Fourth of July Lake Loop

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Mokelumne Wilderness

Fourth of July Lake Loop is a 15.9 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Kirkwood, California that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, running, and backpacking and is best used from July until November.

Distance: 15.9 miles Elevation Gain: 3,293 feet Route Type: Loop

backpacking

hiking

running

forest

lake

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

blowdown

bugs

over grown

snow

windblown layer on the North face.

hiking
8 months ago

This was an epic two day hike but if you camp for a night do it at Fourth of July lake.

hiking
over grown
snow
9 months ago

Did the loop counter clockwise August 1-3, 2019. From Carson pass to 4th of July lake is well maintained, and highly trafficked. There are a couple snow drifts across the trail still melting but they don’t obscure the trail or add much difficulty though they can be slippery. We noticed most people hiking to the lake hiked out the same direction and didn’t continue the loop. We found out why. After 4th of July lake the trail changes dramatically. Down to summit city remains fairly well maintained but much less trafficked and pretty exposed. Through the summit city drainage there are a half dozen downed trees of varying sizes across the trail. Just a couple are large enough to make finding the trail a little less than obvious. The climb out of summit city to the PCT is very exposed and very overgrown with thick brush. You’ll want pants because you’ll be wading through thorny brush patches for over a mile. Tons of bugs too, but they were more interesting than annoying. Once on the PCT things feel better until the climb back up to Carson pass. Rocky, exposed, steep, and the real kicker 2 snow drifts across a very steep portion of trail that have been melting and re freezing and are very slippery and icy. Consider going off trail around these sections. Hindsight I feel like I should have. A slip on this portion of the trail could send you sliding 100 feet or more down a steep embankment into boulders and shale. Probably not deadly but easily could result In Serious injuries. Personally I liked the challenges the latter part of the trail posed but I felt a little bad dragging my less experienced hiking partner over the second half.

hiking
10 months ago

I completed the loop clockwise, but elected to take the Evergreen trail instead of the Summit City Canyon Trail. I wasn't sure what I would find on the Evergeen Trail as I could not find any write-ups about it on All Trails, but I was pleasantly surprised to find it fairly well maintained and a very easy to follow, pleasant hike through a giant evergreen forest (it is a very aptly named trail!) I didn't see a single soul on this trail, so I had the trees and wildflowers all to myself. Toward the end of the trail, it did become more overgrown with a few downed trees, but it was never hard to follow. The climb up to and out of Fourth of July lake was grueling, but worth it, especially with the sweeping views of the surrounding mountains and the hundred of wildflowers that grew along the trail. Started to see a few more hikers at and after Fourth of July lake, then a TON of people at Lake Winnemucca. I was glad I did the hike clockwise and enjoyed the majority of the PCT and Evergreen trail drinking in the solace of solitude in nature.

hiking
Sat Nov 17 2018

Hiked in June 2018. Did this loop counter clockwise. Round Top and Fourth of July Lake were awesome, but after leaving Fourth of July Lake the trail became extremely overgrown. Lots of bush waking and scratched legs. Some parts were so overgrown that you could barley see the trail. I would do Round Top again and maybe do an overnight backpacking trip to the lake, but I would not continue on after the lake. Ever. I was wearing long pants and still got scratched up. Ended up with 17.5 miles.

backpacking
Fri Aug 10 2018

07/27 wild flowers were

backpacking
Tue Jul 31 2018

Wildflowers were out of control! Gorgeous hike, started counter clockwise, 4th of July Lake first night. Trail overgrown through Summit City. We added on a few miles to camp second night at Lost Lakes. Stunning granite and more wildflowers as we hiked the 6 miles back to ranger station 3rd day. Don’t forget to get a free camping/fire permit at the ranger station.

hiking
Sat Jul 28 2018

Since we added round top summit, it ended up 17.5 mile hike and 4300ft elevation gain. We started around 8:45am and went counter-clockwise, summit round top about 11 and got to 4th of July lake 1pm and had a lunch break. After the lunch break, the sun was intense and after we went the way down to the valley, coming back up was hard. I got some heat cramps on my legs and had to stop. Some electrolytes capsules saved me. My cramps went away immediately after. Last few miles of uphill on PCT felt like it lasted forever. But I completed and very proud of myself. The views were stunning - top of round top, wildflowers on the trail, 4th of july lake and the valley behind round top. I would definitely do this again but I would like to do it as an overnight backpacking instead of a day hiking next time.

hiking
Thu Jul 12 2018

Beautiful views and great hike - only slog is the Summit City Trail portion, as it's overgrown and easy to get off track. Overall, well worth it! No snow as of 7/1/18 except a few patches on the PCT next to Elephant's Back that are easy to cross. Did this loop CC a few years back, camping at 4th of July the first night, but I found this makes Day 1 a little too short and Day 2 pretty long. Recommend doing it clockwise (as I did last week) and staying at 4th of July lake - then on day 2 the climb out of 4th up to Round Top Lake is nice and cool before the sun breaks over the hill :) You can also climb Round Top itself as a side hike, making Day 2 about 7-8 miles back to Carson Pass Station from 4th of July lake.

hiking
Mon Jul 02 2018

16 grueling but rewarding miles and some gnarly elevation gain but what a beautiful way to spend a Saturday. We started at Carson pass ranger station.The trail is easy just passed Winnemucca. Beyond that you will find more solitude as the trail is quite steep down to Fourth of July Lake and the day hikers dwindled to maybe three or four. Personally I find this to be the most beautiful part of the hike. After Fourth of July lake and Into Summit city Canyon Trail we didn’t see another soul until we got back on the PCT. the trail marker for Summit City from 4th of July is turned wrong and points you the wrong way. It is not a hard right as the marker shows but more to the left. Thanks to the trail workers the trail was free and clear all the way down 4th of July lake. Summit city trail was still quite overgrown but with a little perseverance (and dedicated bushwhacking), it was passable. No Snow except for two wide patches that we had no problem getting over in regular hiking shoes. Wildflowers are getting their game on and so are the mosquitoes. Make sure to bring your bug repellent! I would say 50/50 shade to sun so bring your sun hat if you do the full 16.

hiking
Sun Oct 29 2017

I have not seen many do this loop and was surprised how well the trail was managed. Through the trees on the SE side of the tail it does thin out as the trees drop a lot of needles and sticks. All the markers where in place but Id suggest a GPS. We did this trail CC wise due to the added 1 mile down hill from Fourth of July Lake. We camped at the intersection of the PCT and Summit City Canyon Trail which was about 10 miles on day 1. There was still snow on the back side of Elephants Back that we had to hike around due to being Icy and steep. Over all GREAT views and huge canyons on the back side.

hiking
Fri Jul 22 2016

Did this hike counterclockwise in a day. It was pretty strenuous but some jaw dropping views and wildflowers in July. Southern part of the loop was very overgrown and took some orienteering to get out and onto trail again.

hiking
8 months ago

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8 months ago

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9 months ago

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9 months ago

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9 months ago

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9 months ago

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hiking
Sat Jun 30 2018

hiking
Sat Jun 30 2018