Tinkham Peak: Alpine lakes followed by checkerboard land views, accompanied by the piping of frogs
Alpine lakes followed by checkerboard land views, accompanied by the piping of frogs
Length: 8 miles roundtrip
Rating: Easy to Moderate
Best Time of Year: May to November
Elevation Gain: 1600 feet
The Tinkham Peak Trail is actually part of the Pacific Crest Trail. This hike features a great view down the valley that reveals Twin Lakes and Keechelus Lake in the distance. In addition, it offers families to see the checkerboard lands protected by The Cascades Conservation Partnership. It is also perfect for families with children or novice hikers because of the little elevation gain. The trail crosses several talus slopes, streams and wetlands. Make sure to listen for the sound of Cascade frogs! At the 2.5-mile mark, in a western hemlock forest, you intersect with the Twin Lakes Trail. Not far from this point the trail crosses the saddle into the Lost Creek drainage.
The next intersection at mile 3 allows you to continue towards Tinkham Peak on the main trail or take a spur trail to another destination. Taking the left spur will lead you to Cottonwood Lake, which is an easy hike for kids to make and could be a pleasant spot for a mid-summer picnic. The right spur takes you to Mirror Lake, where Tinkham Peak is appropriately mirrored in the calm waters. Camping is available at Mirror Lake. However, continuing on the main trail will lead you to a giant clear-cut and you will have an excellent vantage point of the Cedar River watershed, Yakima Pass with little Twilight Lake, and Lost Lake.
From I-90, take the Hyak exit (#54) and head south through the ski area parking lost to Forest Service Road 9070. Follow the road south past Keechelus Lake. Before the first switchback (at 2.5 miles) is Trail 1303 to Twin Lakes. Just beyond at 4.5 miles the road intersects the Pacific Crest Trail. The trailhead to Tinkham Peak is to the south.
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Maps: USGS Lost Lake