Cozy Winter Camp Fun

Fair-weather hikers take note! There is a place that just might turn you into a winter time funseeker! Scottish Lakes High Camp is a remote set of rustic cabins set in the beautiful Alpine Lakes Wilderness area near Leavenworth Washington. The unique flavor of this place lends itself to the adventure seeker and the equipment they have invites everyone to join in the fun. They offer just the right combination of amenities and wilderness to allow both adventure and comfort.

Scottish Lakes

Begin your excursion by loading into one of the camp’s 4 X 4 vehicles for the first leg of the ride up. The access road does not allow regular traffic and has a gate prohibiting access anyway, so plan on enjoying the ride up to camp almost as much as the stay. Half way up the mountain you’ll switch to snowmobiles! You and all your gear will take a snowmobile ride 4 miles up to the camp itself. Gorgeous views of Glacier Peak, to the north, and the surrounding mountains present themselves as you switchback along the ride. The mini-adventure of crisp wind kissing your cheeks is simply a warm up. Once at High Camp the crew unloads your gear and directs you to your assigned cabin.

Scottish Lakes

Spend some time getting cozy, maybe making a fire in the wood stove and pulling out the trekking poles before donning the camp-supplied snowshoes and going for a little explore. The views from the camp trails are breathtaking and plentiful. Get your fill of the wild Alpine Lakes Wilderness vistas from the nearby ridges like Panorama Point, Glacier Peak Viewpoint or Wedding Point. From there, hike beyond the High Camp – maintained trails toward the other local sights. There are numerous lakes within hiking distance. Most immediately nearby are the group called (not a coincidentally) the Scottish Lakes.  The nearest is Lake Julius, followed by Larch Lake, Chiwaukum Lake, Loch Eileen, Larch Lake and Cup Lake. But in the summer season, High Camp would be a great beginning point for forays into more remote areas. Beginning here rather than at the road below saves about 12 miles of hiking trail each way and provides a welcoming setting to return to after a cool alpine lake visit.

Scottish Lakes

Think beds, wood fires, games and cabins rather than having to pitch a tent and use your backpacking stove to roast marshmallows. Just enough comfort to entice newbies in for adventure, as well as providing a welcome and unique change to the seasoned alpine backpacker.

Scottish Lakes

High Camp provides detailed maps of their privately maintained trails as well as the public trails through a variety of maps. Skiing is a popular way to get around the trail systems and a great challenge! Snow is plentiful even when the pass is clear we found, so prepare to play in it! The camp provides sleds for young and old alike, and the common  lodge is stocked with cards, games, books and photos as well as a warm fire. One of the draws to High Camp is the social aspect. People come together and share stories over warm drinks in the lodge and the friendly, accessible staff adds greatly to this experience. Beyond this there are the lovely little surprises: There is a hot tub. It’s wood-fired, sitting out in the snow, old style and the rustic style complements the cabin camp perfectly. Next to it is a newer building with a sauna, wood-fired as well.  It takes time for each to warm up, but the staff has the timing down to a science, so ask for the best time to jump in to either.

Scottish Lakes

The camp was founded by a couple who truly loved and engaged the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. Bill and Peg Stark made no fewer than 100 trips to the Enchantment Lakes in their hiking careers, and drawing for the inspiration of mythology, they are credited with naming many of the features (mountains and lakes) of the Enchantments. The Starks passed High Camp on to Don and Chris Hansen who have taken great care to uphold the wishes of the original owners over the past 18 years since they began. There is a lot of history and heart within this rustic set of cabins.

Scottish Lakes

If you’re looking for something a little different this winter, Scottish Lakes High Camp might just be the answer. You’ll have the freedom to explore and then come back to easy food prep and warm shelter, without having to endure all of the elements. It’s a great base camp to explore from and return to, offering variety, safety and comfort. It’s a hard combo to come by and High Camp has achieved it without the overwhelming crowds of a ski resort. Your own cabin, own privacy, and freedom to do whatever tickles you at the moment. It’s truly a great place to unplug and unwind in a gorgeous, gracious wilderness setting.

Directions, rates and packing lists are available on their website.

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