Cottonwood Lakes Campground to Mount Langley

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John Muir Wilderness

Cottonwood Lakes Campground to Mount Langley is a 19.5 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Lone Pine, California that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, running, and nature trips and is best used from June until October.

Length19.5 miElevation gain5,124 ftRoute typeOut & back
HikingNature tripsRunningForestLakeViews
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Reviews (18)
Photos (1,046)
Activities (10)
Completed (214)
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Roger Jenkins
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I can’t give it the 5 stars that it deserves as were climbed it at the end of summer during the CA Fires. The mornings were beautiful but the afternoons were choking smoke. For my full trip report including video, pics, information and story along with links to our 4 days there and my struggle with AMS go to: https://centralcahikingpursuingbalancethruadventure.wordpress.com/2020/10/03/up-in-smoke/?preview=true

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Eros Yong
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Eros Yong
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Abraham Montes
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BackpackingGreat!

Hiked Mt. Langley on 9/5/20, we luckily avoided the smoke from the near by fires but still a challenging hike. We broke the hike down over 3 days and camped at Lake 4 for both nights. The water and view at Lake 4 was spectacular and cold but still was refreshing after hiking several miles each day. The hike to Mt. Langley from Lake 4 was extremely manageable and everyone from my group (8) made it to our first 14er. The trail on All Trails is slightly off the actual trail and will take you on a a pretty direct path on the last push. If you want to take the correct path you should go left at the last split where you see a path that looks like it’s going nowhere into the mountain (but you will eventually see the cairns). The view on top is worth it so good luck and our recording mileage was closer to 21.5 miles.

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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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Roger Jenkins
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Backpacking

I am sure that this hike is the most glorious experience, but be warned with the CA Fires from NoCal and from Closer-by Kern the afternoons are fire smog. Mornings can be fantastic so anything you do, do it as early as possible. I was so bummed. The mornings gave us hope, but the afternoons were so disappointing.

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Jonathan Shade
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HikingGreat!RockyScramble

Old Army Pass is steep trail with excellent views. The giant rock cairns on the last mile up to Langley help with the navigation as no single trail is visible. Small snow patches are still visible at the top of Old Army Pass, but there is no snow directly on the route. Lots of sky pilot (Polemonium eximium) in bloom. Heaps of marmots, and a nice black tailed jack rabbit.

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nick fistonich
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Sulan Lange
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Hiking

8/8/20: Growling hike in the last few miles to the peak, it includes climbing boulders, the trail is not visible just look for the rock pyramid. I took the NAP out and back and made a wrong turn about a mile out before realizing the trail was going down to the other direction. I love the scenic view but hated the sand trail and many switch back! I started at 1:15 am and finished before 3pm. I slept in the car by trailhead.

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Tracy Cota
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HikingScramble
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Dawn Lehman
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Hiking

9/14/19: This was my first backpacking experience and it was wonderful. We hiked to Cottonwood Lakes campground the night before and camped near lake 3. We started for the Langley Summit the next morning just before 8am. We took Old Army Pass. The trail is relatively flat along the lakes then it starts to climb. At first glance it doesn’t look like there’s even a trail but it’s well marked, just hard to see until you’re on it. There was a tiny bit of snow in a couple sections but easy to pass. The trail climbs about 1000 feet before it pops out on the ridge. From there it’s a slight incline as you head toward Langley which is a good time to get your breath back and give your legs a rest before you start to really climb. There is one section where you have to climb up some boulders but if you follow the large cairns you’ll be fine. Just keep one foot in front of the other. The view from the summit is amazing. We got lucky in that it wasn’t very windy at the top but bring layers and be prepared as it can get cold very quickly. I would highly recommend this hike. It’s challenging but we had a group of 11 people of varying skill levels and everyone made the summit.

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Maridy Carpenter
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Backpacking
First to Review

I've hiked this route about 3-4 times and love it! My favorite spot to camp is at the biggest Cottonwood lake. Beautiful! Fairly easy getting into the Cottonwood Lakes basin. The trail is nice and very easy to follow. From the lakes to the top of Langley can be a challenge. Definitely prefer Old Army pass as is detailed on this map as the trail tops out in the bottom of the pass. But I've had to go around by Long lake a couple of times due to snow conditions on Old Army pass. Going that way means you have to go up and over and down from a ridge, which means on your way back down from the peak, you have a substantial uphill once again. But when the Old Army pass trail is snowed over, it's better than nothing. The last bit to the top of Langley is a scramble through the scree and route finding through the boulders. Coming down the scree field is fun, though. Some of my best backpacking memories are from this trail.

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Abraham Montes
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Kirsten Bersch
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Len Futaba
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Steve Davis
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cristina acosta
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Jake A
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