Twin Lakes Trail

HARD 112 reviews
#18 of 93 trails in

Twin Lakes Trail is a 13.1 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Stony Creek Village, California that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until November. Horses are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 13.1 miles Elevation Gain: 3,238 feet Route Type: Out & Back

backpacking

camping

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

walking

bird watching

running

forest

lake

views

wildlife

rocky

snow

no dogs

Directions from Big Stump Entrance: Follow Highway 180 northward 1.5 miles to Generals Highway. Turn right on Generals Highway and follow it 25 miles to the turn for Lodgepole Campground. Turn left and travel .75 miles to the campground. Park in the lot near the Log Bridge. Cross the log bridge and look for the trailhead sign.

hiking
1 month ago

Extremely well maintained trail, and not as steep as I expected. A nice, fairly easy and quiet uphill hike through quiet forests and past bright meadows. No bugs. Weather calm and beautiful. Water level very low throughout but you’re still never far from a filterable source. I was the only camper at Twin Lakes which was pretty cool. Serene silence except for 3 nice howling sessions from coyotes(?) around sunset and sunrise. Beautiful! Wandered up Twin Peaks in the morning real quick (2 hours) for some great views before packing out. There is a bear box and pit toilet at Twin Lakes. Get your self-issued wilderness permit for overnight stays at the museum on the way to Lodgepole campgrounds which btw is operating at limited capacity starting Oct 16. Not many sites available, but also not very crowded.

1 month ago

This was a great backpacking trip. Rated 3 stars because you cannot have a campfire and it was 9,400 elevation, hard to get up and get going in morning when it’s freezing. There was also a ton of deadfall. But overall a lot of beautiful views. Challenging the last couple miles but worth it.

backpacking
2 months ago

Beautiful hike, the first 4 or similes the going is nice and steady with a pretty clear trail easy stepping. Then it changes and gets rocky and tree roots abundant so you have to watch your footing. The last 2.5 miles were pretty killer. Lots of breaks but we made it in 6 hours with a 30 minute lunch break at kahoon gap summit.

backpacking
2 months ago

Tough last couple of miles, otherwise very pleasant trail and beautiful lakes. It took us 5.5 hours to get up there, including lunch break. We camped at the lakes and it was a very cold weekend! It snowed during the night. Lovely and memorable.

hiking
2 months ago

this trail is hard do not recommend for a novice very steep took 5 hour to get to the top but only 3 back but worth the pain lake is unbelievable

hiking
bugs
3 months ago

Fantastic hike, especially for summer. The trail starts at the Lodgepole campground. Go over the bridge and about 50 ft. past the Tokopah trailhead. The shade during the majority of the trail is a welcome change to the other alpine lakes in the area. The first 4/5ths of this trail are moderate, but the last mile before the lakes is a pretty challenging incline. Totally worth it though! Bring bug spray.

hiking
4 months ago

7/28/19 While it was 110 degrees in the Central Valley, the high this day was only 78. Needless to say we were enjoying the wonderful weather as we were hiking this wonderful trail. This is a very well maintained trail among a dense forest. There is an abundance of natural springs, water crossings, meadows, and wild flowers. Speaking of water crossings, there are two calf-deep crossings that you could choose to rock-step across and stay dry as I did. Almost all of the water by now is from the many natural springs along the trail. If you carry a filter, you can get away with carrying only 16 oz of water. The trail is tree-shaded for about 90% of the hike. The hike itself is not very strenuous and I would consider it moderate. I also recorded 7.0 miles to reach the bigger lake, which is a little more than stated in the description. There little kids as young as 7 who were hiking to the lakes. The bigger lake was the one we hung out at and it was awesome. There are rocky slopes to the south with spring weather running down into the lake. We hiked towards the southwest shore and enjoyed a lunch while sitting on a boulder (see my recording). The coolest part to me was the many fish in the lake. The story is that long ago, rangers on horseback planted the lake with trout. People we passed by said they were catching a lot of these small trout, which are about 8 inches in length. They seem to be really hungry because if you throw a pebble in the lake, they will dart towards it to see if it’s food. Bring your rod and reel! Anyway, I highly recommend this trail for anyone visiting the area. Another favorite is the more challenging Alta Peak.

