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Twin Lakes Snowshoe

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This is a pleasant forest walk, offering a fairly easy outing for the family. The route holds to a broad, easy-to-follow road for the first 1.5 miles before dropping into the woods to ramble along a narrow hiking path. At the end of the route, you'll find a small lake set deep in the woods. Despite its proximity to the popular ski areas of Snoqualmie Pass and the busy roadway of Interstate 90, this is a wonderful place to find wildlife in the winter. Deer frequent this valley, as they find forage in the deep forests, but it is far more likely you'll see tracks and trails of snowshoe hares, martens, weasels and--hot on the trail of those three--bobcats and cougars. You'll find grouse perched in the trees, and gray jays flitting through the branches. The only thing missing is expansive views, but sometimes its nice to focus on beauty close at hand, and this route offers that aplenty.

From the Sno-Park, trek about .75 mile east along the Iron Horse Trail before finding blue blazes to the south, marking your turn onto FR 9070. Frequently during the winter, both the Iron Horse and FR 9070 are groomed by the Summit Nordic Center of The Pass Ski Resort. Be sure to stick to the outside edges of the trail if it is groomed, and if not groomed, avoid any well-laid ski tracks whenever possible.

FR 9070 climbs the Cold Creek valley, heading west around the southern flank of Mount Catherine. The going is easy as the road climbs just 400 feet in nearly 1.5 miles. Watch the edges of the road, and peer under the eaves of the forest along the road for signs of wildlife.

At 1.5 miles and 3000 feet, the road rounds a sharp hairpin turn. Leave the road, dropping off the left side of the road just before the apex of the turn, and continue trekking west (the road begins to climb north-northwest to Route 59, Windy Pass/Mount Catherine). There is a narrow hiking trail here, but with a blanket of snow the trail is nearly impossible to find. No need to worry, though. Just pick a route that carries you west at a fairly level pace--a slight ascent is what you're actually going for, but not much. At just 0.5 mile past the point where you left the road, you'll find a small lake nestled in the deep second-growth forest. (The "twin" of this Twin Lake is further up the valley, and is too small and insubstantial to bother with.) Stay off the lake ice--the forest and the relatively low elevation prevent thick ice from forming.

Author’s Rating: Easiest.
Generally good trails for beginners, with little elevation change and minimal avalanche danger.
Driving Directions:

To get there, from Seattle drive east on I-90 over Snoqualmie Pass to exit 54, signed Hyak. Turn left and drive about 1.5 miles south on Forest Road 2219 to the Hyak Sno-Park.

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Recent Trip Reports

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There are 5 trip reports for this hike.
Twin Lakes Snowshoe — Jan 15, 2012 — JakeC
Snowshoe/XC Ski
Issues: Snow on trail
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A very nice snowshoe route ... but I think it is a bit longer than the description listed. From...
A very nice snowshoe route ... but I think it is a bit longer than the description listed.

From the Hyak sno-park lot it is about 1 mile plus to the cut off. Describing how to find the cut off is difficult. It is before a small stream on the right hand side. There are some blue markers in the trees but they are easy to miss. If you get to the wood "out-house" and the back country camping area on the Iron Horse Trail you have gone too far and turn back about a quarter mile. The cut off trail up to FR 9070 is only about 200 yards or so.

Once you find FR 9070 ... there is a sign that tells you it is 2 miles up to the Twin Lakes Trail. It is an easy uphill walk on the road to the cut off for the lakes. Once you get to the BIG bend in the road there is a sign for the Twin Lakes Trail. It is 1 mile into the lakes ... that is what the sign says. The snowshoe route into the lake is pretty well established ... you want to to follow the creek and keep it on your left hand side the whole time. Just don't get to close because it is a pretty good sized drop off in some areas.

I wend around the right hand side of the first lake to the second... which is really small. Both are basically frozen over. Stopped and had a quick something to eat and headed back out. There was not alot to see as it was snowing and pretty cloudy but on a clear day I can imagine it would have some great views up the peaks above the lakes.

From car to car ... it really is 8 miles plus. I read some of the previous reports (after the fact) and other people say the same thing. Also, if you are look at the map in Dan Nelson's Snowshoe Routes book ... the parking area pictured is not the Hyak Sno-Park parking lot.





