Cottonwood Lake #1 Trail is a 10.3 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Lone Pine, California that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length10.3 miElevation gain1,299 ftRoute typeOut & back
Dogs on leashBackpackingCampingHikingHorseback ridingNature tripsRock climbingWalkingBird watchingForestLakeRiverViewsWildflowersSnow
Description
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The hike isn't very stenuous at all.  Mostly flat with more aggressive switchbacks at the end which actually is much better, since it's less boring. There are a few places to get water, but 3-5L for the entire hike is good enough.

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Reviews (167)
Photos (618)
Activities (175)
Completed (496)
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Ryan Short
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Hiking

Super cold at Cottonwood Lakes, slept 1 night at Lake 5. Hiked to the summit of Langley via Old Army Pass with only a few short snowy sections. All lakes frozen over.

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Jack Hill
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Hiking

Overnighter. Very beautiful despite the smoke! No problems with bugs.

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Mathew Fiegleman
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HikingGreat!

Hiked Mt Langley on 8/29/20. The Lakes were super beautiful and worth the hike alone. Before of the CA forest fires if hiking this month, it is nearly impossible to breath up there after noon and will NOT be a fun trip

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Ryan Kopp
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Running

First solo backpacking trip, easy trail to follow and a lot of people doing the same thing. Would recommend this for any first solo hikers just because it’s heavily traffic ( which sucks) and easy trail. Love the John Muir wilderness!! I can’t wait to see what’s next.

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Alice Ford
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Hiking

I hiked out to Cottonwood Lake #1 and left around 11am the trail was not overly busy but did have a steady flow of people, mostly backpacking and or preparing for Mt Whitney. The trail is sandy and pretty sunny but breezes by as there is not much elevation gain until around 3.5 to 4 miles in. The lake is beautiful and if it had been a bit warmer I would have jumped in for a quick swim.

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Clark Reams
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Hiking

Very nice!

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Heather Mack
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Hiking

Long and challenging

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Dale Wilson
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Hiking

Awesome

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Vanessa Tran
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kathryn ramos
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Hiking
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Vera Urbanovich
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Hiking

Enjoyed the trail immensely! The most pretty lake is #5 and the other one that’s right next to it. Saw not less than 30 marmots in several meadows that the trail crosses. Made it a nice loop.

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Haydee Sanchez
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Greg Perrone
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Hiking

This is an excellent hike. The altitude was challenging as I live 400 ft above sea level, you may want to keep altitude in mind. The weather (Mid July) was excellent, not many bugs until the lake area. Beautiful views throughout spots along the way. There were a few water crossings that had logs to use or just get your feet wet if you like. You can tell it is a well used trail in great shape and heavily used.

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Omer Saar
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Hiking

Enjoyed this trail. It was the perfect trail to take our friend for their first overnight backpacking trip. Relatively easy hike compared to most we do, but challenging enough to feel accomplished. The number of lakes, beautiful views and places to hang, swim, fish and hike are plentiful.

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Philip Canterbury
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Hiking

Miles 3 ~ 5.2 are pretty tough with a heavier pack. Especially up Army Pass. I would even suggest taking New Army Pass and just rounding up to Muir if that's your destination. Muir was great, quiet due to the fishlessness. The boulder field between East South Fork Lake and West South Fork Lake took my gf a LONG time to navigate, even though I was able to hop through it pretty quickly. Great sound of the water rushing below the boulders. Next time, will definitely have to try the actual New Army Pass up to the base of Cirque & Langley Peaks. Maybe try to bag one or both. Here's hoping. My gf suffered some alt. sickness even though we'd camped at the trailhead campground the night prior. Be careful, lots of water. Takes a lot of energy to get across the CWood basin even though it seems like everything is right around the corner. Awesome area. Lots of eagles, marmots, some deer, chipmunks, and a gaggle of baby ducks! Super gorgeous water.

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Staci Garcia
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Hiking

Beautiful hike! The campground is closed so you park and walk from the gate to the trailhead which adds 1.8 miles to your hike. I started at 7:15am and that timing is recommended. Little to no bugs and the trail is in great shape.

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chuck & lisa Alessi
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Hiking

This is a must do hike in this area. This hike has it all very easy hiking trail beautiful views beautiful lakes and not too much extreme elevation

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Anna Beketova
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Hiking

Did this hike on October 20, 2019. Very beautiful and peaceful hike. However, it can get confusing in the beginning with the trail going through so many camping grounds and not being marked.

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Mark Baratti
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Hiking

One of my favorite trails. Begins at a little higher altitude than most and has only a little altitude gain to the Cottonwood Lakes basin. The basin is beautiful. Hiked in for an overnight trip on 9/20 under clear crystal blue skies. Highs in mid 50’s and lows to high 20’s with no wind. Very comfortable. More people than I expected for late in the season. Lakes 4 & 5 had as many as 30 people on Saturday. Lakes were full and streams were moving well following a good snow year. Cool so no mosquitoes this time of years. Mid summer usually has a lot of mosquitoes. Hiked time in was about 3.5 hours. Hike out was a few minutes over 2 hours, half of it in the dark. Good trail for anyone. Highly suggest taking one day/night to acclimate before hitting the trail. It’s deceiving when you start at 10k after driving up from much lower elevations. I usually stay one night at Whitney Portal and hit the trail the next day without a problem. Highly recommended. Beautiful country.

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Philipp Arndt
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Hiking

Loop around Hidden Lake and Lake Muir, from Horseshoe Meadows.

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Simon Guérard
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Hiking

Honestly not that great - without doing langley, i'd say the first 5 miles are very boring and not worth it!

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Howard Van Zandt
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Hiking

I

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Richard Ortiz
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Hiking
First to Review

Checking to see if anyone knows if we can get through Horseshoe Meadows to Cottonwood lakes as of April 15, 2019? Trying to get there next week. Your response is very much appreciated.

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Lauren P Adams
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Hiking
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Eric Schultz
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Hiking
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Aljona Tcherniavskaia
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Megan Spencer
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chuck & lisa Alessi
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Tyler Cook
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Albert Correia
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Hiking
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