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Swimming & Waterplay: California

Quick Facts

Echo and Twin Lakes (via Summit Lake) Trail

Beginning Elevation: 6,680 Feet (2082.3 Meters) Summit Lake North Trailhead
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation Gain, Round Trip: 1,100 Feet (342.9 Meters)
Ending Elevation: 6,680 Feet (2082.3 Meters) Summit Lake North Trailhead
Length, One-way: 4 Miles (6.67 Kilometers)
Recommended Season: Summer
Usage: Moderate
USGS Maps: Reading Peak, West Prospect Peak, Prospect Peak 7.5 Minute Series




Satellite and Topo Map




General Description

The trail to Twin Lakes begins from the Northern Summit Lake Campground. Park in the day-use parking area on the Summit Lake shore. Begin the hike by following the campground road along the northern shore of Summit Lake.

When the paved route turns northward bear right and follow the single track around to the eastern side of the lake. Here the trail forks again, follow signs to Echo and Twin Lakes. Your route begins in earnest from this point. The trail leads eastward ascending slowly to a ridge crest.

You'll reach the crest of the ascent approximately one mile from Summit Lake. The high point of this ridge is 7,136 feet. Once the trail levels on the ridge summit, it forks. This is the beginning of the 11-mile Cluster Lakes Loop. Follow the right side of the fork to reach Echo Lake.

One tenth of a mile from the trail junction you'll begin a swift descent to Echo Lake. In the next mile the trail descends 240 feet, reaching the northern shore of Echo Lake. This is a small, shallow body of water within a depression. Choose this as your destination or continue along the trail to reach Twin Lakes.

Continuing to Twin Lakes the trail leads along the northern and eastern shore of Echo Lake. From the eastern shore the trail leads eastward out of the lake depression to a level area. At the end of this level area are two small ponds. Pass the northern shore of the larger pond then follow the trail as it turns to the north. The route descends from the ponds then levels slightly. After turning eastward again the path descends using switchbacks into the basin that holds Twin Lakes.

You'll reach the northwestern shore of Upper Twin Lake first. The trail then leads around the northern shore of this lake one quarter mile to a trail junction. This is the beginning of a loop that surrounds Lower Twin Lake. If you follow the right side of the fork you'll quickly reach the Pacific Crest Trail, which leads southward to Grassy Swale. Follow the left side of this fork to continue around Lower Twin Lake.

In a short distance you'll come upon another junction. The right side leads one half mile eastward to Rainbow Lake. Follow this trail for a long backpacking trip into the northeastern wilderness of the park. Follow the left fork to continue to the northern shore of Lower Twin Lake.

The trail forks once more before reaching the end of the loop around Lower Twin Lake. At this fork the Pacific Crest Trail leads to the north (right side of fork). Take this trail to reach the Cluster Lakes. Follow the left side of the fork to complete this short loop and reach the trail, which brought you to the Twin Lakes basin. At the next trail junction turn left to pass Upper Twin Lake and Echo Lake. Remember, the trail back includes 420 feet of ascent.

Directions from Northwest Entrance: Follow Highway 89 southeastward 12 miles to the entrance for Summit Lake North Campground. Turn left into the campground and park in the day-use parking area on the northern shore of the lake. Hike eastward along the lake shore to reach the trailhead.

Directions from Southwest Entrnace: Follow Highway 89 17.5 miles northward to the entrance for Summit Lake Campground North. Turn right into the campground and park in the day-use area on the northern shore of the lake. Hike eastward along the lake shore to reach the trailhead.

Seasonal Information:
Normally Open: June through Mid-October (NOTE: The trail may be snow covered, or inaccessible due to road closings, in the Early Summer and Fall months.) .



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Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Dispersed Camping Echo and Twin Lakes Trail - backcountry permit required
Yes
ICON Geology Echo and Twin Lakes Trail
Yes
ICON Hiking & Walking Echo and Twin Lakes (via Summit Lake) Trail
Yes
ICON Plant Identification Echo and Twin Lakes Trail
Yes
ICON Wildflower Identification Echo and Twin Lakes Trail
Yes
ICON Backpacking Echo and Twin Lakes Trail - backcountry permit required
Yes
ICON Trailhead Parking Echo and Twin Lakes Trail - Summit Lake North Campground Day-Use Area
Yes
ICON Viewing Scenery Echo and Twin Lakes Trail
Yes
ICON Swimming & Waterplay Echo and Twin Lakes Trail
Yes



Related Activities
Cluster Lakes Loop Trail - This trail leads around an eleven-mile loop, that reaches the shores of ten alpine lakes. The minimal elevation gain makes this a moderate trek.

North Summit Lake Campground - This site provides access to swimming, hiking, backpacking and horseback riding facilities. Sites are available on a first come, first served basis.

Summit Creek Trail - The Summit Creek Trail leads one and a half miles downstream to join the Kings Creek Trail. This is an easy hike with a 525-foot climb on the return.



More Information

Visitor Information:

California Travel and Tourism Commision, P.O. Box 1499 , Sacramento, CA, 95812-1499, Phone: 800-862-2543

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