize
three raveling slopes between milepost 4.36 and 4.92 on the Icicle Creek Road, Forest Service
Road #7600.

The road experiences rockfall events every year from approximately MP 4.2 to MP 10.7, which present a safety concern to travelers of the road. The road has had to be temporarily closed on several occasions due to the rock fall. This project proposes repair for up to three unstable rock slopes in the Icicle Creek Road Corridor.

Road Construction for Slope Stabilization

The road construction will install a wire mesh drape along the side of the slope to keep rocks from falling onto the road.

The proposed actions include: Installing a draped wire mesh on the slope US38 to keep rockfall
from bouncing down the slope and into the roadway, installing gabion basket rockfall barriers at
the toe of slopes US36 and US33 to catch rockfall before it hits the roadway; rock scaling on
slopes US33, US36 and US38 to remove loose rock, and restore the roadway surface.

Dump trucks, excavators, backhoes, a water truck, a paver, a grader, a medium sized crane, a generator, and an air compressor as well as hand tools would be used. In addition, a waste site is proposed at Eight Mile Road (FSR#7601) to store the rockfall conserved from the rock scaling.

The Enchantments

During the summer months, the mesmerizing region in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, known as The Enchantments, is one of the most popular hiking destinations in the state. It is full of gorgeous lakes and jagged peaks, allowing hikers to see a pristine natural landscape.

Since the popularity of this area has exploded in the last six years, the infrastructure of the area has not kept up. The dirt road is narrow in some places, and the parking lot cannot hold the amount of visitors who wish to access it.

In recent years, they have allowed parking on one side of the road, more or less making the road to the parking lot a one-lane road.

Limiting Foot Traffic

While this is not a direct issue limiting foot traffic to a heavily visited area, it will surely decrease the number of people who recreate in the Enchantments. As this area has seen tourism surge, there has been talk of how to regulate this area.

We’ll see how half a summer of traffic disruption impacts the area and if it leads the National Forest Service to implement any new rules for 2025.

What this means for your Enchantments trip

When can you not drive

The road will closed Monday through Friday from 8am – 12pm and 1pm – 5pm starting August 15 and likely ending October 31.

How this affects you

This significant change will limit the number of people who access the Enchantments. Ironically, many people have called for them to limit access to this area anyway, and what better way to do that without doing that is road construction?!

Sunset from Above Aasgard Pass in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness

People will need to be much more locked in on the time of day so they aren’t waiting for hours. Furthermore, any early-day hike will have to be timed correctly, too. If you miss the 12-1pm window, you’ll have to wait until 5pm to return to Leavenworth.

One bright spot is that the days are still long in August and September. So arriving at 5:30 at Colchuck Trailhead should allow you to enjoy the sunset at Colchck Lake and then hike down in the dark.

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 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