Colchuck Lake Information

Colchuck Lake lies in Chelan County, Washington, under the guardianship of Dragontail Mountain and Colchuck Peak in the Okanogan-Wenatchee Forest, at an elevation of 5,574 feet. Colchuck Lake perches on the western slope of the region known as the Enchantments and the Alpine Lake Wilderness, part of the Cascade Mountain Range. Colchuck Lake is 15 miles southwest of Leavenworth, Washington, and 70 miles east of Seattle, Washington. Colchuck Lake is on the southeast corner of Washington’s Icicle Creek subbasin.

The Icicle & Peshastin Irrigation District privately owns the Colchuck Dam and built Colchuck on the Colchuck Creek River. The Wilderness Management Plan (WMA) according to the federal 1964 Wilderness Act manages Colchuck Lake. Colchuck Lake captures water runoff at the far southeast of the 3,800-acre drainage basin which refills even during dry years. Colchuck Lake covers 87 acres with a maximum depth of 190 feet. The WMA’s mission is to provide protection of fragile resources and preservation of wilderness character for generations to come.

The Core Enchantment Zone (CEZ) issues day use and overnight camping permits between May and October in five CEZs, which includes Colchuck Lake. Each year, the CEZ holds a lottery to issue permits from February to March because of the popularity of the Enchantments’ lakes and trails. The permits go out fast, so most people are bargaining for permits at the time of the lottery opening. Visitors can only access Colchuck Lake via a four-mile, strenuous hike on the Stuart Lake Trail or by pack animal, which is 8.7 miles in total.

The lottery regulations are strict, and only a limited number of overnight groups or individuals can enter a given CEZ each day. People must identify a group leader and an alternate group leader during the lottery application process. All of Washington’s wilderness areas prohibit dogs, all pets, and drones. Service animals do not qualify as defined by the U.S. Department of Justice regulations 28 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part 35.136.

Mandatory Education: Washington state requires that motorized boat operators complete a boating education course and obtain a boating education card.

The town of Leavenworth provides the only access to the trail to the four-mile hike into Colchuck Lake. The first time you come out of the trees on the trail at Colchuck Lake evokes something of a spiritual awakening. The final ascent to the lake is steep and rough in places. The Stuart Lake Trail’s first four miles gain an elevation gain of 2,300 feet and makes its spectacular scenery worth the hike. This trail is one of the two gateways to the rest of the Enchantments and its trails to the southeast. In the Enchantments, nature chiseled out one of the most strikingly beautiful locations in the world.

Backcountry hikers and campers consider Colchuck Lake an alpine paradise of granite mountains where glaciers adorn them with icy blankets. Nature dresses up the mountains and glaciers with coniferous trees sporting bright green needles and herds of mountain goats fed by sparkly cobalt and azure-colored streams that flow between the Enchantments’ lakes.

The one and only way to get to Colchuck Lake is via the Stuart Lake Trail from Leavenworth is by hike:

  • Follow US-2 West for 0.8 mile,
  • Turn left onto Icicle Road for about 8.5 miles, 
  • Turn left on Forest Road 7600 until it forks,
  • Stay right on Forest Road 7601.
  • Follow Forest Road 7601 for about 4 miles to the Stuart Lake trailhead.

History of Colchuck Lake

The origin of the name Colchuck comes from Chinook jargon kol + cak, which means cold waters. The Icicle & Peshastin Irrigation District built the Colchuck Saddle Dam in 1930. The company constructed a masonry dam out of cement with a spillway opening at the center of the dam to control overflow impounds of Colchuck Lake. By the 1940s, it  had constructed dams on Eightmile, Lower Klonaqua, Square, Upper Snow, Lower Snow, and Nada lakes.

Native American tribes, Yakima, Chinook and Wenatchi, traveled through and thrived in and around the Enchantments region before western civilization discovered it. Indigenous people crisscrossed this wilderness on trade routes between the Pacific coast and the inland in summer and fall. They followed deer, elk and bison herds on the plains of Montana and fished salmon out of the Columbia River. The Yakima spoke a dialect of Sahaptin, and the Chinook and Wenatchi spoke in dialects of Salish.

