Twin Lakes 16e12

Eldorado National Forest, California

Elevation Gain1,334ft
Trailhead Elevation6,962ft
Elevation Min/Max6962/8142ft
Elevation Start/End6962/6962ft

Twin Lakes 16e12

Twin Lakes 16e12 is a hiking and horse trail in El Dorado County, California. It is within Desolation Wilderness and Eldorado National Forest. It is three miles long and begins at 6,962 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 6.0 miles with a total elevation gain of 1,334 feet. The Twin Lake Trailhead & Map information is near the trailhead. There is also a bench. Along the trail there is a meadow. This trail connects with the following: 16e17, 16e12 and 16e18.

Twin Lakes 16e12 Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

100 Classic Hikes in Northern California (The Mountaineers Books)
John R. Soares & Marc J. Soares
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"Twin and Island Lakes offer numerous campsites, excellent swimming, and magnificent views of Desolation Wilderness’s granitic Crystal Range. You must obtain a permit for this hike. Call Eldorado National Forest Information Center for more information." Read more
"The hike to Twin Lakes is an easy and exciting trip over granite slabs and along rushing creeks and waterfalls into the stunning backcountry of the Desolation Wilderness, the Northern Sierra’s most extensive and breathtaking wildlands. The Desolation Wilderness is Lake Tahoe’s great alpine backyard, full of high peaks, glittering lakes, and extensively glaciated valleys. It is here that the Sierra Nevada first completely reveals its iconic nature: a vast and wild expanse of granite and water, beckoning hikers to lose themselves in its sublime natural cathedral. It is here that John Muir’s eloquent naming of the Sierra as “the Range of Light” is first proved unquestionably true. You may think that enjoying this alpine wonderland requires significant effort. Though long backpacking trips are common in the Desolation Wilderness, there are also plenty of shorter hikes that make perfect day trips. The finest of these is the hike into the Twin Lakes, located on the west side of the Crystal Range, the Desolation Wilderness’s tallest and grandest range." Read more
"The relatively short but steep hike to Twin Lakes in the Desolation Wilderness is a classic alpine hike in the northern Sierra. The glaciated granite, sparse forest cover, cascading streams, and alpine lakes provide a true High Sierra feel, minus about 2000 feet in elevation. The destination—Lower Twin Lake—makes for a rewarding, if chilling, swim. The trail is accessible from a comfortable base camp at scenic Wrights Lake. There are number of other hiking options from this trailhead and other nearby trails leading to the Desolation Wilderness. Although overnight camping is allowed at Twin Lakes and other nearby lakes, a wilderness permit is required, and the popularity of this trail makes a solitary wilderness experience unlikely." Read more

Twin Lakes 16e12 Reviews

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Wonderful hike from Wrights Lake to Twin Lakes, with a great mix of terrain. The granite slabs are awesome (keep an eye out for cairns on them to mark the way). There wasn't a lot of shade but the pristine lakes and creek are sweet places to cool off. Great opportunities for more exploration and backpacking in the area. I hope to do that one day.
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This is a beautiful easy day hike from Wright's Lake to enjoy solo or with friends or family. There's lots of private little nooks and crannies around the various lake where you can plop down for lunch or a nap before heading back down. Highly recommended. The only caveat is that there are some misleading cairns out on the granite, so just keep your wits about you when heading up and constantly look around to confirm that you are still on the trail. Heading down is simpler, even if you get off the trail for a while.
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Taking the water taxi from Echo Lake($10 per person at this time)we headed 2.75 miles up frequently rocky, exposed trial over the border into DW. The map distance belied the actual hike, as we were not yet acclimated for backpacking at 7K feet plus. However, we were rewarded with Aloha Lakes, where we spent that evening and the following day swimming and sunning. On the third day, we day hiked about 4 miles northwest to Clyde lake which was secluded and bracingly cold. We returned to our base camp at Aloha and hiked out the following day. Relaxing, yet unforgettable!
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One of the many great Desolation lake hikes. Very easy to lose the trail and be mislead by cairns that hikers have left in all the wrong places. Please don't put up your own cairns.
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Nice day hike, 2 hours in and 1 hour back. Island lake was fantastic, secluded and prestine. Back walls of rock, clear water, and a nice water fall off of back wall. some small amounts of snow. It was 100 degrees in the valley and 85 at destination. Trail was moderate to easy. The granite slabs added to the difficulty of keeping on the trail. Wrights lake was crowded at time of departure, but not a problem. Drive to trailhead was nice. Hike up and out was very scenic, creeks, ponds, etc. Hike is perfect for a nice picnic. Creeks and lakes were abundant with trout. I soloed this trip, but would enjoy sharing it with friends or family. MLP

Twin Lakes 16e12 Photos

Trail Information

Eldorado National Forest
Nearby City
Desolation Wilderness
Dog-friendly, Kid-friendly
Additional Use
Pacific Ranger District, 7887 Highway 50, Pollock Pines 95726 (530) 644-2349
Local Contacts
USGS Pyramid Peak
Local Maps