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  • Writer's pictureTina McLain

Twin Lakes

A hike to two lakes that are popular in all four season in Mount Hood National Forest.

Lower Twin Lake

Lake Name: Twin Lake, lower

Elevation: 4150'

Coordinates: 45.2377, -121.6799

Lake Name: Twin Lake, upper

Elevation: 4250'

Coordinates: 45.2464, -121.6772

Access: Trail

Trail Distance: 7.25 miles (rt)

Elevation Range: 3904' to 4457'

Ascent/Descent: +960 ft / -950 ft

Trail Type: In and out

Trails: PCT #2000 & Twin Lakes Trail #495

Note: Requires Sno-Park Permit for parking (November-April) or NWFP for other months

Date hike was done: 8-13-2022

Upper Twin Lake

I've had this set of lakes on my list to do for a few years and finally decided to go and do them. I had originally planned on finishing the last section of the Timberline Trail I have left as a backpacking trip with my dad, uncle, and cousin, but my body wasn't to the point post surgery and with fatigue levels due to chronic illness i could handle that. So we decided to do a day hike together instead and chose this one.

I was nervous because I wasn't sure how my body would hold up with a longer hike. I'd only done mile hikes up to this point. It was a sunny, pleasant, but not too warm kind of day. We parked at the Frog Lake Sno-Park and started on the PCT #200 on our hike to the lakes. The trail was wide and gradually climbed uphill. We all enjoyed conversation and being out in nature. There weren't a lot of people on the trail on our way there. Once we neared the top of the hill we'd been climbing up we split off on to the Twin Lakes Trail #495 at the train intersection. The trail started to climb downhill to the first lake, the lower Twin Lake. We took the side trail that went down to the lake. There were other people there but we were able to find a spot to sit and eat our lunch. It was a good weather day, not too hot but not too cold. Most of us wanted to swim, but wanted to check out the other lake to see which lake we preferred swimming in. So we went back to the trail and continued on to the upper Twin Lake. It was an uphill climb with some switchbacks. There were lots of huckleberry bushes around, but not many berries on them. I was able to find a few to eat. The upper lake was smaller and shallower than the lower one. There was a partial view of Mt Hood. It was a pretty lake. Someone that was camping along the lake had brought their smaller dog along and it was pretty hilarious to watch. When it's owners weren't paying attention it would start swimming and in the lake and trying to sneak up on the birds floating in the lake. The owners would notice and all it back and the whole cycle would start again. It was pretty funny.

We decided to go back to the lower lake to swim. We found a spot where we could walk out on an old fallen tree and slide off into the water. It was by no means warm, but it wasn't too cold (for a PNW born and raised person anyways, I guarantee if my mom had come along she would have been complaining about how it was too cold lol). My uncle, cousin, and I all swam while my dad explored more of the trail that circled the lake. After swimming and sitting on the log we got dressed and started the hike back to the trailhead. We passed some people who were obviously PCT thruhikers and there were a lot more people on the trail hiking into the lake to swim.

It was a fun hike. The lower lake is definitely the best one to swim in since it is larger and deeper. We only went to both lakes edge, we didn't circle either lake.

This trail is popular throughout the whole year. It's most popular during the summer for camping and swimming as well as during the winter for snowshoeing and snow hiking. The least busy seasons are probably as the snows melting in late spring and late fall.


  • Parking: 45.22908, -121.69871

  • Trailhead: 45.22932, -121.69970

  • PCT & Twin Lakes #495 intersection: 45.23706, -121.68648

  • Cutoff from trail to Lower Twin Lake: 45.23988, -121.67755

  • Lower Twin Lake Edge: 45.23941, -121.67814

  • Lower Twin Lake: 45.2377, -121.6799

  • Swimming spot (Lower Twin Lake): 45.23908, -121.68044

  • Upper Twin Lake edge: 45.24553, -121.67625

  • Upper Twin Lake: 45.2464, -121.6772



How to get there (from Sandy, OR)



My Wild Adventure is not responsible for your safety, any possible injury, or anything that happens if you choose to follow anything on this website. Maps are not intended to be used for navigational purposes, but to give an overview of the route taken. By going outdoors you are solely responsible to know your strengths and limitations, be aware of current conditions and proceed with the appropriate caution. My Wild Adventure is not responsible for your choices and the outcome. Reference my disclaimer for more information on being responsible outdoors.

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