Twin Lakes Approach
ElevationAscent: 1,215' 370 m
Descent: 0' 0 m
High: 12,497' 3,809 m
Low: 11,282' 3,439 m
GradeAvg Grade: 23% (13°)
Max Grade: 48% (26°)
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“A steep hike up a headwall to the Twin Lakes to access the Chicago Basin 14ers.”— Tyler Prince
It may be tempting to camp this high to avoid having to go up these 2,000 ft of headwall twice (if splitting the 14ers into two days of hiking). While possible, there are few good sites here, and you'll probably get some strange looks.
From camp near the top of Chicago Basin Trail, hike on clear trail at 11,200 ft. There's a wooden sign here, but it's easy to miss. Not to worry, the trail you want is the one going up toward them big, needly mountains. In a few hundred meters, cross some rock slabs. The trail here is a bit hard to follow, especially with a pre-dawn alpine start, so take your time here. Navigate back onto the trail and leave the trees at 11,400 ft. From here you should be able to see a plateau at the top of a headwall, with a stream running right down the middle. Your goal is to cross the stream and switchback to the top.
Stream crossings are at about 11,700 and 12,300 ft. After the second crossing, it's just a short distance to the lakes.
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Photos, Family Friendly, ADA Accessible, Need to Know
Land Manager: USFS - San Juan National Forest Office
Oct 2, 2019: Pine River Closure Order Lifted