Tinkham Tarns & Twin Lakes

An east to moderate in-and-out or loop hike from Windy Pass on the Pacific Crest Trail near Snoqualmie Pass. It's up to 6.4 miles and 1,600 feet of elevation gain. Enjoy a hike to a coupe of Tarns just below Tinkham Peak and/or two beautiful alpine lakes at the head of Cold Creek.

getting there

Take Exit 54 (Hyak) off of I-90. Drive to the Nordic Center and look for Forest Road 9070, also known as the Cold Creek Road. Follow it south and west around Mount Catherine.  Park the where the Mount Catherine Trail (No. 1348) crosses the road at 3,700 ft or at Windy Pass, the junction with the pacific Crest Trail.

on the trail

tinkham tarns

Hike up the road to Windy Pass and then south 2.5 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) to visit two pretty little lakes at the base of Tinkham Peak. The lakes, which are just above the PCT, are reached via a short well traveled boot path. Return the way you came for a 5 mile round trip hike with 1,300 feet of elevation gain.

twin lakes-tinkham loop

Hike up the road to Windy Pass and then go south on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) for 2.8 miles to a junction with the Cold Creek Trail (No. 1303). Hike downhill on the Cold Creek Trail, skirting Twin Lakes.  At a junction just past Twin Lakes, turn left on the Mount Catherine Trail (No. 1348) and hike 1 mile uphill to the road intersection at 3,700 ft. This loop can be hiked either direction for a total of 6.4 miles and 1,600 feet of elevation gain. Consider the side trip to the Tinkham Tarns just before the PCT-Cold Creek Trail junction.


Permit information

As of 2017, the Snoqualmie Ranger District considers Mountaineers trips and courses to be "nominal use". Leaders should print and copy this designation letter to show rangers they may see on trail or carry a digital copy on their phone.

  • Suitable Activities: Day Hiking
  • Seasons: July, August, September, October
  • Weather: View weather forecast
  • Difficulty: Easy/Moderate
  • Length: 6.4 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 1,600 ft
  • 4,500 ft
  • Green Trails Snoqualmie Pass No. 207
  • Green Trails Snoqualmie Pass Gateway No. 207S
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