Hike 81
The Mt. Hood National Forest
Twin Lakes via Whetstone Ridge Hike
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Map of the Bull of the Woods Wilderness,
Whetstone Mountain, Twin Lakes Hike

Length: 16.2 miles round trip
Elevation Change: 2100' cumulative gain
Season: Summer thru Fall
Difficulty:   Difficult
Permit:   NW Forest Pass Required


 Click for PDF Topo Map of this Hike 

There are many ways to reach the Twin Lakes of the Bull Mtn Wilderness. This narrative will take you there from the Whetstone Mountain Trail head. The trail drops immediately after leaving the parking area. You will then pass the wilderness check in spot, complete with poop-shovels. Then the trails descends through a dense old forest before climbing back up to the ridge that spans Whetstone Mountain and Silver King Mountain several miles to the east.

Continue to follow Trail #546 for another 3.3 miles until you come to the junction with Trail #544. During this part of the hike you will continually gain elevation and loss it, but each time you go up, you don't go back down quite as far. You hike more and more in the open and the views just get better and better. In season the flowers are just fantastic and in the fall the colors are superb. Bear right on Trail #544 and follow it for the next mile until you come to the junction of Trail #573.

Bear left at this point and follow Trail #573 downhill toward the Twin Lakes. Along this stretch of the trail you will have excellent views of Battle Ax Mountain to your southwest and Mt Jefferson to your southeast. As the trail loses elevation, it moves over the north side of the ridge you are descending. After the last major switchback, you leave the open areas and enter a tall dense forested area. Nevertheless, soon you will glimpse the upper Twin Lake through the trees. Finally, you will arrive at its shore and what a beautiful scene it is. This first view makes the whole hike worth it.... but there's more.

Continue around the lake and enjoy the lake views as you go. To get to the lower Twin Lake you follow your trail past the upper lake and just as you dip down a bit to cross a little stream, you should notice the trail on your right that takes you to the lower lake. This trail was in very poor condition when I hiked it, but I was able to follow it to the lake shore. The Lower Twin Lake is a wonderful lake. I'm quite disappointed that the trail has been let to deteriorate so badly. Nevertheless, you can find it and you can enjoy the beautiful lake. These two lakes are a real gem and a true reward for your effort.

Battle Ax Mountain as seen from
the Whetstone Mountain Trail
How to get there:

 Click for PDF Directions Map of this Hike 

Follow Hwy 224 southeast of Estacada approximately 25 miles until it becomes Forest Road 46 just after the Ripplebrook Ranger Station and the junction with Forest Road 57. Continue south for about another 3.7 miles to the junction with Forest Road 63. Bear right onto FR 63 and cross over the Clackamas River. The road now follows the Collawash River for approximately 3.5 miles until you come to the junction with Forest Road 70.

Turn right onto FR 70, which is the same road that takes you the Bagby Hot Springs area. Continue for approximately 6.5 miles past the Bagby Hot Springs parking area to the junction with Forest Road 7020. Turn left onto FR 7020 which will take you steeply up a rather rough road. At times you might think that you are on the wrong road. Actually, you might wonder if you are on a road... but be assured, it gets better. It is about 5.5 miles to the trailhead. Just before the trailhead you will pass the junction to Forest Road 7030, but keep straight ahead.

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