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Twin Lakes and Lake Lillian

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You'll run the gamut of scenery here, from clear-cuts, to ancient forests, to huckleberry fields, to alpine lakes. The route climbs up and over a forested ridge, rolls past an assortment of lakes, and provides great opportunities to see birds of prey hunting overhead and small mammals browsing underfoot. The best wildlife viewing comes in the clear-cuts thanks to the abundance of huckleberries growing in those man-made meadows. The lake basin also offers wildlife viewing, as beasts and birds flock to the pools to drink and to graze on the lakeside vegetation. The lakes themselves are marvelous alpine wonders. Twin Lakes sparkle blue amid green and red heather, while Lake Lillian is a deep gem set in a granite cirque.

Walk up the road leading past the parking lot, then veer around an old cable gate and climb the dirt road as it slants steeply upward into an old clear-cut. The road peters out in 0.5 mile and the narrow trail weaves upward, providing great views south over Keechelus Lake and back up toward Snoqualmie Pass. As you near the ridge Mount Rainier comes into view far to the south.

About 1.5 miles from the trailhead the trail enters forest and, at 2 miles, reaches a junction near the ridgeline. To the right is Margaret Lake.

Go left and continue north 1.2 miles to Twin Lakes (elev. 4700 ft). These dual pools are shallow and sandy bottomed. They are popular with birds of all kinds, but look especially for nutcrackers and small songbirds--the shallow lakes and vegetation-rich meadows are full of insects for the birds to feed on.

From Twin Lakes the trail drops steeply, losing 150 feet in elevation, then climbs just as steeply back up 250 feet to reach the shores of Lake Lillian at 4.5 miles.
Driving Directions:

From Seattle drive east on I-90 to exit 54 (signed "Hyak"). Turn left (north) under the freeway and right on the frontage road marked "Gold Creek." After about 0.5 mile turn left (north) on Gold Creek Road (Forest Road 4832) and drive east, parallel to the interstate briefly before the road angles upward. At 3.9 miles from the freeway turn left onto FR 4934, and in 0.25 mile look for the parking lot on the left.

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Recent Trip Reports

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There are 74 trip reports for this hike. See all trip reports for this hike.
Twin Lakes and Lake Lillian, Lake Laura Backdoor — Oct 13, 2013 — Old Rod
Day hike
Features: Fall foliage
Issues: Blowdowns
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We headed to the backdoor going to Lake Lillian, but our goal was only Lake Laura. The backdoor is ...
We headed to the backdoor going to Lake Lillian, but our goal was only Lake Laura. The backdoor is a couple miles down forest road 136, instead of going to the Lake Margaret/Twin lakes/Lake Lillian route. This route is fairly step but quite doable..

We found just a little snow near the lake. The trail was in pretty good shape for being step. Note, near the lake we encountered a wasp nest on the trail, but due to the recent cold weather, the wasps were inactive.

We were surprised to observe 4 different gliders drifting around the Ramparts. First time we have seen hang gliders at the pass.
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Twin Lakes and Lake Lillian — Oct 05, 2013 — Gianluca
Day hike
Features: Fall foliage
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Yesterday, I decided to take by 7 months old son on a hike. I had read about the trail to Lake Lilia...
Yesterday, I decided to take by 7 months old son on a hike. I had read about the trail to Lake Lilian and decided that it could be a nice day hike not too far from Seattle. I was not sure whether to expect snow on the trail since it had snowed on the passes a week ago, but I will talk about this further below in the report.

My main difficulty was finding the trail head. Once I was on the gravel road, I was looking for road 4934 but I took a left turn too early and ended up on forest road NF-136 which was not marked. I got confused by two cars behind me who took that turn. It turned out that this is a narrow and overgrown forest road that takes you to an unofficial and very steep shortcut trail to Lake Lilian which is also described by WTA (as I found out today):
http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/lake-laura-backdoor

The drive on SF-136 was still worth it because it offered wonderful views of Snoqualmie Pass right from your car. Long story short, once at the end of the road I discovered that I was in the wrong place and I did not want to attempt the very steep trail to Lake Lilian with my son in the front carrier. So I turned around and finally found the official trail head parking lot which was just 100 yards past where I took the wrong turn. A sign informs hikers that the trail head is 100 yards above the parking lot.

