hiking
1 month ago

I hiked "The Twins" in mid-August on a sunny but "smoky" day (the result of several forest fires in the Central Cascades); this made for less spectacular views from the top than would otherwise reward the moderate 3 1/4 miles hike up.
The parking area (off the Waldo Lake Road) can accommodate a dozen cars. However, I had picked my hiking day to coincide with the Waldo Lake 100 Kilometers foot race. So, no parking space when I arrived shortly before 8am. This should not be a problem on a normal day. I decided to park .75 miles away at the Bobbly Lake trailhead (allowing me to combine The Twins and Bobby Lake for a 11.5 miles loop-ish route). You can however park alongside Waldo Lake road itself if The Twins is your sole destination.
Most of the hike is through dry forest (parched ground and sparse canopy) but there are a few ponds after crossing the PCT and, of course, much water if you combine The Twins with Bobby Lake (or Found Lake to the North).
As others have noted, the 3.25 miles to the top are basically all up. However, the three sections of the trail are noticeably different. The first section, from the trailhead to the junction with the PCT, is a series of short ups and longer flats, making it a very good way to warm up for the rest of the climb. Immediately after crossing the PCT, the grade increases and the pattern is reversed: short flats and longer/steeper inclines. About .75 miles from the summit, the last sections starts after the junction with the Charlton Lake trail. This third section is the standard ascent up an eroded volcano; steep climb for the required cardio and a bit of scree (not too much though) to make you feel you ARE climbing a Cascades summit. Most of this section is above the tree line and the views are sweeping (I guess they are....when there is no smoke to blot out most of the distant summits).
The summit(s) area is rather spacious (especially on the North Twin side) and provides many good spots to sit down, take in the views, snack/lunch, etc. The South Twin summit (higher) combines a rocky outcropping (true summit) and a small -partly wooded- saddle that can offer some protection from sun and winds. The saddle between the two peaks can also be used to take cover from the sun/winds if needed.
I had initially planned to retreat down the summit the way I came; However, I noticed a use trail starting from the saddle just below the South Twin (with bike tracks too) hugging the North-East side of the South peak. This descent offers some very pretty views -from below- of the South Peak rocky summit. The use trail (about a third of a mile) rejoins the Charlton Lake trail just at the tree line. Making a right there I got back to the Twin Peaks trail (.5 miles) and then to the PCT.
The PCT section South to Bobby Lake is mostly flat and a good change of pace / posture from the climb and descent of the Twins. The last .5 miles or so also goes through denser / greener forest as it approaches Bobby Lake. Bobby lake is a short .25 miles to the left/East and its relatively vast expanse is soothing/refreshing after much walking across dry land. Another good spot to rest/snack/lunch/dip.
The 2 miles return to the Bobby Lake trailhead is (surprisingly?) mostly up, although not to the point of exercising you.
Overall, I was pleasantly surprised about how enjoyable this hike was (I chose it a bit as a 'make do' considering the many area closures due to forest fires). All trail sections are well cut and well maintained, the progressive increase in grade from parking to summit makes is perfect for managing your efforts, the summits area is spacious and combines views and protections from elements, the views are (likely) worth the effort and, if you combine this with a side trip to a lake, there are opportunities to refresh your sore feet (or more) as a reward.

hiking
1 month ago

snowshoeing
5 months ago

easy trail, not much scenery prior to lake

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Just competed the 3 1/4 mile hike from the trailhead off of Waldo Lake Road. It's a climb the whole way! The views are worth it.

Nice, serene trail. Loved it!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

did this hike two days ago and did the 6 mile version to one peak which is not listed. we met some snow drifts pretty soon but after crossing the PCT we were entirely on snow. Wasn't as bad as we expected to climb, trees are clearly marked for snow sports. the top was very steep with loose lava. views to the south of maiden peak, diamond peak and mt. thielsen. Due to snow bank at the top we didn't attempt bushwacking around the peak. Bring bug repellant until august as Waldo lake mosquitos are abundant!