Twin Lakes (Lake Wenatchee)

Twin Lakes (Lake Wenatchee)

Elev. Gain: 
965 ft.
2,927 ft.
Leavenworth, WA
6.60 miles (round trip)
Varied trail along creek leads to nice views of two sub-alpine lakes
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The area surrounding Lake Wenatchee is a hotbed of fishing, camping, and exploration: five rivers, miles of forest, and expansive views of the surrounding peaks and valleys all nestled on the drier east side of the Cascades. Prime territory for outdoor adventures. Often overlooked for more popular destinations in the area, Twin Lakes is a nice varied trail to a pair of subalpine lakes. Although you won't find spectacular vistas here, there's plenty to like: paved roads to the trailhead, seclusion, and a relatively short trail with a worthy finish line.

Begin at the small, well-marked trailhead and climb a short, but steep, first quarter-mile. The trail levels off soon enough and enters a recovering forest with peak-a-boo views at small talus fields. At just under 0.40 miles, a spur leaves the trail on your left (sign is high on a tree and visible only to those on the way back to the trailhead) to an overlook of the White River Valley. Notice Tall Timber Ranch and nearby peaks, including Mount David (7,420') in the distance.

Continuing on, at 1.0 miles, enter the Glacier Peak Wilderness Area. The trail begins to steepen here. Cross over Twin Lakes Creek on a makeshift log bridge at 1.5 miles, and then again at 1.8 miles.

Perhaps the highlight of the trail is between miles 2.0 and 2.5, as you'll enter a narrow canyon and hike right alongside Twin Lakes Creek. The canyon provides a nice breeze and counteracts bugs in the summer. Exiting the canyon, the smaller of the lakes, Lower Twin Lake is straight ahead at 2.65 miles. Continue around the north side of the lake for a nice viewpoint as the trail dips right to the water's edge.

To get to Upper Twin Lake, follow the trail onward through denser forest for another half-mile, passing a 1949 Department of Game cabin en-route. At 3.30 miles and 2,900', the trail ends at the north end of Upper Twin Lake on the remnants of a rickety wooden fishing operation. Sadly, no fishing is allowed at either lake these days. Soak in those views of the clear water lapping at your feet and call it a day. Beautiful.

Permits & Tips

Northwest Forest Pass required. Twin toilets available at the trailhead. No water at trailhead. The trail can be filled with bugs during the summer; bring spray or wear protective clothing. Camping is available at the nearby Napeequa Crossing Campground, along White River. No fishing allowed. A bit of up and down puts the total elevation gain is closer to 1,200'.

>>Google Directions

How to get there

From Seattle head east on Highway 2 across Stevens Pass. Turn left (north) onto Highway 207, signed for Lake Wenatchee.
Veer left at the east end of the lake to stay on 207 as the road intersects with the Chiwawa Loop Road.
Drive along the north side of Lake Wenatchee to a split in the road.
Head right onto the White River Road for another 6 miles to the trailhead on the right side of the road just before the Napeequa Crossing campground.