backpacking
bugs
4 months ago

The view of the lake was at the end. The trail to the lake was mostly forest and a view of the trees. The MOSQUITOES were some of the worst I’ve ever seen (July), so bring a bug net and repellant if you go in summer for sure.

hiking
snow
4 months ago

It was amazing! Went on this hike two days ago, it was a beautiful view. Definitely bring a gps or a map if going this time of the year. The trail is hard to find at times due to the snow. Also, it seems to be longer than what the trail marker said. The trail head says it is 6.8 miles there and then 6.8 miles back, but my group’s health apps all said we went about 17-18 miles. Overall, amazing hike. Long and difficult but very rewarding.

hiking
blowdown
off trail
snow
5 months ago

It was a cool adventure, definitely bring a map and compass or gps if going in the next week. Parts of the trail are covered with snow so it was hard to follow. Ended up using a gps to get back to the trail. Wanted to hike up to the peak but to much snow. Was enjoyable but I would wait a couple of weeks to go if you want to stay on trail.

hiking
snow
5 months ago

9 months ago

this was one of the more rewarding hikes I have had the pleasure of taking. I was visiting the park for 7 days with two young children one of whom was a quadriplegic. after making camp and caring for the kids for a few days I was ready to get some solo time. the hike up was difficult, I had a double lung pneumonia at the time, but the reward was breathtaking (pun intended) highly recommend!

hiking
Mon Dec 03 2018

I did this trail November 25th 2018 started at lodgepole campground and when all the way up to Twin Lakes. I had always intended to make it a single day hike and by the time I got the Twin Lakes my legs were pretty pumped out so I didn't go up to the summit. Besides the root was covered in icy snow and I didn't have any crampons and didn't want to risk it. I passed two sets of hikers coming down from Twin Lakes and one lady who passed me on the way up. by the time I got to Twin Lakes she had already visited probably ate her lunch and was on the way down. she was probably in her mid 20's and I'm twenty years older but in good shape for my age. it took me 3.5 hours to make it up. because there is a 2in layer of fresh snow I could tell that nobody had attempted to go to the summit, at least not since thanksgiving day when it last snowed. the views from the lake are beautiful but the tree line is high enough that you cannot see much of the surrounding territory. I agree with other reviewers that to get the best out of this hike you should try to scale at least part way up the summit wall. the trail is very well-marked but as with all trails when snow covers the ground that's hard to follow. my Samsung Galaxy was able to hold a GPS signal the whole way and so alltrails was able to record my progress. I always find that very useful since it's easy to lose trails and the alltrails topo maps are great for finding your exact position at any given time using the GPS on your phone. course correction is a breeze that way.

backpacking
Sat Nov 24 2018

Did my first backpacking trip here. Excellent trail with great views and spots to stay at for the night. A couple of the spots, including by the lake, even have bear lockers, which was a nice touch. The campground by the lake also had a pit toilet. I went in mid-November and it was quite cold (low 20’s at night) so pack wisely.

hiking
Thu Aug 30 2018

We just got back from our trip to Twin Lakes area on Sunday. Was spectacular! Blue skies, very little smoke/haze, no mosquitos, and warm lakes. We camped one night at Twin Lakes, then two nights at Ranger Lake. Did one day hike to Lost Lake. We were in a spot on Ranger Lake that had beautiful 360 views of all the ranges in the area. My only advice to anyone that reads this is you HAVE to go past Twin Lakes over Silliman Pass or you are really missing out. It's a bit of a climb, but absolutely essential, in my opinion. Twin Lakes give you just a taste of the granite vistas that I feel are really part of the High Sierra experience. If you want more of that - keep going over to Ranger Lake and camp there instead. Wish we could have kept going and going. But alas it was only 3 days. I wish I could figure out how to attach images here!

hiking
Tue Aug 21 2018

Great trail worth going up to the ridge for the view from above.

