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

We started off from Woods Lake side on Saturday, hiked down fourth of july lake during the afternoon, and camped at round top lake during the night; we then hiked up round top mountain in the early morning and finished the loop off minnemucca lake and carson pass. On the side of wooden lake to round top, approximately a third to fourth of the trails are obscured by snow (in June). We met quite a few groups who were either scared off by the snow or got lost. Highly recommend windshield layer or thicker jackets, snow shoes or hiking boots to tread of the snow. It gets a lot windier at higher altitude near round top lake. The experience itself was one of a kind. You have to tread through snow and be really good at pinpointing the trail ahead. Some of the human tracks become water streams or mud pads due to snow melt, so wear durable hiking shoes. There are 6 camp grounds at round top lake and you must acquire a permit at the Carson Pass visitor center. We were the only one who camped there, and the night was extremely windy and cold. Thankfull we were prepared for the worst of the weather and made it through. I personally think that the route through winnemucca lake to round top is steadier pace, more scenic and beautiful, and no snow until you pass winnemucca. The additional path down fourth of july and up the round top mountain are definitely rewarding and have fantastic views of the entire valley.

A couple of lakes really. Last September I joined Jere's Jaunts for a COLD fall hike. Early morning temps were literally freezing. Lucky I packed warm. one of our group, Marty, showed up in shorts as usual and a light fleece jacket. He and his wife got out of the car and upon seeing the frozen water in the parking lot at Carson Pass immediately began complaining. To his credit he made it half way before saying we were all nuts. LOL!

I loved this hike. Fairly moderate with only one slippery, icy water crossing. We all made it with ease. I also like it cold. So refreshing up in the Sierras!

Loved it! Great hike! The first mile is along Caples Lake and is easy. The only thing in this area that I didn’t like were the dogs off leash. The creek crossings were fine, easy and cooled my feet. The last one half mile was pretty snow covered and it was easy to lose the trail. Very beautiful at the lake, lots of areas to hike. Quiet, very quiet, only the breeze was heard.

Hiked this yesterday. While the trek along Caples was pretty, it was nice to finally move away from the highway noise. A bit wet and had numerous creek crossings, but nothing too difficult (water resistant boots help). Although the upper part of the trail was snowed in, it was doable. Just follow the larger creek on your right up to Emigrant (even easier if you have the map on this app downloaded).Definitely worth the effort, as Emigrant Lake is still mostly snow bound and utterly breathtaking!

Beautiful hike and not too strenuous. Lots of streams and waterfalls and even a few wildflowers (too early in the season for very many). Unfortunately, had to turn back 4.2 miles in as the trail was lost in the snow and was to treacherous to continue without snow shoes. May be passable in another month or so.

I have hiked this area several times and know this area well. The 2 reviews posted below are wayoff track. (For supporting the posted trail) I don’t think these reviews fit this trail description and give bad support to this trail.(as posted).
The southern side of the trail can be difficult to follow as the trees and debris often cover it.

These reviews may better suit https://www.alltrails.com/explore/recording/fouth-of-july-lake-loop
Not many do this hike. It’s difficult.
I will post some pics of the south side. Use cation in winter.

One of my favorite hikes I have ever done. best time to go is in the late spring/summer.

Parking lot can’t be reached, still snow and a downed tree. Put snowshoes to make better progress. Was hard to find the trail down from Round Top trail, slow going. A beautiful day, great hike.

I did this one last October (2017). It was one of the most beautiful backpacking trips I have done. I wonder what the current trail condition is right now. If anyone writes a new review, can you please comment on the trail/snow condition? Thank you very much in advance.

Absolutely gorgeous trail. I’m not sure why they have Fourth of July lake on this trail and the rating is still moderate though. Getting from Round Top Lake to Fourth of July Lake and back is one of the most difficult hikes I have done! Absolutely worth it but very exhausting. I am not someone who hikes all over the place and as frequently as I’d like, but I go on quite a few hikes throughout the year and getting to Fourth of July lake is at best moderately difficult!

There is much to enjoy here year-round, but Winter and early Spring months are when you can get out your snowshoes, mountaineering gear, and/or skis and take advantage of this snowy wonderland. If you get a Snow Park pass (definitely get one of these, by the way - I believe California limits how much the pass-issuer will cost you, so they're not bad at $25.00 or so) you will have an excellent parking lot next to the trail. This gives you access to a paradise for Winter sports enthusiasts.

After 10am or so, I find that the parking lot exponentially fills up. Get there as early as you can.

Round Top Peak and other geological features, like Elephant Back (which is aptly named), tower above the relatively flat surroundings, this gives you the freedom to cross country and explore around. Kirkwood, CA and the Mokelumne Wilderness are known for high levels of precipitation. I was here recently (mid-April) and it is still dumped on. Be courteous and follow "snow etiquette and traditions", in other words don't be like me and trample parts of ski tracks and get called out for it. Duh!

