enchantment lottery

Deadline for Enchantment permit lottery nearing

Wed., Feb. 26, 2020

Prusik Peak looms above golden alpine larch during early October in the Enchantment Lakes region of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness near Leavenworth, Wash. Photo by Donna Larsen (PHOTO BY DONNA LARSEN / PHOTO BY DONNA LARSEN)

Your chance to spend the night in Washington’s picturesque Enchantments within the Alpine Lakes Wilderness is drawing to a close.

The application period for the permit lottery closes Saturday at 11:59 p.m. (PST). Lottery results will be available March 17.

Between May 15 and Oct. 31 a permit is required to spend the night in the Enchantments.

The highly sought after permits are selected randomly in the annual lottery. A small number of permits are held and issued daily throughout the season from the Leavenworth Ranger Station. Demand is usually higher than supply.

Visit to apply. There is a $6 application fee.

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Your chance to spend the night in Washington’s picturesque Enchantments within the Alpine Lakes Wilderness is drawing to a close.

Enchantment Permit Area

The Enchantment Permit Area lies within the Alpine Lakes Wilderness in the Cascade Mountains of Washington State. It is managed according to the Wilderness Management Plan and the 1964 Wilderness Act, to provide protection of fragile resources and preservation of wilderness character for generations to come.

The area is typified by rugged glaciated peaks and a series of lakes ranging from 4,400 feet to 7,800 feet in elevation. Lower elevation trails and lakes are forested, while the upper lakes are within an alpine environment. Although the area is high use, trails are very primitive with steep, rocky sections. Travel is difficult in areas.

The weather can vary in the Cascade Mountains. May, June, September and October are considered “shoulder seasons” and visitors can expect to encounter snow and winter-like conditions. Day and overnight visitors need to check the weather and be prepared for all weather types throughout the season.

Due to the overwhelming popularity of this unique area, all visitors must obtain a permit if visiting from May 15 through October 31. Through the remainder of the year, permits are not required. During this time, visitors are requested to self-register at the trailhead registration box.

Day users need only fill out a free day-use permit, available at any of the three trailheads accessing the Enchantment Permit Area. Day use is very popular and opportunities for solitude are limited and not likely during the summer. A Northwest Forest Pass is required and visitors must park in the designated day use parking areas.

Demand for overnight permits far exceeds the number available, therefore advanced reservations are recommended. A small number of daily walk-in permits are available on an unreserved basis Monday – Saturday. View historical lottery statistics (PDF).В В В

Trips into the Enchantment Permit Area can range from overnight to multiple days. It is imperative hikers and backpackers evaluate their comfort and ability in various environments when choosing their route, as many hikes are strenuous and somewhat primitive, while others offer easier climbs.В В В

A trip to the Core Enchantment Zone is recommended for experienced hikers, who are prepared for arduous travel and all weather conditions. Visitors typically plan at least three or four days for this trip. Steep and challenging terrain make travel with an overnight pack very strenuous.В В В

A three day trip to Colchuck or Snow Lakes allows time for a day trip to the Core Enchantments. Likewise, many may find an overnight trip to Eightmile or Stuart Lakes to be adequate, while others take a few extra days to relax or fish.В В

The Overnight Visitor Parking Pass that comes free with an Enchantments permit must be on display on your vehicle’s dashboard. Park in appropriate day or overnight designated parking areas.

Permit & Season Information

Between May 15 and October 31, a permit is required for overnight use in the Enchantments. Permits allow the permit holder and their group to camp overnight in one of the five permit zones:

  • Core Enchantment ZoneВ
  • Snow Lake ZoneВ
  • Colchuck Lake ZoneВ
  • Stuart Lake ZoneВ
  • Eightmile/Caroline ZoneВ В

View a map of the permit zones.

Groups must camp together each night in the zone for which the permit is issued. Core Enchantment permit hol ders may camp in any of the five zones. Day use is permitted across all zones, but camping can only occur in the zone for which the overnight permit is issued.В В

There are three methods of obtaining an overnight permit:В В

1. Apply during the annual permit lottery
2. Make a reservation online after the annual permit lottery
3. Obtain a daily walk-in permit at the Leavenworth Ranger Station during the permit season (excluding Sundays)В В

  • These permits are limited and demand usually exceeds availability.В

Need to Know

Rules and regulations for the Enchantment Permit area are strictly enforced. Failure to comply with regulations may result in citations for all group members, termination of trip and denial of future permits. Watch Enchantments Educational Video!

