Winter Hike to Winchester Mountain

Rate this Adventure 3.5 miles 1320 ft gain  - Out-and-Back Trail

Added by Stephen Bellrichard

Get your Snowshoes out. Options for backcountry skiing/boarding. Access to snow camping - Campsites at lake or on the summit area. Sweeping views of the North Cascades – Great for photography. Stay the night in a historical Fire Lookout (1st come, 1st Serve).

Despite this trip report being titled "to Winchester Mountain", the fun doesn’t stop there. Even though Winchester Mountain is the most popular summer hike departing from Twin Lakes, this whole area turns into a fun-zone during the winter.

Upon reaching higher ground above the lakes, this zone offers incredible views of Mt. Baker, Mt. Shuksan, Goat Mountain, Twin Lakes, Winchester Mountain, and a sizable portion of the North Cascades. This place is stunning during any season, however it gets explored much less during the winter months. Crowds are nearly non-existent, and you will likely only share the place with a handful of people.

The opportunities to explore in this zone are seemingly endless – snowshoeing, skiing, snowboarding, snow camping, photography, hanging out, and maybe even building a snowman or two.

Keep in mind that Forest Service Road 3065 is getting pretty gnarly at this point in the season. DO NOT ATTEMPT to drive up the road (beyond the snow line) under any circumstances if you don’t have a 4x4 vehicle. Even with chains you are putting your life at risk. The road steepens dramatically after passing the trailhead for Yellow Aster Butte, and the vertical drop to the valley floor below increases to ominous heights.

The chance of inclement weather occurring during this season can be very high, and the worst thing possible would be a road that glistens with ice from a flash freeze. The safest option is to park at the Yellow Aster Butte trailhead and hike 2 miles and 1,600ft to Twin Lakes (5,200ft). This will change the total mileage from 5 miles round-trip to 9 miles. Don’t be discouraged by the slight increase in distance. The road will be relatively easy to walk up in comparison to a hiking trail, and it’s downhill on the return trip (which is ideal for anyone who is skiing/boarding).

GETTING THERE:
  • From I-5 take exit 255 (Sunset/Mt. Baker Highway) and drive east 31 miles to the town of Glacier.
  • Drive another 13.5 miles and take a left on forest service road 3065 (Twin Lakes Road).
  • Drive 5 miles (stay left at all forks) park at the Yellow Aster Butte/Lake Tomyhoi trailhead.
  • From here high clearance vehicles may be able to drive beyond this point but it gets very rough. Park at Twin Lakes Trailhead.
Read More

Tags

Snowboarding
Chillin
Camping
Photography
Skiing
Snowshoeing
Backpacking
Hiking
Forest
Scenic

Reviews

Have you done this adventure? Be the first to leave a review!

Stay Nearby

Deming, Washington

Silver Fir Campground

Overview Silver Fir Campground is situated along the North Fork Nooksack River in Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. The area offers stunning scenery and access to numerous recreational activiti...

Mount Baker Highway

Excelsior Group Camp

Overview Located near the rushing Nooksack River in Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Excelsior Group Camp offers access to numerous recreational activities popular in the north Cascades Mounta...

Deming, Washington

Spacious Mount Baker Condo With Sauna #41 Sw

This spacious, 3-bedroom, 2-bath, ground floor condo is a secluded family getaway! Features include a master bedroom with 1-king sized bed and a private walk-out balcony, 1-full bath with a large s...

From $255/night

Deming, Washington

Douglas Fir Campground

Overview Situated on the banks of North Fork Nooksack River in Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Douglas Fir Campground offers stunning scenery and access to numerous recreational activities po...

Nearby Adventures

  • Hike to Winchester Mountain Fire Lookout

    Winchester Mountain is said to have the greatest reward for least amount of effort in all the North Cascades. One of the last fire-lookouts in the region stands on the summit. Views from the summit of Winchester Mountain are beautiful and dramati...

    3.5 miles 1320 ft gain

  • Hike Yellow Aster Butte and Tomyhoi Peak

    The best way to describe the location is due east of Bellingham. After driving through gorgeous roads to reach Twin Lakes Road (fire service road 3065), you are treated to about a 4-mile drive up to the trailhead for Yellow Aster Butte and Tomyhoi...

    7.5 miles 2550 ft gain

  • Climb Ruth Mountain and Icy Peak

    This is a great introductory glacial climb in the North Cascades with moderate glacial slopes and 4th class scrambling. The reward is outstanding views of the Picket Range, Mt Shuksan and the dramatic Nooksack Cirque. Even though this climb is eas...

    17 miles 6000 ft gain

  • Catch a Sunrise at Picture Lake

    Set your eyes on one of the most photographic mountain landscapes in North America. You can drive up early for the sunrise, but really any time of day will be a treat.In the spring, make sure to come when the lake isn't frozen over so you can get ...