Heavenly Twin Lakes
- Klamath County)
(From Atlas of Oregon Lakes, Johnson et al. 1985) The Heavenly Twin Lakes are two of five closely grouped alpir lakes situated at about 6000 feet elevation in the southern Oregon Cascades. They lie at the heart of the Sky Lakes Area, a de facto wilderness which straddles the Cascade crest and is administered jointly by the Rogue River National Forest and the Winema National Forest. The area is currently under consideration for inclusion in The Nations Wilderness Preservation System. Such a designation for this idyllic region of 116,343 acres would ensure the continuation of the wilderness characteristics that make it so appealing. The natural environment is beautiful; glaciers and volcanic activity have both left their marl clearly on the landscape. More than 200 water bodies, ranging from met ponds to shallow lakes of 30 to 40 acres, are scattered across the terrain, all a legacy of the ice sheets that covered the mountains thousands of years ago. A number of volcanic peaks dominate the skyline. Vegetation of the area is a typical coniferous forest composed of a variety of species including mountain hemlock, subalpine fir, and Engelmann spruce at higher elevations and species of pine at lower elevations.
The Heavenly Twin Lakes are the destination of one of the more popular trails into the Sky Lakes Area, a three and one-half mile hike from Cold Springs Campground. Big Heavenly Twin Lake is 22 acres in surface area and very shallow; its average depth is less than six feet and its maximum depth about ten feet. The smaller lake is only about five acres in size, but is deeper. No permanent surface drainage has developed in this youthful summit topography; thus, there are no streams flowing into or out of the lakes. Groundwater movement predominate with subsurface seepage in the permeable volcanic rock. All lakes in this group contain brook trout and rainbow trout. Big Heavenly is a particularly good fly-fishing lake because of its shallow depth Several nice, undeveloped campsites are located around all the lakes in the group.
The data presented in this report are for Big Heavenly Lake, but the observations are valid for other lakes in this cluster, since they all have similar characteristics. Water in the lake has very low concentrations of all major ions, and low alkalinity. Phosphorus and chlorophyll concentrations are also low, and the lake is clearly oligotrophic. Water transparency is high and the bottom of the lake is everywhere clearly visible. Because the lake is shallow, the water temperature approaches 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celcius) in late summer, in spite of its relatively high elevation.