When the settlers began moving into their beloved wilderness, indigenous guides and scouts helped survey the best wagon routes and mountain railway routes. The indigenous people’s languages stuck around as names for many locations in the Enchantments. A.H. Sylvester served a topographer for the US Geological Survey in the Snoqualmie Ranger District from 1897 to 1907, and then as a Wenatchee Forest district supervisor from 1908 to 1931.

Sylvester stumbled across the unmapped alpine lakes and named them the Enchantment Lakes because the stark beauty of their geological wonder astounded him. Mount Stuart and other peaks within the Enchantments are part of the Mount Stuart batholith. A batholith is a once-buried mass of cooled magma that is partially exposed on Earth’s surface. The Mount Stuart batholith is composed of light-colored, coarse-grained granodiorite and quartz diorite. Mount Stuart’s peak is visible three miles southwest of Colchuck Lake.

Geologists estimate this batholith to be 90 million years old. They associate the uplifts of the Mount Stuart batholith, followed by periods of erosion, with the formation of the Cascade Mountain Range. In the Cascades, an oceanic plate pushed against the North American Plate, folding the continental edge and pushing the land up to form mountains. Glaciers slowly removed granodiorite over millions of years, and three glaciers still survive on Mount Stuart. The Enchantments’ glaciers have mostly melted away, but freezing and thawing moisture inside the granite cracks continue to break down the granite.

The first European settlers came to trade with the Wenatchi, Chinook, and Yakima tribes. Next, opportunities for mining, logging, and growing apples, cherries, pears, and wine grapes, plus railroad work brought settlers to the area. Pioneers first settled in Leavenworth, Washington, originally called Icicle Flats in 1885, as a trading post. The Great Depression left Leavenworth with over 20 empty storefronts in its commercial district. Leavenworth did not recover until it reinvented itself as a tourist destination. Only then did Colchuck Lake and the other lakes in the Enchantments become part of the huge, bustling tourist destination it is today.

In 1960, Ted Price and Bob Rodgers from Seattle bought a failing country cafe on Highway 2, aka Steven’s Pass Highway, a cross-state route. They added a motel. The military stationed Bob in Bavaria, Germany, after World War II. Bob loved that mountainous state in southern Germany. The two friends chose to decorate with a Bavarian theme, which suited their alpine surroundings. They named their cafe “Squirrel Tree”, and the motel drew a loyal clientele from throughout the region and from points far away, like Seattle. 

Leavenworth kept dwindling away with dilapidated buildings, old appliance and vehicle dumpsites, welfare recipients who had no work, and young people leaving for better opportunities, and then the city condemned its old high school. As skiers and hikers, Bob and Ted were keenly aware of the recreational attributes of the Leavenworth area. The town had been hosting the annual Leavenworth Championship Ski Jumps U.S. Championship competitions.

The Bureau of Community Development at the University of Washington provided Leavenworth with a self-study program designed to enable struggling towns to come up with solutions to their problems, but Leavenworth did not include a tourism subcommittee in its plan. Ted created the tourism subcommittee to revitalize the crumbling town and the adoption of the Bavarian village motif. Ted and Bob accomplished the difficult task of convincing community leaders to consider tourism instead of industry as their lifeline.

Miraculously, Earl Petersen, the Danish American Solvang architect, contacted Ted to offer his services free of charge in transforming the town into an Old World Bavarian Village. After years of developing the village of Leavenworth, tourists soon thronged to Leavenworth. Today, its normal population of 2,500 can swell up ten times on holiday weekends, and two million tourists visit Leavenworth every year.

Tourists also come in droves to explore the Enchantments. Several governmental entities protect its delicate environment like a mama bear. A mad, mad rush to get permits begins every February to hike through, ride in on a pack animal, or camp in the timeless beauty of Colchuck Lake and its counterparts.

Fishing Colchuck Lake

Colchuck Lake is purely a cutthroat trout, rainbow trout, and brook trout lake, with rainbow trout being the most productive. Anglers must hike in their fishing gear and fish from the shore. Anglers and locals report catching bass and parr, young salmon actively feeding in fresh water, in online fishing forums, but there are no official state reports of bass or parr in Colchuck Lake.

Washington has three species of cutthroat trout. The coastal and westslope species are native to Washington, while the Lahontan cutthroat is native to the Great Basin of California, Oregon, and western Nevada, and is the largest of the cutthroat subspecies. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) monitors fishing activity in its lakes around the state by interviewing anglers at fishing access sites.

