The trail climbs through shaded forests and wildflower meadows with beautiful views of Mt. Stuart. A nice hike to escape the heat of summer, the lake is a great swimming option for those needing to cool off from the climb.
Maps. View our topo map below (labeled as Map 1). Note: use ‘Print Preview’ before printing to properly scale this map to a full sheet of paper.
Activity: Hiking, Family Fun
Nearest Town: Leavenworth
Skill Level: 2
Fitness Level: 2
Distance: 9 miles round trip. Elevation gain: 1,600 vertical feet.
Access: Follow Highway 2 to Leavenworth and, at west end of town, turn south onto the Icicle Road, following signs to the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery. Stay on the Icicle Road for about 8.6 miles. Near the Bridge Creek Campground, turn left onto Forest Service Road 7601 (The Eighmile Road). Follow Road 7601 for four miles to the Mountaineer Creek Trailhead. This is the starting point for both Colchuck Lake and Stuart Lake. A Northwest Forest Pass is needed to park here.
Trip Instructions. From the trailhead, continue 2.5 miles to the junction with the Colchuck Lake trail. Stay right at this intersection and in another 2 miles you’ll reach Stuart Lake.
* From the same trailhead another popular hike leads to Colchuck Lake. For Colchuck start hiking the same trail but go left at the intersection 2.5 miles from the trailhead.
* Climbers use Stuart Lake to access some of the north-facing routes on Mount Stuart.
* Photographers also use Stuart Lake to access Horseshoe Lake which is very scenic in autumn when the larches change color. Topo map below (labeled as Map 2).
Fees/Permits. Permit season for overnight trips to Stuart Lake is May 15th until October 31st. Procedures for permits are occasionally tweaked so click here for details or call the Leavenworth Ranger Office ( 509-548-6977 ) to learn how to win a permit and/or how to pick one up on the day of your trip. A Northwest Forest Pass is also needed to park at the trailhead (day passes can be purchased at the trailhead). If you’re just taking a day trip into Colchuck, you don’t need to play the lottery game for a camping permit, but you still need to carry a self-issued wilderness permit picked up at the kiosk at the very start of the trail (free). More about permits.
Dogs and Horses. Dogs are prohibited at Stuart Lake as well as on the trail leading to the Lake. Horses are prohibited at Stuart Lake (and on the access trail) in spring and summer. After Labor Day the until October 15, stock animals are allowed with a permit and after October 15 stock animals are allowed without a permit.
Updated Condition Reports: See the bottom of this page found at the WTA.org website.
Additional Information: Click here for information about this hike from the Leavenworth Chamber of Commerce.
Leave It Better Than You Found It. This should be every outdoor user’s goal. Pick up trash left by others, pull some noxious weeds along your route, throw branches over unwanted spur trails, don’t ride or walk wet trails when you’re leaving ruts/footprints deeper than ¼ inch…
Disclaimer. Treat this information as recommendations, not gospel. Conditions change, and those contributing these reports are volunteers–they may make mistakes or may not know all the issues affecting a route. You are still completely responsible for your decisions, your actions, and your safety. If you can’t live with that, you are prohibited from using our information.