Lodgepole campground just beyond the bridge over the Marble Fork of the Kaweah River at an elevation of 6700 feet. The trail is well maintained and begins climbing immediately but gradually heading north. The grade is easy as you hike completely shaded by tall stands of Red fir and Lodgepole Pine . As you hike you can notice the yellow triangle shaped markers placed on trees at about 15 to 20 feet. These are used to mark the way for cross country skiing when the trail is burried. Along the way there are a couple of moist meadows that seem like good places to watch for wildlife. Often bears are foraging in areas like these where there is lots of greenery. My first day up here I was hiking out to Muir Grove from Little Baldy Saddle and came across about a 3 or 4 year old chocolate brown black bear down in the creek alongside the closed for the season Dorst campground. It didn’t seem very concerned about me; but noting the direction it was headed, I held up my pace and diverted a bit so as not to encounter it on the trail. It looked at me for a few seconds from about 20 yards; assessing me to be just another bloody tourist; before casually strolling across the trail and up the hill. I could only imagine what a meadow like this would look like with the spring wild flowers all around. Perhaps some thoughts for next trip.The Twin Lakes trailhead is located at the eastern end the
The gradual forested uphill continues for about 4 miles before leveling out briefly at Cahoon Gap at 8659 feet. There aren’t any views to be had here to give you any sight bearing as the woods are too thick. Heading back downhill a bit the trail leads down to a lush creek bed area at 8437 feet where you can make a crossing using the rocks. It’s easy this late in the year without much water flowing. Shortly beyond the potential water stop at the creek, the hike transitions quickly back to uphill. After passing the junction for JO Pass at about 8900 feet, the trail soon makes a bend heading more to the east. You can notice how the environment changes as you begin to enter the sub-alpine region. The terrain shows lots of exposed rock and the weathered trees become fewer. The trail gets steeper for awhile and soon breaks out onto a little plateau where the twin lakes lie at 9400 feet. The area around the lakes has lots of tree cover and just beyond is the jagged granite bench where Silliman Pass lies; forming a natural wind break, with the larger lake just below (see photo at the top). On the other side of the pass are Ranger Lake, and Silliman Lake, and camping permits are available for all of them. Twin Lakes even has a bear box and a trail leads to an open air pit toilet. It was unclear to me whether this nicety was designed to be used with WAG bags or not. Who knows how they would pump it? I don’t know whether the other lakes have such fine appointments as that. No fires are allowed at Twin Lakes but apparently this rule only exists on the Sequoia side. Read the signs and be aware.