Enjoyed a great snowshoe hike to Lake Winnemucca today. Trail well packed and lake covered in snow, it was beautiful!

Great snowshoe to Winnemucca today.

Important Note—You need to purchase a Sno-Park pass AT A STORE if you are hiking this trail in the winter. There is no option to purchase the $5 pass at the trailhead in the winter!

Also, when you reach a trail junction with an option to head to Woods Lake go this way!

We definitely needed our snowshoes today!

We hiked this trail many times. It is always good.

4 months ago

As of 2/18/18, there’s plenty of snow. The views are beautiful, and the trail isn’t too steep. The trail is pretty easy to follow. I loved the surrounding views of mountains and frozen lakes. Not too crowded. We will be back.

I think the instructions for accessing the trail may be wrong. The map shows you should start about a mile past the CalTrans station, in a parking lot that is inaccessible in winter. Looked beautiful though!

Now that Tahoe finally has snow, decided to check this trail out and what a view! For the fairly tame profile and duration, this trail has some incredible view starting with the now frozen / snowed over Winnemucca lake (this route is direct to the mountain, 4th of july as an optional detour on the return though we made it on the way out) and then of Round Top and the Sisters at the end. Lots of great powder currently making for a fun day even on snowshoes (but they are a must) and certainly a great one on skis. The view from the saddle below the summit is incredible with Pyramid Peak, Freel, and the south Sierras all visible. We didn't push up for the true summit but the rocks of the upper mountain look like a fun reason to return.

Plenty of snow and the trail is well blazed. Missed the Frog lake detour though. Packed enough to walk with microspikes most of the way but there were a couple of stretches I wished I had snowshoes.

I loved this trail, I definitely plan on going again. The scenery is beautiful! Worth every burning step.

Beyond rad scenery

One of my favorite places to hike.
I prefer winter months but spring is excellent too.

This hike is great! The views are awesome!
I prefer this hike late or early season to avoid the crowds.
October and Nov. are pretty nice if you are geared for cold.
We also snow shoe in this area and do the Winnemucca Lake Loop a lot. Suggested: https://www.alltrails.com/explore/trail/us/california/winnemucca-lake-loop
Great day snow shoe!

Beautiful any time of the year. Can't wait to come back in the spring.

Fairly easy hike if you are in good shape. My friend and I decided to hike up to Melissa Coray Peak after setting up camp around the eastern side (towards Round Top) which was fairly tough and very rocky, no real trail except for a few rock stackings that hikers have placed. Going around the western ridge is much easier and advised as its less rocky and there are trails leading most of the way to the top. The lake itself was nice and clear but cold, it did get fairly windy during the night but nothing too bad. However, the morning was extremely calm with a few birds chirping around the lake. The streams leading towards Caples from Emigrant were not as active and many of the plants and flowers were dead (late in the year). Looking to going back during the peak summer months for warmer temperatures to dip into the freezing water and to look at the beautiful wildflowers.

Amazing views. Well manicured trail. Take the Frog Lake detour for a great Vista of Red Lake then circle back to the trail to continue on to Lake Winnemucca.

There's a parking lot with a cash box. Bring $5 with you. Bathrooms also located at the parking lot.

Love it, not strenuous. Actual mileage 9.1 miles. Emigrant lake beautiful

After visiting the lakes in the area many times I finally got a chance to actually climb Round Top itself last week. I know all the trails in this area get crazy busy but it’s for good reason...probably one of the most spectacular areas in the entire Sierra.

I approached Round Top via Carson Pass, this time of year it was pretty empty on a Tuesday. The hike to Winnemuca Lake is very gradual, and it’s a beaut. After Winnemuca stay right toward Round Top lake if looking to summit. There seemed like multiple vague trails heading up toward the saddle so I just picked the path of least resistance (all these trails seem to link up further up anyway).

From the saddle the trail heads up steeply and after some scrambling you’ll find yourself atop the West Ridge. This isn’t the true summit but if exposure and heights aren’t your thing this would be an excellent stopping point. The actual summit is further East, and requires some exposed downclimbing and a small class 3 section at the end...but boy are the views worth it. The wind was howling so I didn’t stay up top very long but you can bet I’ll be back.

Beautiful, beautiful area. Just be prepared to share.

The trail itself starting from Caples lake is mostly fairly generic forest trail. If Caples lake is still, you can see pretty nifty reflections. Should get a little closer to the lake to see some pretty sights. After the lake ends, it's a fairly steep hike for about a mile and a half. Maybe because I went in September, I didn't see any "waterfalls" as others mentioned. There were some unremarkable streams along the way. Emigrant lake is really beautiful. But again it would be much prettier in early summer with more snow on the mountains in the back. Moral: visit earlier in summer not in September.

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