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Twin Lakes Snowshoe — Apr 23, 2011 — Alik
Snowshoe/XC Ski
Issues: Snow on trail
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Right now, there's still plenty of snow, and we encountered skiers. Unfortunately, we also missed th...
Right now, there's still plenty of snow, and we encountered skiers. Unfortunately, we also missed the blue blazes entirely, and ended up just having a very nice snowshoe along the Iron Horse Trail. As another poster said, you might not *need* your snowshoes, but as the sun gets high and the snow softens, you will want them.

We found the blazes marking the turn-off on the way back. The best landmark I can give you is that you will pass the Kecheelus Lakes trailhead, then go along a stretch of Iron Horse where you're next to the lake. When the lake leaves you behind a stand of trees, start watching the right side of the trail. The turn-off is in the midst of a long straightaway. If you come to the Cold Creek campground and its informative railroad display, or a railroad sign saying "Kecheelus", turn around, you went too far.
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Twin Lakes Snowshoe — Feb 20, 2011 — Weluv2hike.
Snowshoe/XC Ski
Issues: Snow on trail
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We dint need snow shoes for this one, in certain places snow was mabey 2-4 inches but snow shoes are...
We dint need snow shoes for this one, in certain places snow was mabey 2-4 inches but snow shoes arent needed. Nice hike, got turned around as to where theblue dimond was to cut thru to upper road, once found hiked up road to trail head then went in the additional mile. Ended up we hiked 7.5 miles.
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Twin Lakes Snowshoe — Dec 26, 2010 — hhurey
Day hike
Issues: Snow on trail
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Snowshoeing today were my husband, myself, our 3 year old in a backpack and our 7 year old. Finding...
Snowshoeing today were my husband, myself, our 3 year old in a backpack and our 7 year old. Finding the starting spot took a bit of looking around. Getting off at the Hyak exit from I-90 turn right, then turn left and the stop sign. Follow road signs for snow-park....day fee $20 or season pass $80 because you are using part of the groomed trail system.

We started out around 11:45 am fromthe lot. The first 1.1 miles is on the groomed John Wayne Trail and very easy to walk. This was a Sunday so there were tons of cross country skiiers and other users. All were very friendly. Just remember to stay to the outside of the ski tracks when possible. At approx the 1.1 mark is where we found the blue markers to head up the hill to reach the forest service road. At the top we ate our snack.

I am sad to report that we never made it beyond this as our 7 year old was being a pill and refused to walk any more. However, looking at the distance we covered and what we still had left on a map, there is no way that this hike is 4 miles round trip. Our calucations put it at about 3.5 miles one way...turing it into a 7ish mile round trip hike. I think it was a good thing we turned aroudn when we did.

I will try this hike again with a friend, leaving earlier in the AM. Maybe without the kids I will make it all the way.
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Cold Creek #1303, Twin Lakes — Nov 21, 2005 — Out of shape snow shoer
Day hike
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This was our first snow show trip of the season. The hike up to Twin Lakes is a pleasant first hike/...

This was our first snow show trip of the season. The hike up to Twin Lakes is a pleasant first hike/snow shoe, it would make a nice hike for snow shoe newbies. We did not need snow shoes until 1/4 mile after we left logging road.

We picked the trail from Dan Nelsons book(called Twin Lakes), but failed to find the Sno Park he described as the starting point. We drove up 9070 until the snow became packed and then parked on a side road.

We hiked up the logging road. There was no need for snow shoes here, as the tire tracks are bare down to the road, with about 4"" packed snow between them. The start of the trail is easy to find and still had a lot of bare trail/packed snow for about 1/4 mile. The snow then thickens up and its time to play. Coverage was good, seemed to be 18+"" deep and firm. There is about a 2"" crust on top.

The route is easy to find, even if the exisiting tracks are covered. You simply keep the creek to your left and follow it up to the lake.

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twin lakes outofshapesnowshoer.jpg
Twin Lakes. Photo by "Out of shape snowshoer."
Location
Lake Lillian (#1332)
Snoqualmie Pass -- Snoqualmie Pass
Okanogan - Wenatchee National Forest, Cle Elum Ranger District
Statistics
Roundtrip 4.0 miles
Elevation Gain 400 ft
Highest Point 3100 ft
Features
Lakes
User info
Good for kids
Sno-Park pass required
Guidebooks & Maps
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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