At Lost Twin Lakes, thousand foot cliffs tower over a pair of pristine alpine lakes – making it one of the classic destinations in the Cloud Peak Wilderness and Bighorn National Forest. At a round trip distance of close to 12 miles from West Tensleep Lake Trailhead, it is a good candidate for a backpacking trip, although it can be done as a very long day hike. Horses and dogs are allowed, but the final section of the trail is rocky enough that horses would not be recommended, and less agile dogs could have some difficulties.
To get to West Tensleep Lake Trailhead, turn off Highway 16 at Deer Haven Lodge and follow the gravel West Tensleep Road (Forest Road 27) until it ends at the trailhead. Registration is required at the trailhead.
The Lost Twin Lakes Trail gently climbs uphill for most of its length, gaining roughly 1400 feet in 6 miles. The trail is easy to follow, but make sure to follow the signs marking trail #65 at the junctions near the trailhead.
The first half of the journey is mostly in the trees, but after about a mile, the trail passes by a nice small waterfall on Middle Tensleep Creek.
The next landmark on the journey is Mirror Lake, which is easy to miss on the hike up. Trees mostly obscure the views of the lake from the trail, but a short spur trail goes down to a campsite on the lake.
Lower Lost Twin Lake
The view of the lakes from the top of the rocky knoll at the crest of the trail are incredible – the lakes are surrounded by vertical walls on one side and willows on the other. With a short a jaunt through the willows, you will be at the shoreline of the lake. Fishing at the lake is common – it has been stocked with cutthroat trout , and some have reported catching splake. There are several flat campsites nestled in the trees along the north edge of the lake.
Upper Lost Twin Lake
The lower lake is spectacular, but visiting the upper lake is great for those wanting an even more alpine view. It is much more rocky, surrounded by large boulders (some are the size of a small house).
Going to the upper lake will add several miles to the journey. It is probably easiest to reach the upper lake by hiking around the left side of the lower lake (this is an unverified assumption). You can go around the right side, but it involves a lot of scrambling over boulders.
From the upper lake you get an awesome up-close view of the cirque.
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