Axis Peak is the highpoint of the ridge between Eightmile Creek and Mountaineer Creek. It is strategically located between Lake Stuart and Eightmile Lake, providing excellent views of all the Enchantment Peaks, especially Mt. Stuart, Colchuck, Dragontail, and Cannon Mountain. It is ranked #19 on the Washington Back Court 100 list
. The ascent is pretty straightforward and is well worth it for the excellent views. Terrain is mostly loose rock and open slopes with a few small trees. The summit ridge has some exposure towards the north as it drops off steeply above Eightmile Lake, but it can safely be traversed along the top of the ridge with no danger. Its vicinity to Lake Stuart makes it a great short day climb from the lake, especially if you are camped there. If you are doing it all in one day, it will take most of a day.
Eastbound Hwy 2: Follow US Highway 2 over Stevens Pass, go right on Icicle Road when you first enter Leavenworth.
Westbound Hwy 2: Follow US Highway 2 to Leavenworth and turn left at the end of town on Icicle Road (follow signs to the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery, there is a large gas station at the corner).
Follow Icicle Road for 8.5 miles and turn left onto Road #7601 (signs to Colchuck Lake). Follow this road for four miles until it dead-ends at the trailhead.
Hike this trail for 2.5 miles to a junction, stay right and follow signs for Lake Stuart. At 4.5 miles you will reach Lake Stuart. Axis Peak is directly above you on the right (north), although the summit is not quite visible from here.
The only route I will mention here is the south route from Lake Stuart. This is the easiest route and the only real route worth mentioning. An ascent from Eightmile Lake may be possible and might be shorter, but it would likely be much more difficult.
Upon reaching Lake Stuart, Axis Peak will be directly to the north. About 75-100 yards after reaching the lake, you should see a talus field extending up the side of the mountain. Ascend this, simply heading straight up the hillside. You can ascend further to the west as well through the trees, although there are some steeper rock sections you must scramble up. Pretty much any way straight up will take you there. It is mostly fairly easy going up the hill, although there is quite a bit of loose rock and you will want to avoid some gullies that are especially loose.
Once on the summit ridge, simply ascend to the top. The true summit is the second peak from the west (marked 7550 on the USGS Topo map). There is a big steel summit register tube at the top. There is a shorter peak to the west, and several summits to the east that deceptively look the same height or taller- but they aren't! Trying to scramble over to these peaks along the ridge requires some class 3-4 scrambling and is not worth the effort. You will be able to reach the summit comfortably on easy class 2 rock, if you feel it is dangerous at all, you are likely heading to the wrong summit. Descend the same way you came up, and be extra careful not to slip on the dangerously loose rock (although you probably will slip inevitably!).
Class 2. Approx 1.5 to 2 miles and 2400' gain from Lake Stuart. Takes 2 to 3 hours from Lake Stuart to the summit.
Camping at Lake Stuart in the summer requires a permit (see below), day-use requires a self-issued day-use permit and a Forest Pass for parking at the trailhead.
Axis Peak & Eightmile Lake
Camping from June 15 to October 15 at Lake Stuart requires an Overnight Wilderness permit. Only 5 permits are issued per day. For more information on Overnight Wilderness permits, click here.