An angler’s choice of what fishing rod to use at Colchuck Lake and the Enchantment lakes takes prudent consideration because they have to hike four miles into Colchuck Lake, with not only fishing gear but also with backcountry hiking and possibly camping gear. If you plan to take advantage of hiking through the Enchantments besides Colchuck Lake for a few days, here are some things to consider when preparing for a hike to fish and some tips on rod styles to take on hiking trips:

  • Fishing gear can add a lot of weight and bulk to a backpack.
  • You must remain in compliance with fishing laws.
  • Take a ruler so you can measure fish and stay in compliance.
  • To cook or clean fish, you’ll need even more gear and may need an upgraded backpacking stove.
  • There are no tackle shops, live bait, or supplies when you arrive at Colchuck or Enchantment lakes.

Backpacking Fly Rods


  • Many backpacking areas are great target locations for fly-fishing species.
  • Fly gear and tackle are small and lightweight.
  • Fly rods can be used to fish streams and lakes that would be difficult or impossible for spinning gear.


  • Fly-fishing fly technique takes lots of effort to become proficient.
  • Fly rods are very long and can be delicate, which means you must carry them in large protective tubes.
  • Fly-fishing requires open space to cast.

Backpacking Tenkara Rods


  • Lightweight: Usually a couple of ounces total.
  • Simple: Rod, line, and flies are the only things needed.
  • Telescoping rod protects itself when stored in a backpack.


  • Limited to the length of rod and line you have on hand.
  • The technique is like fly-fishing and requires lots of open space.
  • Target species and locations are limited.

Pocket Fishing Rods and Telescoping Spinning Rods


  • Telescoping poles collapse small enough to carry in a backpack.
  • Can use casting techniques to fish areas where fly-fishing would be impossible.
  • Casting techniques can be easier to master than fly techniques.


  • Heavier than tenkara rods.
  • Requires tackle and accessories to match.
  • Conventional tackle may be hard to use in small or shallow waters.

Building a Backpacking Fishing Kit:

  • Choose your rod and reel.
  • Consider your location, what fish you want to catch, and how much weight/bulk you’re willing to carry.
  • Fly-fishing and tenkara lines are dictated by the rod weight you’re using. Make sure you match your fly line to the rod you’re casting with.
  • Choose your flies to keep things simple, whether using a fly rod or tenkara rod. 
  • Make your flies at home before your hike.
  • Avoid heavy or large casting tackle. Consider the weight of tackle if using.
  • Things like spoons, lipless cranks, and spinnerbaits are probably too big and heavy.

Anglers will not find fishing guides at Colchuck Lake, but the folks who run the shops that cater to the fishing public in Leavenworth store up a lot of valuable fishing knowledge and are happy to give anglers advice. 

Lodging Near Colchuck Lake

While there is only primitive camping permitted at Colchuck Lake, there are great vacation homes, lodges, and bed and breakfasts, plus one RV park fairly close to the Stuart Lake Trailhead, and more options in Leavenworth, for those who want to use day passes into the lake.

Find the perfect place to stay on our Colchuck Lake Lodging page.

Camping at Colchuck Lake

There are various options for hiking and camping at Colchuck Lake, which is so popular that the permits go out quickly. The regulations listed in this section are to be taken extremely seriously. The CEZ of the Washington Wilderness Management Plan (WMP) issues the permits. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service publishes an online map of the Core Enchantment Zones.

Between May 15 and October 31, the CEZ requires a permit for overnight use in the Enchantments. The Enchantments close from November 1 to May 14. There are campsites all along Colchuck Lake’s shore, but be aware that camping here is managed under strict regulations and enforcement lies with the CEZ. There are three methods of obtaining an overnight permit:  

  • Apply during the annual permit lottery
  • Make a reservation online after the annual permit lottery at
  • Obtain a daily walk-in permit at the Leavenworth Ranger Station during the permit season, which excludes Sundays. You cannot get a daily walk-in permit on Sundays.   
  • These permits are limited, and demand usually exceeds availability.

