Explore the most popular views trails in Golden Trout Wilderness with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

2 days ago

Went in May and all the lakes were frozen over. Beautiful place, will definitely be going in July to fish.

hiking
3 months ago

Amazing

backpacking
4 months ago

This was my first experience overnight backing packing and I absolutely loved it. Beautiful location and quite. This place made me fall in love with the back country.

beautiful in the spring

backpacking
6 months ago

Stunning area to see. Easy to navigate area. Great for acclimatizing.

Other than the gusty wind it’s a great trip.
Fly fishing was tough windy but the Golden’s were there.

hiking
6 months ago

This was a pretty easy hike with beautiful scenery the entire time!

World class. Spectacular. Relatively easy day hike.

backpacking
8 months ago

Probably my favorite trailhead in the sierras!

What a great hike! The trailhead starts just west of the Cottonwood Lakes trailhead, and they do NOT share the same parking area. The first 2 miles are very flat, and you'll cover ground quickly. Small wildlife is present, and you'll see some cows to the south in the open valley. The climb up the pass is steady, and moderate intensity. Nothing technical. Take a moment to soak in the views once you reach the top. From the pass, the lake isn't far along toward the northwest. Follow the trail until you get to a creek crossing. From there, just go upstream, which takes you to the outlet of the lake. You can't fully visualize Cirque Peak from the lake, but an impressive false summit is visible. The fishing was sparse, but the lake was still wonderful, relaxing, and well worth the hike.

Took my Boy Scout troop there this weekend. Awesome sites, beautiful meadows, streams, wild flowers, hiking under a canopy the whole time kept us cool. We went all the way back by Mike's cabin, about a 5 mile hike and camped at the fire pit. Very cool hike, would do it again. Best fishing was at Casa Vieja, so stop there and fish. The other streams were flowing too fast.

10 months ago

Did this in 2009 and it was great! Had a minor detour as we got to the farthest point of the loop where signage was scarce. Spent about an hour trying to find the trail through the middle of a bog.

backpacking
10 months ago

Backpacked for 4 days in Mid June plenty of snow above 11000 feet, Took my two teenage daughters on our second trip to the cottonwood lakes, they were still amazed by the beauty of nature. We saw many deer and a coyote so they thought it was amazing.

Just finished hiking up to Lake 3 and 4. Beautiful!!! The snow on the ground made it even better!

The hike to the lake and back was about 9 miles. There were two small patches of snow just below the pass, but both were easy to cross. The meadow is beautifully green and the lake was a nice reward after the switchbacks. The trail was a little buggy, so bug spray is recommended.

Good hike definitely harder on the way back. Great signage initially but sparse indicators once you reach trout meadow, big thanks to those who maintain it. This is a well maintained trail. We found heading left at unmarked forks got us to trout meadow. We did find a water source next to the rustic federal building in the meadow, although a barbed wire live stalk fence prevents access to creek that runs parallel to the meadow.

Didn't make it all the way up (hit just shy of 11k ft) . Still too much snow from this year's record snowfall and didn't have crampons or picks. No wonder we didn't see another soul on the trail. In a month or two, should be beautiful, albeit strenuous in parts.

This is a great hike for beginners and the experienced. It's a slight downhill path all the way to Casa Vieja once you reach the Golden Trout Wilderness sign from the parking lot. From the sign for about 100yds it is the steepest decline of the entire trail. Bring your camera and take plenty of pictures. There is an old Forest Service Cabin on the other side of the meadow that is worth seeing. They still use it in the summer, so make sure you announce yourself. The views are out of a postcard. If you have the time walk around the meadow - don't walk through it, you'll get a crash course in why it's a meadow (Swamp!). There are golden trout in the stream and springs all around.

backpacking
Thursday, March 09, 2017

Fantastic trail. Did this back in 2014....twice. Only negative was the recent burn area from the Angola Mountain Fire. That area can be easily bypassed though. Water at Trout Meadow from a spring box, and also at Willow spring. Continue on for an easy drop down to the Kern. Camp at Grasshopper Flat. We were trying for Kern Lakes but didn't make it.

backpacking
Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Backpacked up to Lake 5 (10/21/16) for an overnighter. Well marked trail. Windy Sat. night. Beautiful area.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Good five hour hike today! Enjoyed the view, unfortunately didn't get to explore everything because it got super windy and the clouds set in. But all in all a great hike!

backpacking
Sunday, October 02, 2016

Took the unmaintained trail that branched off the trail ~1.2 miles from the trailhead. Turned out to be around 5 miles to South Forks Lake. When you're walking along the meadow, make sure to stay right along the creek. Beautiful lake, with golden meadows. Windy and VERY cold at night. Definitely end of Sierra season. Beautiful hike with lots of water available. Nice day hike over the hill to Cirque lake-has potential for amazing waterfront camping (100 feet from water!).

backpacking
Thursday, September 08, 2016

the trails are well marked and maintained. It was very windy, which made it bad for fishing. I saw a bird of prey dive bomb a fish out of the south fork lake, awesome.

hiking
Thursday, August 25, 2016

Hiked up with my two daughters spent the night, what an awesome trail and view. My daughters were in awe of the views, will do this hike again for sure.

backpacking
Monday, July 11, 2016

Great Trail. Took New Army Trail to Cottonwood Lakes, make sure to check the weather going up there, the wind can get pretty crazy.

Thursday, June 02, 2016

Good steady accent after nice relatively flat hike through the Meadow. The lake was real nice reward after the hike over Cottonwood Pass.

hiking
Thursday, October 22, 2015

Good trail easy hike in from Lewis trailhead nice climb out.

hiking
Sunday, September 27, 2015

Difficulty 4/5

I went in June of 2014. The lake was beautiful and worth the ascent. Be prepared for many tiring switch-backs.

Thr hike took me seven hours.

hiking
Tuesday, August 25, 2015

We day hiked part of the trail in and out and really enjoyed it. Parking at the trailhead can be a problem due to the traffic. Really nice hike but the drive up into the mountains can be tricky.

camping
Monday, July 13, 2015

Relatively easy hike in and out, we camped near old army pass. A overnight permit is required, be at the ranger station by 11am for same day (free) walk in permit. They go quick! This is a very popular backpacking trail...be advised. Or you can reserve before hand and pick up your permit on your way there. The station also rents bear cans, I believe it was 5$ a night. It was extremely windy, and cold for July. Be prepared for a cold windy night if backpacking out! We did bring our dog, so we were only allowed in the cottonwood lakes loop. Really beautiful scenery, you will enjoy it :)

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