Tamarack and Twin Lakes

To the southwest of Castle Crags lies Twin and Tamarack Lakes, as well as opportunities for some outstanding 360-degree views of the north state including Mt Shasta, Mt Eddy, Mt Lassen and the Trinity Alps. It’s just a short jaunt, 3 miles round trip with minimal elevation gain from the trailhead to Tamarack Lake, but for most you’ll also need to add a mile of uphill hiking on a rocky 4×4 road. And if you want to gain the views, add plenty of time and energy for bushwhacking, scrambling and exploring. We turned our trip into a 7-hour, 6-mile, 2000′ elevation gain kind of day, one requiring a post-trip Epsom soak.

We began our hike following this rocky 4×4 road for about a mile.

The trail continues mostly as a primitive 4×4 road until a bit beyond beyond Lower Twin Lake

Lower Twin Lake (my apologies for the photo quality but the day started overcast with flat light)

Upper Twin Lake (looking south toward Tamarack Lake)

Tamarack Lake (looking west toward the cliffs we hiked for better views) (FYI, the trail from Upper Twin to Tamarack is a bit overgrown and does take a bit of manzanita bushwhacking and cairn finding)

Looking down at Tamarack Lake and to the left Upper & Lower Twin Lakes

Tamarack Lake and an unnamed lake to the north, plus Grey Rocks on the upper right, yet another opportunity for views and lakes.

The ridges hiked to be rewarded with amazing views (FYI, there is no trail and some manzanita bushwhacking and scrambling is required)

Mt Shasta and Castle Crags (you can see the ski runs on Shasta above Castle Crags)

Lots of cool rocks around the area

Sadly, there is a 4×4 road with access directly to Tamarack Lake; therefore, this area can be pretty busy and may have a crowd not conducive to backpackers and hikers delight. I didn’t like seeing tire tracks through the meadows, the beer cans and trash strewn about. I picked up some plastic bottles and other trash as I hiked up to the ridge and will bring a trash bag to collect more should I return to this area.  Happily on this day, there were only two vehicles parked near the lake and the occupants had backpacked up to an area east above the lake. Except for these two individuals, we did not see nor hear another soul.

Jan’s Tips:

  • See my Trails Link page for book, map and online resources
  • Plan your trip to avoid the summer season
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6 thoughts on “Tamarack and Twin Lakes

  1. I know I keep saying this, but for me the PCT in Northern California was awesome. One of my favorite photos is taken at Tamarack Lake just a few minutes after a fog layer had lifted.

  2. Pingback: Grey Rock Lake | Jan's Jaunts and Jabberings

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