The online lottery process can become quite confusing. It opens in February each year, and the WMP chooses which day in each year when the lottery will open and the dates of the camping permits. The online lottery is the advanced lottery, and after the lottery closes, there is a walk-in lottery throughout the season. These are the usual dates for the lottery:

How the Lottery Works

  • February 15: Lottery usually opens February 1 at 7:00 a.m. PST
  • March 1: Lottery usually closes March 31 at 11:59 p.m. PST
  • March 8: Applications randomly drawn at 1:55 a.m. PST
  • Middle of March Confirmation period begins for about a week
  • April 1: Unclaimed permits will be returned to the reservation system
  • May – October: Permits are required for overnight camping and day use.

The Lottery Process Requires Two-Steps: 

  • During the advanced lottery, the applicant must select an entry date, group size, permit zone and pay the non-refundable application fee.
  • After the lottery closes in mid-March, applicants must return to webpage and login to their account to view the results of the lottery.
  • Successful applicants must accept/confirm their permit, provide an exit date, and pay for their permit at $5 per person per day by the end of March.
  • All unclaimed lottery awards will be returned to the advanced reservation system, usually at the first of April.
  • Maximum length of stay is 14 consecutive days.

The WMA authorizes permit quotas. To enhance opportunities for solitude and protect the fragile environment in the Enchantments, there is a limited number of overnight groups that may enter a given CEZ each day. A group may consist of up to eight people, and they must camp in the zone indicated on their permit for up to 14 days.

A total of 24 visitors are permitted to enter each CEZ per day. Sixteen visitor spaces are available through the advanced lottery, while the remaining eight spaces are available through the walk-in lottery. Group sizes cannot be increased after the advanced lottery. One permit from each zone is reserved for walk-ins, except on Sundays. The number of overnight groups/people that may enter each day is split by zone during permit season: 

  • Core Enchantments Zone: 24 people per day
  • Applicants cannot increase group size after the lottery closes.
  • Colchuck Lake Zone: three groups per day
  • Stuart Lake Zone: four groups per day
  • Snow Lakes Zone: five groups per day
  • Eightmile/Caroline Zone: three groups per day 

Parking along FS Road 7601 is allowed, but only on right side of road. For vehicles parking on the road or in the parking area, a NW Forest Pass, America the Beautiful Pass, or the Overnight Visitor Parking Pass that comes with Enchantments’ overnight permit must be on display on your vehicle’s dashboard. Day passes can be purchased at the trailhead, and passes must be displayed on dashboard of vehicle, even if parking on the road.

The regulations listed below include enforceable U.S. Forest Service regulations with maximum penalties of $5,000 and/or six months in jail.

Parking and Fires

  • Fires are prohibited throughout the vast majority of the Enchantment Permit Area.
  • No fires anywhere above 5,000 feet or within 1/2 mile of any lake.
  • Camp stoves that burn liquid gas fuel like butane, propane, white gas, etc. are allowed.
  • Camp stoves that burn wood or solid fuel are not allowed above the 5,000 foot elevation.
  • Parking along FS Road 7601 is allowed, but only on right side of road.
  • For vehicles parking on road or in parking area, a NW Forest Pass, America the Beautiful Pass, or the Overnight Visitor Parking Pass that comes with Enchantments’ overnight permit must be on display on your vehicle’s dashboard.
  • Day Passes can be purchased at the trailhead, and passes must be displayed on the dashboard of your vehicle, even if parking on the road.
  • $5 per vehicle/per day or valid Recreation Pass required on vehicle at the trailhead.

Goats and other Wildlife

  • Do not urinate on vegetation or soils or within campsite areas. This encourages goats to become habituated to human contact and may lead to abnormal and aggressive behaviors.
  • Discourage wild animals from becoming too tame and enjoy them from a distance that is safe for both you and them.
  • Never feed the wildlife.

Pack and Saddle Stock

  • Certified weed free feed is required on all National Forest Lands.
  • Groups with pack or saddle stock may not exceed a total of eight persons, plus head of stock. (4 people + 4 mules = 8).
  • Stock are prohibited on the Snow Lake and Colchuck Lake Trails, and are only allowed on the Stuart Lake Trail in the fall from the first Saturday after Labor Day until the end of that year.
  • Stock may not be grazed, tied, hitched, hobbled, or held within 200 feet of any lake or pond.
  • Camping with stock in the permit area is allowed only at suitable sites over 200 feet from water, including the designated stock site at Upper Caroline Lake. No camping with stock is allowed within 1/2 mile of the Eightmile Lakes.
  • Stock may be tied directly to trees only for short periods of time, not to exceed 4 hours and not to trees of less than six inches in diameter.