Thu Aug 16 2018

We just finished the trip. It's about 6 miles of uphill hiking and .8 mi of downhill. The end view was worth the effort. Twin lakes was fantastic. It has the best outhouse views that I know of. There were 2 bear lockers so I'm not sure why the Rangers told us we needed bear cannisters. Definitely day hike up to the ridge on the way to ranger lake. The views from a top are awesome!

backpacking
Mon Aug 06 2018

Last two miles before Twin Lakes is difficult but well worth it.

hiking
Sun Jul 29 2018

Great trail with plenty of water. Last 1.5 miles tough but the lakes and views are awesome.

hiking
Mon Jul 23 2018

The ridge has awesome views of the lakes. Bring plenty of water.

Tue Jun 19 2018

Completed this hike on 6-16-2018. The trail has consistent up climbing for the first 3 miles. It’s not too bad until the elevation gets to you. The trail was easy to follow and we only crossed a hand full of hikers. The hike itself is not done for the views but once you arrive at the lakes, you won’t regret it. The bugs aren’t too bad but if you stop for any length of time on any part of the trail, you will have a swarm of mosquitos around you. Make sure you bring bug spray and sun screen. We hiked in with a lunch and about 1 gallon of water and the hike took a total of 8 hours. That time included exploration at the lakes, a hike around the lake and plenty of picture breaks. If you are going to do the hike in a day, I would suggest following the trail to the 10k mark of elevation to see the lake from above. We hiked in the rocks to the east of the lake as high as we could but it would have been nice to make it to the top of the rock rim. The trail is not as steep as the summit lake hike out of shake camp in the sequoia national park. The trail does not have any surprises but the main river crossing at least around this time may be difficult for those who don’t want to get wet. I’m sure later on it will dry up a bit to stop that issue. Lastly, I completed a 4 mile hike 7 months prior and had very little preparation for this hike. I was able to complete it with energy to spare but I did need a few days to recuperate. Anyone with any amount of experience can complete this hike.

Thu May 03 2018

Love this hike

Thu Nov 02 2017

We did this hike about 2 months ago in August though the mosquitos were the worst it was still a very beautiful hike one lake was more like a pond and the other was somewhat small it was still so peaceful and pretty. the hike it’s self was very strenuous and I’d recommend being in shape!! There was a lot of steep parts and with a heavy pack it sure made it a challenge. Late summer was the time to go there were sill many streams and creeks flowing and in the spring it seems like the larger creeks would be hard to cross safely

backpacking
Wed Sep 27 2017

I found this trail to be hard, only because I'm a couch potato and am not used to carrying 30 pounds, 3000 feet, up 7 miles. Once I got to the top, I realized how worth it, it was.

backpacking
Sun Sep 24 2017

Beautiful trail. Plenty of uphill to keep your legs warm, and you'll need it! When I reached the lakes yesterday there was 2" of snow on the ground. The clouds rolled in around 4 and made for a surreal experience! By morning skies were clear and the temp was below freezing.

backpacking
Tue Sep 19 2017

Good overnight trip.

hiking
Tue Aug 15 2017

We took the Mt. Silliman trail up Silliman creek to get to Mt. Silliman. it was a decent hike until we hit the granite slabs. We had to switchback our way up several sections of granite slabs. 2000 ft. of mountain side to be exact. It was no easy feat. At the top was Silliman Lake and it was beautiful and another 1000 ft of elevation gain will get you to the top of the mountain. Going down the mountainside could've been easily dangerous if you took things to fast. Very steep. After it's all said and done, I would not go back as the mountainside almost killed me.

Sat Aug 05 2017

a beast of a climb but better than i imagined after reading the review...

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