The trail to Twin Lakes begins from the Northern Summit Lake Campground. Park in the day-use parking area on the Summit Lake shore. Begin the hike by following the campground road along the northern shore of Summit Lake.
When the paved route turns northward bear right and follow the single track around to the eastern side of the lake. Here the trail forks again, follow signs to Echo and Twin Lakes. Your route begins in earnest from this point. The trail leads eastward ascending slowly to a ridge crest.
You'll reach the crest of the ascent approximately one mile from Summit Lake. The high point of this ridge is 7,136 feet. Once the trail levels on the ridge summit, it forks. This is the beginning of the 11-mile Cluster Lakes Loop. Follow the right side of the fork to reach Echo Lake.
One tenth of a mile from the trail junction you'll begin a swift descent to Echo Lake. In the next mile the trail descends 240 feet, reaching the northern shore of Echo Lake. This is a small, shallow body of water within a depression. Choose this as your destination or continue along the trail to reach Twin Lakes.
Continuing to Twin Lakes the trail leads along the northern and eastern shore of Echo Lake. From the eastern shore the trail leads eastward out of the lake depression to a level area. At the end of this level area are two small ponds. Pass the northern shore of the larger pond then follow the trail as it turns to the north. The route descends from the ponds then levels slightly. After turning eastward again the path descends using switchbacks into the basin that holds Twin Lakes.
You'll reach the northwestern shore of Upper Twin Lake first. The trail then leads around the northern shore of this lake one quarter mile to a trail junction. This is the beginning of a loop that surrounds Lower Twin Lake. If you follow the right side of the fork you'll quickly reach the Pacific Crest Trail, which leads southward to Grassy Swale. Follow the left side of this fork to continue around Lower Twin Lake.
In a short distance you'll come upon another junction. The right side leads one half mile eastward to Rainbow Lake. Follow this trail for a long backpacking trip into the northeastern wilderness of the park. Follow the left fork to continue to the northern shore of Lower Twin Lake.
The trail forks once more before reaching the end of the loop around Lower Twin Lake. At this fork the Pacific Crest Trail leads to the north (right side of fork). Take this trail to reach the Cluster Lakes. Follow the left side of the fork to complete this short loop and reach the trail, which brought you to the Twin Lakes basin. At the next trail junction turn left to pass Upper Twin Lake and Echo Lake. Remember, the trail back includes 420 feet of ascent.
Directions: From Southwest Entrnace, Follow Highway 89 17.5 miles northward to the entrance for Summit Lake Campground North. Turn right into the campground and park in the day-use area on the northern shore of the lake. Hike eastward along the lake shore to reach the trailhead.
Elevation: 6,680 feet
Ending Elevation: 6,680 feet
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