The first part of the hike is on a wide forest road but soon it climbs through forest and quickly you will get wonderful views of Mount Rainier and Keechelus Lake. The entire hike is simply amazingly beautiful. A section of the trail meanders through hemlock forest and this is where the trail started being covered by snow (below that there were just patches of snow). However, the snow was very soft and I decided to keep going. At 5200 feet elevation, the trail levels out and you see a sign to the right for Margaret lake or straight for lake Lilian. At that point there was at least one foot of snow. The sun was shining and I decided to feed my son and then feed myself. The presence of snow encouraged conversations with other hikers. I saw a group of 4 people coming down who told me that they had to break the trail until Twin Lakes at which point they turned around. Nobody had broken the trail to Lake Lilian since the last snowfall. I started wondering about the hikers I met at the other trail head who were attempting the shortcut trail that day. I decided to hike up another couple of 100 yards to where the trail levels off (which was another 130 ft in elevation). From there I could have continued to Mount Margaret but since it was past 4 PM and with a couple oh hours remaining before dusk, I decided that that was my turn around point.

All in all, it was a beautiful hike with some fall colors mixed with green and snow on the trail. I wished that the trail head was better indicated. I will definitely return one day when the trail is snow free and attempt to get to Lake Lilian.
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Twin Lakes and Lake Lillian — Sep 14, 2013 — Stephen
Day hike
Features: Fall foliage | Ripe berries
Issues: Overgrown
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Was a little concerned about the weather heading out from cloudy Seattle but once we got close to Sn...
Was a little concerned about the weather heading out from cloudy Seattle but once we got close to Snoqualmie Pass, the sun came out, making for a beautiful day of hiking. Lots of blueberries along the trail. Once you reach the junction for Lake Lillian and Margaret Lake, the trail gets a little overgrown in places. There are also some pretty steep sections. Lakes were great. We stopped at Lake Lillian for lunch and soaked my feet in the cool water. Saw some kind of vermin along the trail on the way back, can anybody identify it?
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Twin Lakes and Lake Lillian — Sep 07, 2013 — Old Eye Man
Day hike
Features: Ripe berries
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The 30% chance of showers forecast turned into a 100% chance of light but steady rain by the time we...
The 30% chance of showers forecast turned into a 100% chance of light but steady rain by the time we reached Twin Lakes around 10:30 am, so that ended up being our destination for the day. Despite the wet weather the hike was a delight and left us wanting to come back on a sunny day. We had no views from the ridge lines, but the huckleberries were plentiful along the way. The road to the trailhead is rough in spots, and my Prius just barely made it up one short steep section with loose gravel.
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Twin Lakes and Lake Lillian — Sep 02, 2013 — VanAllen
Day hike
Features: Wildflowers blooming | Ripe berries
Issues: Bugs
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This hike has such amazing views around every corner! I love the variety of environments that you pa...
This hike has such amazing views around every corner! I love the variety of environments that you pass through. As you begin the hike, expect to be exposed to the weather while you zig zag through some younger tree growth on loose dirt/rocks. After this the scenery changes to a refreshing and well-shaded section of forest with a soft carpet of soil and pine needles. As you continue to climb through this area, you will eventually find chances to step off the trail to your right for panoramic views across the mountains. You will get more great views in the same direction as soon as you begin to descend down to twin lakes. The main trail follows to the left of the lakes, but you can also make your way around to the right and easily connect with the trail again on the other side where you will find a beautiful outlet creek. There were wild flowers and an astonishing variety of plant life. Mosquitoes were unpleasant but only when we stopped moving. Once you exit this area and continue onward to Lake Lilian, you will find another trail the branches off to the left which is for Lake Laura. Beware, the red tape down this path marks a hive of ground wasps. My girlfriend and I were both stung several times before we escaped and took an alternate route (the path to the right of this red tape) to get to Lake Laura.
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lake lillian D. Baxter.jpg
WTA worked here!
2010
Location
Lake Lillian (#1332)
Snoqualmie Pass -- Snoqualmie Pass
Cle Elum Ranger District
Statistics
Roundtrip 9.0 miles
Elevation Gain 1500 ft
Highest Point 5300 ft
Features
Lakes
Old growth
Wildflowers/Meadows
Wildlife
User info
Northwest Forest Pass required
Guidebooks & Maps
Day Hiking: Snoqualmie Pass (Nelson & Bauer - Mountaineers Books)
Green Trails Snoqualmie Pass No. 207

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Note: the description and driving directions for this Mountaineers Books entry are copyrighted and can't be changed.

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Red MarkerTwin Lakes and Lake Lillian
47.3641833333 -121.358166667
  • Trail Work 2010
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