A month or so ago I tried out a new hike in the area.
This was about a 2 mile out a back trail that takes you up to the peak of Winchester Mountain. On this peak sits an old, refurbished, fire lookout.
The trail itself isn’t too difficult. It’s all up, but it’s not overly steep. Really, the hardest part about this trail is getting to the trail head.
It lies at the very end of a 7 mile one lane forest road. And the last 2 miles are not maintained. I made it up in my front wheel drive semi-high clearance vehicle, but I would not suggest it in anything lower. Also, I would not dare attempt the drive if it were raining or if there were snow on the road. I had no trouble in the conditions I drove in, but there was one point when I approached a wash-out where I seriously began to question my choices that morning. With a little momentum I made it over that last hump, and just around a turn were the Twin Lakes and the parking lot at the trail-head.
The drive is pretty, but also avoid it if you are afraid of heights. It is a one lane road that runs along side of a very steep hill with no guard rail and then there are steep switchbacks. (I loved it!)
The hike starts between the two Twin Lakes and quickly starts to climb and snake back and forth across the face of Winchester Mountain. All along the way you are treated to amazing vistas of massive forested valleys and picturesque views of Mount Baker in the distance.
There is one section that is fairly precarious though. The trail gets ultra thin as it crosses a steep face of loose mountain scree. It then goes up a steep chunk of orange stone up to a small ridge connecting the main mountain to a smaller peak.
Than you climb up the remainder of the trip around the back side of the mountain. Here you are treated to huge views of the valley between Mount Larrabee and Tomyhoi Mountain. Lake Tomyhoi sits at the bottom. Also, even late in the season, snow still waits in the shadowed north face of the mountain.
Once at the top, bask in your accomplishment and enjoy the even better views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. Also, be sure to check out the fire lookout, but be respectful of anyone that may be using it to camp for the night.