Winchester Trail

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 48.95640°N / 121.643°W
Additional Information Route Type: Trail (snow climb in winter)
Additional Information Time Required: Half a day
Additional Information Difficulty: Walk-Up
Sign the Climber's Log


Winchester Mountain
From Seattle drive 90 miles North to Bellingham. Take exit 255 (Sunset/Mt Baker hwy) drive east 31 miles to the town of glacier. Drive another 13.5 miles to forest service road 3065 (Twin Lakes Road) from here drive 5 miles (stay left at all forks) to the Yellow Aster Butte/Lake Tomyhoi trailhead, please be respectful and find a good place to park that allows other drivers access and the ability to turn around. Off-road capable vehicle may be able to drive beyond this point but it gets very rough, if you do continue on remember that the trailhead is at 5,200ft so check your snow levels to see if your car can make it.

This road description changes from year to year, even from Spring to Fall. Road washouts are not uncommon early in the year, but not every year. You can call the Rangers at Glacier, but I have found them indifferent or misinformed as to current conditions. I just hiked (8/22/12)the road between Yellow Aster Butte/Lake Tomyhoi trailhead and Twin Lakes because the Ranger said that only "high prfile vehicles could make it". Nothing could have been further from the truth. Car after car drove by and it was easy going. I think posting a question on summitpost or NWhikers would get better current info than the Rangers. I will say the walk was rewarded with an abundant display of so many flowers, so what the heck?

Route Description

Last bit to Lookout
Round Trip ~9.5 miles (from yellow aster butte trailhead)
Elevation Gain 2,900 (from yellow aster butte trailhead)
High Point 6,521

The trail is short if measured from the Twin Lakes, about 2.5 miles, and not too steep, it gains about 1,300 feet. But that is only the trail. However, if the road approaching Twin Lakes is not passable, you have to add the following variable : you must hike a relatively easy 2.2 miles up the road gaining 1600 feet in the process. This makes for total of 4.7 miles and 2,900 feet gain, perhaps hard for some people to hike but very easy for a climber. This is truly one of the most spectacular hikes in the region. The trail begins at Twin Lakes. The sign showing where to begin is between the two lakes, where there are also very nice campsites then heads due west . After a sharp turn that points you back north you start to gain some elevation before entering a little a quarter mile traverse to the south with absolutely stunning views of baker and Shuksan. There is one fork in the trail, left (south) to the Lookout and right to High Pass and Mt. Larrabee. There was a signpost on 8/22/12 showing the choice and direction. The trail wanders through open slopes with many flowers to enjoy and the views just keep getting better if the weather allows.

Essential Gear

In winter and early spring an Ice Axe is recommended.
In winter you'll need skis or snowshoes and avalanche gear.

Miscellaneous Info

If you have information about this route that doesn't pertain to any of the other sections, please add it here.



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