Maps quick view - #1 Map

For about a month each winter when a low snow level has settled in over the foothills of the Wenatchee Valley, the road up Twin Peaks makes for an accessible and surprisingly enjoyable winter outing. A 4.2-mile drive up Number Two Canyon Road delivers you to the end of the pavement where the dirt portion of the road begins. Prior to 2015, no one lived up the dirt road in winter so the plowing stopped at the end of pavement and foot-travel began. Now several full-time residences are located up the road and the dirt portion of the road can often be driven by 4-wheel-drive vehicles  another 0.6 miles to a small parking area beside a gate blocking motorized travel on the road leading to the top of Twin Peaks. Beyond this gate, the snowed over road can be used for by cross-country skiing, ski touring, snowshoeing, or winter walking as it leads to the summit of Twin Peaks in about 3.5 miles.

The terrain along the way varies from quiet, wooded forests to windy ridges with expansive views. The top of the peak is particularly impressive for a place so close to town. On a clear day, you’ll see Mt Rainier to the south, the Enchantments to the west, Glacier Peak to the northwest, the Waterville Plateau to the northeast, and the Columbia River at your feet. It’s not a bad payoff for a little sweat.

While the summit of Twin Peaks will hold snow for most of the winter and long into the spring, the season for skiing or snowshoeing all the way to the top is relatively short. Chinooks following winter snow storms often wipe out the snowpack on the lower miles of the route. If you want to ski or snowshoe the entire way, you need to and grab the route when opportunity knocks. Even when warmer temperatures have pushed the snow level up, however, Twin Peaks is a beautiful and accessible area for a wintertime outing. Throw snowshoes (or MicroSpikes) in the pack and start walking the road system upward — when you eventually walk your way into snow, pull out the snowshoes and carry on to the summit.

Photo: Summit views to the east.

DETAILS, DETAILS

Map: See map below for more information. Winter map (8.5’x11” portrait).

Activity: Snowshoeing, Nordic skiing, backcountry skiing, winter walking.

Nearest Town
: Wenatchee.

Skill Level:
2 (Intermediate).
Fitness Level: 2 (Intermediate).

Distance
: Depending on where you park, the round-trip distance to the summit is 7 to 8 miles

Elevation
: West summit: 4,620 feet. East Summit:4,596 feet. Elevation gain from end of pavement: 2,050 feet.

Recommended Season: For snowshoes and skis the area is generally best traveled from late December through February.

Access. In Wenatchee, drive south on Western Avenue until it bends hard to the right, and becomes Number Two Canyon Road. Follow Number Two Canyon Road 4.2 miles until the paved section of the road ends and turns to dirt. There is a small pullout (on the south side of the road) at the very end of the road where two-wheel drive cars as well as cars lacking aggressive tire treads should park (elevation 2,535 feet). Don’t park in the larger parking area on the north side of the road — this is private property and cars parked here antagonize the owner. Four-wheel-drive vehicles with aggressive tires might consider driving another 0.6 miles up the dirt portion of the road to reach the small upper parking lot by the gate leading into the non-motorized area of Twin Peaks. This portion of the road is plowed by residents living farther up the road and the condition of the road and its slickness can vary wildly depending on temperature and snowfall. It’s not unusual for cars to slip off the road into a ditch that will require a tow truck for extraction. If in doubt park at the end of pavement (the lower parking option) and walk from there.

Trip Instructions:

Skiing the main road to the summit. Our topo map will help you follow the road to the summit but here is a brief description. From the end of the paved county road, follow the snowed over road uphill to the second gate. Go straight through the second gate rather than hooking left on Road 7101. Follow the road behind the second gate for nearly two miles until a switchback near the 4,300-foot elevation level. Here, take the right of two roads and follow it as it makes a long traverse under the West summit and leads to the top of the East summit (4,596 feet). A more detailed description of this road is described in both the Hiking and the Mountain Biking guidebooks under Twin Peaks.

This road is the main winter route up Twin Peaks and while it is not particularly steep snow conditions can range from heavenly to hellacious. In good snow conditions, those with very flimsy gear (light touring Nordic skis with no metal edges) can ski the road. But once the road is packed and conditions turn icy, most skiers will prefer lightweight metal-edged backcountry skis and boots giving a modicum of control over the skis. No-wax skis are usually preferred for this route and skinny skins will often make the ascent much easier and sometimes even the descent much safer.

Cons / Hazards. Snow amounts vary from year to year. Because the area is not that high, snow consistency is not always good.

Additional Information. Most maps call Twin Peaks ‘Horse Lake Mountain.’ Twin Peaks is the more commonly used local name.

Issues. The lands beyond the gate at the upper parking area are closed to motorized vehicles.  Sometimes snowmobiles may be encountered beyond the gate and you have every right to politely inform motorized recreationalists the area is closed to them. Keep the conversation friendly — most motorists are out enjoying themselves and polite discourse will discourage them from revisiting.

Uses Allowed. Nordic skiing, backcountry skiing, snowshoeing, winter walking, sledding.
Uses Not Allowed: No motorized vehicles. Jeeps, ATVs, snowmobiles, and motorized snowbikes are prohibited past the second gate.
Land Ownership: Forest Service and private.
Fees/Permits Needed: None needed.
Reporter and Date: Andy Dappen, January 1, 2015.
Re-Used: December 3, 2015

Leave It Better Than You Found It. This should be every outdoor user’s goal. Pick up trash left by others, pull noxious weeds along your route, disperse old fire rings (they encourage more fires), throw branches over spur trails and spurs between switchbacks (make it harder to do the wrong thing than the right thing).

Important Disclaimer: Treat this information as recommendations, not gospel. Things change, conditions change, and those contributing these reports are volunteers–they may make mistakes, fail to give complete information, or may not know all the issues affecting a route. So forget about finger pointing: If things go wrong, you are completely responsible for yourself and your actions. If you can’t live with that, you are prohibited from using our information.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Like WenOut? Subscribe Now!

Get hand-picked trail guide posts, events, and more delivered to your inbox.