Winter Hike to Winchester Mountain

Winter Hike to Winchester Mountain

Rate this Adventure Twin Lakes Trailhead

Distance

3.5 Miles

Elevation Gain

1320 Feet

Activities

Snowboarding, Chillin, Camping, Photography, Skiing, Snowshoeing, Backpacking, Hiking

Skill

Advanced

Season

Winter

Type

Out-and-Back

Forest
Scenic

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.

Community Photos

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations.

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Distance

3.5 Miles

Elevation Gain

1320 Feet

Activities

Snowboarding, Chillin, Camping, Photography, Skiing, Snowshoeing, Backpacking, Hiking

Skill

Advanced

Season

Winter

Type

Out-and-Back

Nearby Adventures

Adventure

Hike to Winchester Mountain Fire Lookout

Adventure

Hike Yellow Aster Butte and Tomyhoi Peak

Adventure

Backcountry Ski Twin Lakes

Adventure

Climb Ruth Mountain and Icy Peak

More Nearby Adventures

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