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Upper Twin Lake

Central Cascades

Location

Central Cascades -- Leavenworth Area
View map below

Length

5.0 miles, roundtrip

Elevation

Gain: 300 ft.
Highest Point: 2850 ft.

Rating

4.67 out of 5

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Parking Pass/Entry Fee

None
 
 

This is an ideal ‘multi-modal’ kid hike, featuring a two mile bike ride, followed by an easy and quite pretty half mile hike. We did the bike and hike with our kids when they were four and six, and they enjoyed it.

The first two miles are along a well graded dirt road behind a gate. Walking this road is an option, but little legs can get tired and little eyes can get bored of roadside sights. But glean what you can from the north edge, which features a 300 foot section of thinned forest.

The history of this thinning is interesting -- it is the west end of the community protection fire break that was established in 2015 to protect the towns down valley and the surrounding area from the Wolverine Fire that burned from Lake Chelan to within about ten miles of Twin Lakes.

The road climbs gently with 250 total feet of gain, to the edge of the wilderness. Mountain bikes are not required, although fatter tires make the ride a bit easier. You can leave your bikes at the trailhead. The trail quickly scrambles up a small slope before crossing into the Glacier Peak wilderness.

The trail is short, quite pretty, well marked and well maintained. After a few minutes of trail walking, cross a small ridge and begin descending to the lake, and you will cross one small stream. The pickup stick nature of old-growth forest is on display as you descend to the lake edge.

At the lake edge you are on small bluff above the water. To access the water, follow the trail to the right that leads to the lake edge. The prevailing winds are from the west, so any logs that fall into the lake are pushed down to this end of the lake, forming a log jammed shore.

When you reach the shoreline the mystery of why this somewhat obscure trail is so well maintained is solved. There are two aluminum boats stored along the shore (but no, you can’t go for a paddle). These vessels are used to transport staff and supplies of the Washington State Fish and Wildlife Department (WDFW) to the fish breeding center on the isthmus between lower and upper twin lakes. WDFW breeds cutthroat trout in Twin Lakes for stocking other lakes in the state. Because of this, no fishing is allowed in either lake.

A full description of the longer trail into lower Twin Lake can be found by searching the hiking guide for Twin Lakes (Wenatchee). Because it's longer, the trail into lower Twin Lake is a good hike for older kids, has moderate elevation and distance 5.25 miles round trip.

 

Upper Twin Lake

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 47.8960, -120.8223 Open map in new window

Trailhead

Central Cascades -- Leavenworth Area

Twin Lakes (#1537)

Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, Wenatchee River Ranger District

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Getting There

Proceed to the junction of Highway 207 and Highway 2 at Coles Corner. This is 20 miles east of Stevens Pass, 15 miles west of Leavenworth. Turn north on 207, 10 miles just past the bridge over the Wenatchee River.

Turn right onto Chiwawa Loop Road you will pass the Midway Market on your right, (recommended ice cream on the way back), proceed one half-mile and turn left on Chiwawa River Road. Follow Chiwawa River Road two miles, turn left on FS 6300, also labeled as Meadow Creek Road.

You will pass Meadow Creek Campground on 6300 and in approximately six miles the road hits a Y. Here, stay left, still on 6300, and proceed two miles to the gate.

Please consider that since this is not a maintained trailhead, parking is quite limited. If it is crowded here, please consider accessing Twin Lakes from the main trailhead, at

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

None
 

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Upper Twin Lake

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