On the east side of Stevens Pass, near Lake Wenatchee, two large, calm lakes wait in a lush basin lined with pine trees, bigleaf maples, and an understory of salmonberry and blackberry. On the way in, the trail shows off gigantic western redcedars, as well as rushing mountain streams, and an impressive rocky canyon.
This hike is appropriate for bigger kids. You can hold the distance to just under 6 miles by hiking to the lake and stopping at Lunch Rock, an outcropping with a great view and a place to eat lunch or a snack on the shore a hundred yards or so after the trail reaches the lake.
To view the old Fish and Wildlife cabin and the bigger of the twins continue 3/4 of a mile along the shore which will stretch the total hike length to 7.5 miles roundtrip.
From the trailhead, head into the woods, immediately beginning to climb, though not too steeply, up the trail. Less than half a mile from the trailhead, a spur trail veers left. This offers an overlook of the valley below, but it makes for a better stop on the way back, so keep on truckin’.
Head straight ahead on the main path through rolling forest. About two miles in, you’ll arrive at a swampy section, with a nice view to the east, featuring the Chiwawa Ridge and the Napeequa River Valley. This is the site of some impressive old cedars.
Continuing on from the wetland, the trail begins to climb in earnest. Begin switchbacking uphill to a creek crossing, where solid footing can be found on a good sized log. This creek, which can be very high in spring, is the outlet of the lakes above you – it's aptly named Twin Lakes Creek.
If the crossing is feasible, do so safely, and resume the trail on the opposite side. As you climb, you will enter a section where willows and cottonwoods shade the trail. This section of the trail is in the path of winter avalanches, and if you look carefully, you'll see that few trees grow above the level of the snow pack.
Continue to climb, but soon pop out of the forest and onto the side of a tight canyon, with Twin Lakes Creek rushing below you. The rocky sides of the canyon are impressive, but these boulders can move when nature wants. The trail here has suffered the consequences, and this section is narrower and more precarious than the rest of the trail to the lakes.
But the canyon section is brief. Just a little more than three miles from the trailhead, you’ll get your first glimpse of the lower Twin Lakes. The trail meanders around the northeast side, offering views of the sparkling water between the brush at the edge of the lake, where there are a number of rocks that provide nice picnic spots. The lake warms in August, so if it is a hot day, a dip can be quite pleasant.
In roughly a mile, arrive at the isthmus between upper and lower Twin Lakes. This is the site of a Department of Fish and Wildlife cabin, as well as a small stream with some old boardwalks that connect the two lakes. These are actually fish weirs. Twin Lakes is used as a breeding site for cutthroat trout. This explains the "No Fishing" signs. There are a few campsites adjacent to the old cabin, dated 1949.
The trail does not continue around Upper Lake, though the lake is accessible by a short trail -- Upper Twin Lakes Trail #1537.