The east side of Dragontail Peak reflected in Freya Lake
Dragontail Peak is the second-highest in the Stuart Range, exceeded only by 9,415-ft/2,870-m Mt. Stuart. The name Dragontail comes from the miniature "tails" or rock needles on the thin crest SW of the summit. Rock on this peak is unusually sound. Its expansive NW face is one of the finest walls in the Cascades. The north and NE faces are also very impressive. The summit ridge extends about 1/2 mile and includes several summit towers. There is an easy walkup route on the south side of the peak. For scramblers, a climb of Dragontail is a great addition to a backpacking trip to the Enchantment Lakes.
Getting ThereThere are two major approaches to Dragontail. The choice of approach may depend on the climbing route desired. For the rock routes on the N side of the peak, approach via Colchuck Lake. For the walkup route on the south side of the peak, either the Colchuck Lake/Aasgard Pass approach can be used, or you can hike the Snow Creek trail and ascend to the Enchantment basin from Snow Lakes. Dragontail is situated at the high west end of the Enchantment Basin, so this latter approach is very long indeed, with a total of over 7,200 feet elevation gain from trailhead to summit. Both approaches are reached via the Icicle Creek road south of Leavenworth. Reach Leavenworth by driving US 2 east from Everett or west from Wenatchee. At the west end of Leavenworth, turn south on Icicle Creek road. At 4 miles is the Snow Lakes trailhead parking lot that leads to the Snow Lakes and lower Enchantments approach. For the Colchuck Lake approach, continue up the Icicle Creek road and turn left on road no. 7601. Drive 4 miles to the Lake Stuart-Colchuck Lake trailhead, elevation 3540 feet.
Red TapeThe Enchantment Lakes basin is an exceedingly desirable backpacking destination, and as such was being loved to death until a visitor quota system was put into place. Permits are not required for day use, however the distance to Dragontail may make an overnight stay very desirable. The permit mechanism is too complex to be described here, but it is fully explained on this page.
When To ClimbOptimal contitions for visiting the Enchantments and climbing Dragontail occur from July through October, depending on snow and weather conditions.
CampingCamping is permitted in the Snow Lakes, Enchantment Lakes, and Colchuck Lake area only if you possess the required overnight permit. See Red Tape. A number of fee forest camps can be found along the Icicle Creek road near the trailheads.
Mountain ConditionsFor current mountain conditions contact the Wenatchee National Forest, Leavenworth Ranger District, 600 Sherbourne, Leavenworth, WA 98826, (509)548-6977. Click here for recreation conditions in the Wenatchee and Okanogan National Forests.