North Twin and South Twin Rivers Loop

Austin, Nevada 89310

North Twin and South Twin Rivers Loop

North Twin and South Twin Rivers Loop Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"Only by Nevada standards can these two streams be referred to as rivers, but what the North Twin and South Twin rivers lack in volume, they certainly make up for in vibrancy, drama, and wonder. These twins share a family resemblance, both winding down narrow gorges, overshadowed by towering cliffs rising abruptly from the valley floor and piercing the deep blue sky with jagged pinnacles and serrated ridges.

Also, both streams roar down their respective canyons in resounding cacophony, through numerous cascades, swirling pools, and churning cataracts. Subtle differences between the two canyons do reveal themselves during the course of the loop. North Twin flows down a narrower canyon, while taller and more interesting cliffs appear in the canyon of South Twin. While both rivers support healthy riparian vegetation along their banks, particularly in the lower reaches of the canyons, North Twin holds the lusher environment. With their similarities and differences, the North and South Twin rivers are two precious siblings, highlights of the Arc Dome Wilderness."

North Twin and South Twin Rivers Loop Reviews

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Did this fun hike in two days (one night), but will take one more night to enjoy it next time. We started at the north twin trailhead after parking at the south twin trailhead (the end spot for us). We hiked all the north twin portion and over the pass the first day (about 9 miles) and camped at where the trail meets the south twin. We were lost briefly at the pass, but eventually found the trail (after a brief nap). The second day was relatively short and we were out before lunch. There were a lot of stream crossings (we counted 50), but none were difficult. We just stepped across and didn't fall or slip on any of the crossings. Most were very easy. There we large stones or fallen trees we used to help across each time. There is a well defined campsite at the point of divergence from the north twin. I plan to stay the night there next time, but we kept hiking. The campsite where the trail rejoins the south twin was less developed, but still good. We came across several nice camp areas past our campsite on the south twin on the hike out. We did not see anyone else on the trail. We met someone in the parking lot when we were done who said he was going to so the hike as a day trip. This is doable only if you are in very good shape. Water should be filtered. Check the USGS waterwatch website for current flow conditions.
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This was a great trip to an area I have wanted to visit for along time. Rangers warned us of deep snow at higher elevations, however we only encountered one small, thin patch trailside. It is a beauttiful area, quite remote, with lots of solitude. On Memorial day weekend, we only encountered 2 two other peopl on the trail on day one, and no one on day two. The guide book emphasizes the numerous stream crossings. This cannot be stressed enough. There are no bridges, no logs, no rocks to step across. The only way is to wade through. While we were prepared for this with water shoes and sandals, we weren't prepared for the psychological or emotional aspect. The first day, in about 6 miles, we crossed the river over 20 times. The second day was about the same. You either end of hiking in your "water shoes" which takes a toll on your feet, or you hike in wet hiking shoes, which takes a toll on your feet. Or you change shoes at each crossing, which slows you way down, and takes a lot of time. The scenery is great, lots of aspens, cliffs, rock formations. The trail is faint in a few place in the South Twin River drainage. Mike White's guidebook for this trip is very accurate. Bruce Grubb's guidebook "Hiking Nevada" doesn't even mention the water crossings, which could leave some people ill prepared. Beginning at the North Twin trailhead is best, as starting from South Twin requires quite a climb, only to lose elevation. We did this trip in late May, I can't imagine doing this trip in July, or August as the heat would be too much. September or October might be nice, but I worry about the availability of water.

North Twin and South Twin Rivers Loop Photos

Trail Information

Nearby City
3,475 feet
Elevation Gain
Trail Type
Skill Level
2 days
Usually open mid-June to mid-October; best July
Austin Ranger District, Arc Dome Wilderness
Local Contacts
USGS Arc Dome, Carvers NW, South Toiyabe Peak
Local Maps