Toilet Facilities & Water Quality

  • Use toilets where provided. Do not put trash in toilets; use them for their intended purpose only.
  • If you're not near a toilet, dig a cat hole 6 to 8 inches deep at least 200 feet from water sources or campsites. When finished, fill hole and cover with soil. Pack out your toilet paper to reduce your impact further.
  • Do not urinate on vegetation or soils. Use gaps between boulders, crevices in rocks, large flat rocks, sandy bare areas, or the toilets provided. Urine attracts goats and leads to pawing and chewing of plants and soil and may lead to abnormal aggressive animal behavior.
  • Bathe and wash dishes at least 150 to 200 feet from lakes and streams.
  • Remember that all soaps, including biodegradable soaps, pollute water.
  • Treat all water by boiling, using purification tablets, or filtering.

Click here for complete rules and regulations in the Enchantments.

Trails at Colchuck Lake

The one and only way to get to Colchuck Lake is via the Stuart Lake Trail from Leavenworth by hike. The directions to this trail are in the introduction section of this webpage. 

The final ascent to the Colchuck Lake is steep and rough in places. The Leavenworth Ranger Station in Leavenworth, Washington, will give hikers all the information necessary for an overnight or day pass. Day use permits are also required, and this webpage explains the process of obtaining a day use permit through the advanced lottery in detail in this section. A limited number of same-day permits are given out at the Leavenworth Ranger station, in Leavenworth, usually at 7 am. The permits are given out quickly.


Parking along FS Road 7601 is allowed, but only on right side of road. For vehicles parking on the road or in the parking area, a NW Forest Pass, America the Beautiful Pass, or the Overnight Visitor Parking Pass that comes with Enchantments overnight permit must be on display on your vehicle’s dashboard. Day Passes can be purchased at trailhead, and passes must be displayed on the dashboard of vehicle, even if parking on the road.

Wilderness Permits:

  • A valid permit is required for both day and overnight use in the Enchantment Permit Area.
  • Alpine Lake Wilderness permits are required and are self-issued at the trailhead.
  • Day users can obtain a free, self-issue, wilderness permit at the trailhead.
  • You can buy a day pass at the trailhead for $5.
  • Day hikers are encouraged to park on the road or in the island of the parking area, and leave designated overnight parking for those permit holders.
  • Consider carpooling, riding a bike, or having someone shuttle you to the trailheads to reduce environmental impacts and overcrowding.

The Stuart Lake Trail to Colchuck Lake

Lake Stuart Trail is an 8.7 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Leavenworth, Washington, that features beautiful wild flowers in season. This trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and bird watching. It is best used from June until October. From its trailhead to Colchuck Lake is about four miles. The Stuart Lake Trail and the Snow Lakes Trail are the access points to the other trails in the Enchantments, one of which is 29.9 miles long.

From The Stuart Lake Trailhead, head south through the forest, which wanders around  Mountaineer Creek. The trail goes through a lush forest with rock outcroppings. After 2.6 miles, you'll reach a junction with Colchuck Lake Trail #1599A. Take the left fork at this junction. If you go right, or east, you will end up at Stuart Lake.

If you plan to go on these hikes, you need to be in great physical shape. You should be able to walk at least 10 miles while wearing a backpack with little difficulty. Get a trail map from the Wenatchee River Ranger District station at 600 Sherbourne, Leavenworth, Washington. The major trails in the Enchantments are:

  • Colchuck Lake Trail #1599: Difficult 5.6 miles
  • Aasgard Pass Trail Difficult 12.2 miles
  • Stuart Lake Trail #1599: Intermediate/Difficult 4.3 miles
  • Icicle Ridge Trail #1570: Intermediate/Difficult 29.9miles
  • Snow Lakes Trail #1553: Difficult 11.4mi
  • Eightmile Lake Trail: Intermediate 3.5mi
  • Ingalls Creek Trail: Intermediate/Difficult 14.2mi
  • Jack Creek Trail: Intermediate 11.5m       
  • Bruce's Boulder Trail: Difficult 0.8m
  • Eightmile Trail: Difficult 7.3mi  
  • Jack Ridge Trail: Difficult 3.6mi
  • Trout Creek Trail: Difficult 4.3mi

Hiking Tips:

During the summer months, you will need to drink a minimum of 3 liters of water per day. To minimize how much weight you carry, consider bringing a water filter and filtering water directly from the many creeks along the trail.

