One of the legendary nooks of Washington’s Cascades, the Enchantment Lakes basin is a magical place of mystical names tucked in a high tiered valley within the craggy, cloud-piercing, glacier-topped Stuart Range. A land of shiny rock, sparkling waters, perpetual snowfi elds, prolifi c herds of mountain goats, and, in autumn, golden larches, the Enchantments attract legions of backpackers from near and far. While many hikers grumble about the complexities of the permit system, it has been fairly successful in maintaining ecosystem integrity and providing a wilderness experience in this extremely popular and fragile area. This Shangri-la will indeed inspire and soothe your soul, but getting here will try your lungs and punish your soles. The trail is long, dusty, hot, rocky, and steep— a grand price for this paradise—but worth every sore muscle gained along the way.
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