Twin Lakes: Sequoia National Park

A calm before the storm in Sequoia

*Originally hiked: Oct 24–25, 2020

This one was a good one about 2 years ago, right before a snow storm hit the area, we got one last backpacking trip in to a lake that is named after us. Ok it’s not named after us, but I do have a twin, so I enjoyed the trip to twin lakes with my twin.



Location Mileage Elevation Gain Type
Sequoia National Park, CA 14.56 miles 2,800 feet Out-and-back

Permits, Directions & Weather

*permit is required year-round for this hike

Permits: To get permits for Twin Lakes trailhead it defers during the off-season (non-quota) months vs. quota months.  During the summer months you can now get permits on recreation.gov website.  Once you put in your permits you can pick them up at the Giant Forest Museum ranger station.  During off-season months you can drive to the Giant Forest Museum and fill out a self-issued permit form.  Make sure you have your permit on you when you are out in the backcountry.

Directions:  To get to the trailhead from Giant Forest Museum, go about 4.3 miles and turn right onto Lodgepole Rd. Parking is very close to the trailhead and there are bear boxes to put any extra food, scented items that you will not be taking into the backcountry.


Weather: Lodgepole Picnic Area, ~6,900 feet


Maps, Books and Gear Recommendations

  1.  Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park Map – always take a topographic map with you. I probably own almost everyone in the western and eastern sierras from Tom Harrison.
  2.  Moon Sequoia & Kings Canyon Travel Guide


 

Buff Pick

My sis and I have a small side business selling her hand drawings on apparel and such. I use these Buffs all the time, check it out. Buy Twinted’s buffs and neck gaiters here now!

BUY
Snack Picks

In addition some cheese and salami would go well with some of the below, if you fancy a cheese plate.



Hike Stats


Blabberings

My sis and I decided last minute due to a weather window and wanting to do one last backpacking trip before it became a snow trip!  I feel like a lot of the time we don’t end of doing any hikes on the Sequoia (west side) of the Sierras.  I finally got around to looking at more hikes in the area and found that there are just as many lakes that could be our destination

stayed at Sequoia Campground and Lodge Friday night

We drove up Friday night, so we can start the hike early on Saturday morning.  Stayed the night at Sequoia Campground and Lodge in Three Rivers, which was really nice because we had some soup for dinner by the fire and put up our summer tent on a grassy area as that is how the campsites are set up.  Book here.

Being that we would arrive in the dark, this was the best option not to have to do the windy road up past Three Rivers into the park in the dark.  Something I would note as well, is that during winter months this way in is sometimes closed and you will have to enter from highway 180.   It was a nice and quiet campground; something I would recommend if someone decides to do a similar itinerary to ours.

permits, coffee and up we go

Before we picked up our permits we picked up coffee from Sequoia Coffee Co. located in Three Rivers; such a good decision and so glad that they were open.  It just looked so inviting and hit the spot as we both were craving lattes for our drive up to pick up our permits.  I particularly liked the sign that said “A DAY WITHOUT COFFEE IS LIKE…. JUST KIDDING, I HAVE NO IDEA”.

It takes about another hour or so to get to Giant Forest Museum and the trailhead.  The museum was closed, but since we were hiking outside of quota season we filled out the self-issue permit form.  It is located just to the right of the museum on a free standing small kiosk; I learned that they never have pens or pencils, so we always bring one from the car.  Place the permit in the box and keep your copy as you need to take that on the hike.

no views until Cahoon Gap

The first 4.6 miles up to Cahoon Gap are mostly through meadows and trees.  At about 2.6 miles you pass Cahoon Meadow and at this point of the year it wasn’t very green, but you could see the large meadow and feel the cooler air going by it.  a little before the gap there is a small creek that you pass (Clover Creek) where you can pick up water if it is running; when we went you could still get water out of it – we just didn’t need any as we both packed about 3L for our way in since it was just the weekend.

Just before the Gap there is a clearing in which you can see the Meadow and the beautiful surrounding scenery of trees galore. We stopped at Cahoon Gap as this was a perfect place to rest and eat something we were both starving since we had only the latte in the morning.

snack break, reached camp, fishing and a dip in the water

Cahoon Gap was the perfect place for a rest stop; there’s a nice open area we put down everything and sat down and chilled.  If you scroll up I put a list of items that we took as snacks and foods; might be good ideas for your next trip.  I think we spent an hour there and wanting to get to camp soon since we had our fishing poles we packed up and headed out.  We got to the lake after another hard climb around 3pm, which still gave us time for sunlight, but not that much.

We quickly set up the tent and our sleeping stuff; made a wonton soup for a snack and to get warm. After cast out and first cast caught a small little trout. We weren’t going to cook any of the fish, just catch and release.

 

I made myself get into the water without getting my hair wet, but it was when the sun was still out of course ha ha.

Dinner and next morning

Before dinner got quite the show from the duckies going across the lake, the perfect reflection across the lake and the sun shining through the trees. Tried to get some stunning shots to share with the world. Soup again for dinner and hung outside until it got unbearably cold where we needed to hide away.

The next morning woke up and the tent was frosted. Weren’t in a huge hurry but we did have a 5 hour drive and about a 3 hour hike still.

Headed home

I always hate this part of our trips because we know it’s over the day you wake up and know you are on your way out. After our lovely coffee routine, packed up everything and cast our lines out a couple more times with luck.

The way back down was all downhill and went much quicker than we thought. On our drive out there was a little traffic and it was because a guy stopped in the middle of the road stopping traffic just to take a shot of a little bear. Question is where was it’s mother? That guy would have been in trouble along with other travelers!

Till next time mountains!


Check out others who have written about Twin Lakes

Some more hikes in the area that I’ve written about: Sequoias.

I love to read other blogs about hikes before I go out on the trails I’m going to backpack, hike, etc. to get all the information I can.  Here are some more reads if you’d like to take a look.

Twin Lakes – Kings Canyon National Park – Modern Hiker

Twin Lakes – Redwood Hikes

Twin Lakes Trail | Sequoia & Kings Canyon | Oh Ranger

Twin Lakes Fishing – Sequoia National Park


I hope you enjoyed this write up and if you have any questions don’t hesitate to write comments below.

Happy Adventures! Annette

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