From the Barlow Pass Sno-Park, the Twin Lakes Loop offers a challenging but rewarding backcountry experience. Skis and snowshoes are both common on the ungroomed and unmaintained trail. The lakes can also be accessed from a shorter trail that begins at the Frog Lake Sno-Park. Despite the high use, the trail feels very isolated and offers sustained periods of solitude in deep woods. Many downhill sections are fun descents on skis, but be aware of any two-way traffic on the narrow trail.
The trail begins at the northeast corner of the Barlow Pass Sno-Park parking area. The route follows the Pacific Crest Trail along a ridge for approximately two miles before dropping into the Twin Lakes basin. Upper Twin Lake provides a great lunch spot and a potential turn-around point if a shorter trip is desired. The trail follows along the shores of Upper Twin Lake before a steep, 200-foot drop down to Lower Twin Lake; look for a side trail that leads to the lakeshore. From here, the route ascends back up to the ridge, reconnects with the PCT, completes the loop to the Twin Lakes Junction, and returns to the parking area.
Note: From the parking lot, head southwest to ski or snowshoe down to Beaver Marsh.
Winter backcountry adventures can be dangerous outdoor activities that pose significant risks as conditions affecting safety (i.e. weather, snowpack stability, avalanche hazard) are constantly changing. Prior to engaging in these activities each individual should get the proper training to make safe decisions and be equipped to use avalanche safety resources and tools. Please visit our Backcountry Skiing and Avalanche Safety post to learn more.