You need to take in a lot of calories over the course of the day. It’s better to eat small, frequent snacks than a big meal every few hours. While exercising, it is hard for your body to process a full stomach of food.

You need to be prepared for lots of elevation change and you also need to be prepared to hike in many weather conditions, even during the summer months.

If you take in large amounts of water without replacing your electrolytes, you can suffer from hyponatremia. In the heat of the day, you will lose a lot of your salt in your sweat. You can replace your electrolytes by frequently eating salty foods as you hike. Hyponatremia occurs when the concentration of sodium in your blood is abnormally low. Sodium is an electrolyte, and it helps regulate the amount of water that is in and around your cells.

Backcountry Hiking Packing List:

  • Food: energy bars, beef jerky, pretzels, chips, trail mix, raisins
  • Water in a 3 liter Camelback reservoir
  • Water Filter
  • First Aid Kit
  • Petzl Headlamp
  • Cell phones (we only had service on the last mile of the hike, just before arriving at the Snow Lakes trailhead)
  • Garmin GPS
  • Hiking Poles
  • Bug repellent (Very important!! The mosquitos are vicious around the alpine lakes and on the climb up to the Aasgard Pass)
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat/Visor
  • Lightweight Jacket in the summer; extra layers in spring and fall
  • Camera
  • Pen (to fill out the permit)
  • America the Beautiful Pass, National Forest Recreation Pass, or $5 cash to purchase one at the trailhead

Things to Do at Colchuck Lake

You can hike or ride in on a horse or other pack animal, camp, fish off the shore, and take in the unbelievable nature that is the Enchantments. Before your hike, you can make lodging arrangements and pick up supplies and gear. After your hike or camping expedition, you can visit the town of Leavenworth, Washington, which you had to go through to get to Colchuck Lake. Leavenworth becomes crowded on weekends.

Visit Der Sportsman, a sporting goods store, for any gear that you might need before your hike. Leavenworth has a wide range of hotels, restaurants, and small shops. This is a great place to relax, before and after your hike. The busy Bavarian themed town of Leavenworth has lots of options for finding food and drink after your hike and the town

Check out the Bavarian Bakery, the Icicle Brewing Company, or the Munchen Haus for every imaginable kind of sausage and mustard and a beer garden with German and Icicle Brewing on tap. On Highway 2/Stevens Pass, stop in at the Sultan Bakery, which has baked goods but also makes for a pleasant lunch or dinner stop.

Plan your next adventure on our What To Do At Colchuck Lake page, and the Colchuck Lake Event Calendar.

Colchuck Lake Weather & Climate

Colchuck Lake sees an average of 24 inches of rain, with 8.3 feet of snow, and 199 days of sunshine per year. The winter low in January is 22 degrees, with a summer high in July of 83 degrees. June, July, and August are the most pleasant months in Chelan County. December and January are the least comfortable months.

Keep an eye on the skies with our Colchuck Lake Weather Forecast page.

Colchuck Lake Zip Codes

Chelan County: 98801, 98807, 98811, 98814, 98815, 98816, 98817, 98821, 98822, 98826, 98828, 98831, 98836, 98847, 98852, 98856.

Colchuck Lake Flora and Fauna

The various precipitation and elevation levels in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness allow a wide variety of vegetation to thrive, such as Douglas fir, western red cedar, noble fir, vine maple, and alder. Both the rocky alpine and subalpine meadows of the Enchantments sustain highly sensitive ecosystems that battle the natural elements for nutrition and survival.

With over 100,000 people visiting annually as of 2019, the heavy foot traffic has violated the terms of the 1964 Wilderness Act which protects U.S. Wilderness areas, "where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain".

While hiking the series of pristine lakes, cascading waters, smooth granite formations, craggy peaks, and golden larch trees from late September to early October in the Enchantments, watch for an abundance of resident wildlife, including mountain goats, black-tailed deer, picas, hoary marmots, pine martens, and ptarmigans.

Several governmental entities stringently protect this delicate environment. The U.S. Forest Service regulates the Enchantments under the federal 1964 Wilderness Act, and visitors can face maximum penalties of $5,000 and/or six months in jail for violating the regulations.

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