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i've been looking at backpacking into the enchantment lakes in washington's alpine lakes widerness, but it seems getting an overnight permit for this hike can be pretty tough - apply in february for your hike in september and hope you get lucky. there's also a walk-in raffle for 5 permits a day, but i'm not sure what the odds are. has anyone done this hike, and is it worth the trouble? how easy is it to get a permit from the walk-in raffle?
I tried to reply earlier, but I think my message was too long so the site wouldn't take it. I'll post an abridged message: The lottery is for camping in the Enchantment Basin proper and you may or may not get that opportunity, but there are plenty of camping opportunities at nearby lakes for which permits are typically easy to get on a drive in basis. Go to the Leavenworth ranger station before they open on the day you want to hike to try for the Enchantments and if you don't get it get a permit at either Snow Lake or Colchuck Lake. Colchuck is AMAZING and considerably easier to get to than Snow Lake, but the final climb into the Enchantments is a super steep rock scramble whereas the route from Snow Lake is more gentle (but still hard). A final resort, if Snow and Colchuck are not available, is Stewart Lake but that would add a handful of miles to your Enchantments visit taking quite a bit more stamina. Either way, set aside an entire day for a day hike into the Enchantments - it is so worth it and I would be surprised if you had any trouble getting a spot at Colchuck, Snow or Stewart Lake (or Nada Lake, near Snow).
I can think of no other place that matches the beauty of the Enchantment Lakes, especially in the fall when the Larch trees are in their fall colors. I did the hike when permits weren’t required in the fall, so I don’t know what the present permit situation is like, but it will be worth the trouble.