The Enchantments is a high-altitude alpine environment, and the weather may surprise you if you haven’t prepared for it.
In most years, spring doesn’t come to the upper basin until June or July. The first frost usually comes in mid-October. Most backpackers choose to visit during this window. In the winter, the Enchantments is buried in deep snowpack and is inaccessible to anyone without serious mountaineering experience.
Day-to-day, the weather can be unpredictable. Afternoon storms can bring rain or hail at any time of year. Always carry the ten essentials so that you’re prepared for inclement weather.
Monthly average temperatures
The permit season of May 15 – Oct 31 roughly corresponds to the period where average temperatures are above freezing. The temperatures in the table below are estimates for the area around Talisman Lake (Inspiration Lake) in the central part of the Core Zone.
|Month||Average high (°F)||Average low (°F)|
Precipitation is likely in every month of the year. July and August are the driest months but light rain or hail is still possible.
|Month||Average monthly precipitation (inches)||Average number of precip. days|
Snow depth in the Enchantments varies considerably from year to year. As a rough guideline, lakes below 6000′ (e.g. Colchuck Lake and Snow Lakes) generally thaw in May, while lakes in the Core Zone thaw in July. Aasgard Pass usually has snow on the trail until late June, as does the route from Snow Lakes up to Lake Viviane. The trails in the Core Zone generally have patches of snow on them until mid-August.
Light snowfall may occur in late September, and by mid October it’s usually started to accumulate, at least in shady areas. In typical years there will be a foot of snow or more covering the entire basin by early November.
Sunrise ranges between about 5 AM and 7 AM during the permit season. Sunset falls between about 7 PM and 9 PM. Midday (when the sun is highest) is around 1 PM during the summer, due to daylight savings time.
|May 1||05:46||20:16||14h 30m|
|Jun 1||05:10||20:53||15h 43m|
|Jul 1||05:10||21:04||15h 54m|
|Aug 1||05:42||20:37||14h 55m|
|Sep 1||06:22||19:43||13h 21m|
|Oct 1||07:03||18:42||11h 39m|
|Nov 1||07:48||17:45||9h 57m|