Fourth of July Lake Loop

HARD 8 reviews
#7 of 11 trails in

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, trail running, and backpacking and is best used from July until November.

15.9 miles
3,293 feet



trail running






wild flowers




over grown


8 days ago

07/27 wild flowers were

18 days ago

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.

21 days ago

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.

1 month ago

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.

1 month ago

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.

9 months ago

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.

1 month ago