Twin Lakes - Silver Peak Loop
I last did this loop in 1995. After 10 years it was
time for a return. The record hot weather ended with low clouds all the
way to the trailhead. We hoped it would burn off by the time we made it to
the summit. Suzanne joined me and we were at the 2960' Twin Lakes trailhead,
up the road from Hyak, at 9:00 AM. Although it was a holiday weekend there
were no other cars. The trail to Twin Lakes is an easy one mile gaining only
about 200'. At the lake we met two hikers going from Stampede Pass to Snoqualmie
Pass. The trailhead sign states it is one mile from Twin Lakes to the Pacific
Crest Trail. In reality it is at least 1 1/2 miles gaining 1400'. It was
a little wet but in good shape over all. We saw many trillium. They were
about finished down low but in full bloom higher up. Violets, bunchberry,
and marsh marigolds were seen in profusion. The clouds made for a comfortably
The Crest Trail was in very good shape. Many creeks were running strong
but none were hard to get across. Most of the way was bare but there were
several snow patches as well. The sky was still cloudy but it seemed to
be getting thinner. The dogs, Sadie and Evie, enjoyed the cool weather and
plentiful water. Sadie especially made a point of playing in all the snow
patches. When we reached the tarn on the right side of the trail I knew we
were close to the turn off for the abandoned trail up Silver Peak. The trail
is easy to miss but there is now a large cairn which is hard to miss.
The old trail is in decent shape and easy to follow. The worst parts
are the slick muddy section near the ridge top. We found the worst sections
were buried under a thin snow cover. It made for much easier travel. The
ridge top itself was snow free. In fact, there was little snow until the
flat area at the base of the final climb up the south ridge of Silver. As
we traversed along the sun finally broke through. We could now see the summit
of Silver. The start of the final ridge was covered in glacier lilies. Along
the way we saw short-stemmed Indian paintbrush. They only grew several inches
tall. Phlox was also blooming along the rocky slope.
We traversed below the false summit and started up the final slope.
Tinkham Peak was clear and we could now see Lost Lake as well as Lake Keechelus.
Abiel Peak was partly in the clouds with the summit an island above the clouds.
We reached the top at 11:55 after a leisurely 3 hour hike. Everything to
the west was buried by the clouds. To the east most areas were bathed in
sunshine. For the first time this year we were assaulted by mosquitos. I
had to put on a coat to keep them at bay. A little wind would have helped
but it was calm.
I remember a summit register from previous visits but there was none
this day. The view from this summit is far better than it's elevation would
suggest. I could pick out Rainier, Stuart, Hibox, Lemah, Alta, Thompson,
Red, Snoqualmie, Chair, Kaleetan, and Granite. After lunch I headed a short
way down the ridge to where Annette Lake would have been in view but with
the thick clouds I could not see it. We quickly descended to the bottom of
the ridge. As we began to traversed along the lower ridge we met several groups
coming up. The drop back to the PCT went fast.
Back at the Crest Trail we turned left. The trail was in great condition.
Much water crossed the route but little was on it. Flowers along here were
better than I expected. Trillium was still seen in great numbers. One clump
had more than a dozen blooms tightly packed together. As we neared Windy
Pass we again entered the cloud zone. At the road we turned right and headed
down about 1/4 mile to where the signed Mt. Catherine trail turned off to
the right. This trail is steep at first before moderating. Most of it was
in good shape with some water, mud, and rocks in places. As we headed east
the clouds quickly gave way to sunny skies again.
The route flattens out as it drops to Twin Lakes. The dogs took advantage
of the lake for a final swim. From the lake a short mile brought us back
to the trailhead. The hike up Silver from Windy Pass is much shorter, with
less elevation gain, and many more people. This loop is my preferred way
to go. After several hot days the cooler weather was very nice. At the same
time our route was much sunnier than any hike on the west side of the crest
this day. It turned out to be a very nice day in the mountains.
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.
Pacific Crest Trail
Evie On Snow
Photo Page 2
Trips - 2005