One trailhead. Two stunning destinations.
The Twin Lakes trailhead is a perfect starting point for hikers of all abilities. Choose the short one-mile hike into Twin Lakes for an easy family outing or veer off at the half mile mark and climb to Granite Mountain Lookout for a more challenging trek and rewarding view.
For both destinations, the trail starts with a small bridge that crosses a creek and puts you into a stunning wildflower meadow. If you have dogs with you, please keep them on leash or under control as cattle are often grazing here in the summer months. Past the meadow, you will come to another creek crossing. Hopscotch across the rocks or opt to traverse one of the large downed trees across the creek to make your crossing. From here, the trail takes a slow meander upward. At .5 miles, you will come to a signed junction. Stay right to keep course to Twin Lakes or take the left fork to access Granite Mountain Lookout.
If you opt to visit Twin Lakes, the destination will be another half mile from the signed junction. The well-marked trail summits just as the lake comes into view. Although named Twin Lakes, it is actually one large body of water formed in a figure eight shape. When the water level drops in the fall, the lake looks more like two, hence the name. The lake is set against the north face of Granite Mountain, an impressive 8,479-foot peak. Follow one of the footpaths that circle the lake to find campsites or a nice picnic spot. At the far west end of the lake, a creek splashes over granite slabs and into the lake. This also makes a great place to drop a line and see if the fish are biting.
For those opting to take the Granite Mountain Lookout trail, the route will take you through a section of recovering forest. Burned trees loom large against a backdrop of wildflowers. The grade is fairly gradual until about 1.5 miles in. From here, the forest drops away and you will come to a grassy saddle. A cairn marks the place where you can take a short side trip by walking north to enjoy a stunning view of Twin Lakes. Back on the main trail, the ascent moves steeply up rocky terrain. Keep an eye out for cairns that mark the way over areas of granite slabs. Another mile will bring you to the summit of Granite Mountain. If you opt to explore the Lookout, keep in mind this is an active fire lookout and announce yourself as you arrive.
From downtown McCall, head north on Highway 55 and turn right on Goose Lake Road. Stay left as you come to Brundage Mountain Resort. The road will turn to dirt. When you come to the Y junction, keep left toward Hazard Lake on Forest Service road 247. Travel approximately seven miles until you see the sign for “Granite Mountain/Twin Lakes Trailhead” on your left. There is a large parking area at the trailhead, but no restroom facilities.