Conditions of Use:В

  • Person making the reservation is the permit holder. Permit holder must be 18 years or older. Permit must be printed, read and signed. Unsigned permits on cell phonesare not valid. В
  • Permit holder must carry photo ID with permit and show it to a Ranger upon request.В
  • All group members must begin on reserved trip start date only and must camp with the permit holder; no exceptions.В
  • Maximum group size is eight, including stock.В
  • No dogsВ
  • No campfires above 5,000 feet or within 1/2 mile of any lakes.В В


  • The Core Zone entry is by people, not group. For example each day up to 16 people are allowed entry in the advanced lottery and up to 8 people are allowed in the walk-up lottery. This can be any combination, up to a group size of eight, as long as the total number does not exceed 24 people in one day entering the Core Zone.В
  • People cannot add more individuals if there are no spaces available in the daily quota for the Core.В
  • When you apply for a Core permit through the lottery, make sure you indicate the group size you would be willing to accept, knowing you cannot add more at a later date.В
  • Colchuck, Stuart, Snow and Eightmile/Caroline Zones: More individuals can be added to a permit up to a maximum of 8.В Allocation is by group not people.

Alternate Group Leader

  • Alternate group leader must be identified during lottery application process. An alternate may not apply for a permit or reserve a permit in the same season.
  • Alternate group leaders cannot be added or changed after the permits are awarded. No exceptions.
  • Alternate group leader must have a account and accept being the alternate within 72 hours of application submission.В
  • One permit per person/per zone annually, including serving as an alternate.В


  • The Overnight Visitor Parking Pass that comes free with an Enchantments permit must be displayed on your vehicle dashboard.В
  • You can only print permits within 14 days the trip start date. Once you print your permit, you can no longer make changes.
  • Camp in previously impacted campsites, never on vegetation. Do not improve sites by moving rocks, building walls or disturbing soils.В В
  • 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. Pack out your toilet paper.В
  • Do not urinate on vegetation or soils. Use gaps between boulders, crevices in rocks, large flat rocks, sandy bare areas or the toilets provided.В
  • An Overnight Visitor Parking Pass is required to park at all Enchantment trailheads and is free with the purchase of an overnight camping permit. The parking pass is only valid for dates listed on the permit. Make sure the pass is displayed clearly on dashboard to avoid a citation. You can purchase a day use pass (PDF) at the trailhead or Leavenworth Ranger Station.В
  • Always practice Leave No Trace ethics.В В

Risk and Responsibility:В

The Enchantment Permit Area is a remote alpine environment with potential hazards and risks. Being prepared and knowing your skill level and ability and the skill level and abilities of all of your group members is imperative. Aasgard Pass is not advised for hikers not prepared and equipped for steep snow travel. Use extreme caution when climbing or descending steep snow slopes, exposed and hidden creeks and waterfalls are present. In recent years, hikers have died after glissading and falling into a creek or hole in the snowpack.В В

There are no refunds for unfavorable weather conditions

Fee Policy

Lottery Application: $6.00 non-refundable fee (Note: reservation fee is non-refundable even if you are unsuccessful in the lottery.)В

Recreation Fee: Overnight Enchantment permits are $5.00 per person, per day, May 15th-October 31st.В В

*The recreation fee finances on-the-ground administration and management of the Enchantment Permit Area. Trailhead passes for parking are included in the permit cost only for the duration of your overnight trip.В В

Day use visitors are required to obtain a free self-issue day use permit and purchase and display a Northwest Forest Pass (PDF), available online, at the ranger station, or at the trailhead.В В

Parking is prohibited along FS Road 7601. All users must display required day or overnight parking pass and park in designated areas within designated trailheads. Violators will be ticketed and towed at owners expense.В

Cancellation Policy

Cancellations and Changes: Confirmed and awarded trips may be cancelled up to 22 days before the trip with a refund. The $6 application fee is nonrefundable. There is no refund if the trip is cancelled within 21 days of the entry date. There are no refunds for unfavorable weather conditions. You can cancel or change your reservation online atВ В

  • Permits are non-transferable. Only the permit holder/alt. group leader may use the permit.В В
  • Group size for the Core cannot be increased. Permit is based on people entering not groups.
  • Once a permit reservation is made, no changes may be made to the permit zone or entry date.В
  • You may print your permit up to 14 days prior to the trip start date.
  • Cannot add or change alternate group leader.
  • Once a permit is printed, changes can only be made at the Leavenworth Ranger StationВ
  • Eight days or more prior to the entry date, days and group members may be added to the trip.В
  • No refunds will be given for reducing days or group members.В

Explore Enchantment Permit Area in Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, Washington with The Enchantment Permit Area lies within the Alpine Lakes Wilderness in the Cascade Mountains of Washington State. It is managed according to the Wilderness