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Lake Winnemucca from Carson Pass via Pacific Crest Trail

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Mokelumne Wilderness

Lake Winnemucca from Carson Pass via Pacific Crest Trail is a 5.1 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Kirkwood, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until October. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.

Length 5.1 mi Elevation gain 629 ft Route type Out & Back

Dog friendly

Kid friendly

Backpacking

Camping

Cross country skiing

Hiking

Horseback riding

Snowshoeing

Bird watching

Running

Forest

Views

Wild flowers

Wildlife

Snow

Fee

Description
Waypoints (7)
Contact
Tips

Excellent moderate hike at Sierra crest southwest of Lake Tahoe Only the fiercest blizzards close Carson Pass, which crosses the Sierra Nevada crest about 30 miles southwest of South Lake Tahoe. The trailhead is next to a parking lot on California Highway 88, which means you can drive up, park and start hiking, snow-shoeing or cross-country skiing within minutes. Lake Winnmucca offers a beautiful introduction to high-country hiking: it's a little over 2 miles south of the Carson Pass trailhead with about 600 feet of elevation gain. Count on about five miles of hiking, and give yourself extra time if you're coming up from sea level: Starting out at 8,500 feet will be a shock to your system; don't expect to maintain your lowland pace. Veteran hikers and skiers often move on to Round Top, a jagged peak rising behind the lake, but rookies should stick to this easier alternative. Weekdays with clear weather forecasts are the best time to go; it can get crowded on the weekends and parking can be scarce, even in the depths of winter. In early July you're apt to meet Pacific Crest Trail through-hikers on their way from Mexico to Canada. Summer: $5 summer day use fee to park at Carson Pass. Pay via green iron ranger near the trail head. Winter: Nov. 1 to May 30: Sno-Park permit ($5) must be acquired at a U.S. Forest Service ranger station. Wilderness permits required for overnight stays in the backcountry -- also available at Forest Service sites.

El Dorado National Forest permits http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/eldorado/passes/ History of Carson Pass http://www.longcamp.com/carson_pass.html Pacific Crest Trail Association: http://www.pcta.org/ PCT GPS and Google Earth files: http://www.mikeonthetrail.info/pmwiki/pmwiki.php?n=Hiking.PCTDataFiles California Department of Transportation highway conditions page: http://www.dot.ca.gov/cgi-bin/roads.cgi California Avalanche and Weather alerts http://www.avalanche-center.org/Bulletins/Calif/ Avalanche Safety Basics: http://www.avalanche.org/~uafc/basics.html

Seasonal: Summer Always check the weather forecast before you go; weather is generally mild from July through mid-September, but afternoon thunderstorms are common. Winter Going during snow season requires even more preparation, as blizzards can dump a foot of new snow in a few hours. Take a GPS receiver if you have one, and to be certain you know how to use its trackback feature (bring extra batteries, too). If you're skiing or snowshoeing, identify the trail markers on the trees; they'll help you navigate if enough snow falls to obscure your tracks. When you pick up your sno-park permit, ask the rangers about avalanche risks at Carson Pass. What to bring: Sunscreen Map Poncho or rain jacket Clothing to match the weather -- wear layers, as you'll heat up quickly on the way in, but you'll be cool on the downhill return hike. 10 essentials for hiking/snowshoeing/cross-country skiing Tire chains during snow season.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (331)
Photos (689)
Recordings (250)
Completed (660)
Jerry Hepler
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Hiking

Well traveled And well maintained trail easy to access for all ages. Don’t miss the photo opportunity in the bent tree along trail. Beautiful forest and meadows, vast views of Caples lake. Lake winnemucca is a little more difficult to navigate around than some of the other lakes in this area. Fishing-had a few bites using a jig, but wasn’t able to land any trout.

View Jerry's Recording
Margie Cronin
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 9, 2020
Hiking

Great trail with plenty of wildflowers higher up on the trail as of 8/7. Most of the elevation change is in the first mile or so. A great mix of forested area with beautiful meadows and several breathtaking views of Caples lake along the way! Around 3pm a thunderstorm rolled in and the sound of the thunder cracking was like none I’ve ever heard before. It was awesome! We headed back and only caught rain in the last 20 minutes or so, with full on hail by the time we reached the parking lot. Lots of hopping from tree to tree to take cover from the hail in the last 5 minutes. It made for quite the adventure!

Derek Page
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HikingGreat!
View Derek's Recording
Hayden Coker
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HikingFeeGreat!Rocky
Rochelle May
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Hiking

We really loved this trail. Brought our dog along. Arrived at the trailhead at 7:15 am and glad we did. Quiet on the way up but quite busy on the way back with lots of respectful social distancing and masks. Elevation was spot on but we clocked 7.7 miles out and back. Lakes were beautiful and wildflowers still in bloom. Bugs were not a problem at that time of day. Mostly gravel trail with some large rocks on the inclines. Trekking poles would be valuable.

View Rochelle's Recording
Kerry Daley
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Heaven! The wildflowers are not to be outdone! A quick dip in the lake at the end is a must.

Ryan Endean
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Hiking

Fantastic trail! We got to the trailhead around 9:30am and it was already nearly full but the trail was not that busy going up. Everyone we encountered respected physical distancing and most had masks. Trail was wide enough to account for passing people without much effort. The wildflowers along the way were really beautiful and Lake Winnemucca was stunning. Crystal clear water with snow still on the side of Round Top mountain. Out and back with a quick trip around Frog Lake was about 5.5 miles. A lot more people coming up the trail as we headed back to the trailhead around noon. Would highly recommend going early, even on weekdays.

Jen Carlton
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HikingFeeGreat!
View Jen's Recording
Scott Weiby
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HikingFee
View Scott's Recording
Sonja Saldivar
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beautiful

Martin Forrester
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Hiking

Great day plenty of wildflowers and clear skies.

View Martin's Recording
Phillip Venice
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HikingGreat!
View Phillip's Recording
Jessika Fox
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HikingFee

Lovely trail and easy to follow; gorgeous vistas looking over caples lake as well.

View Jessika's Recording
Sheila Allen
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Hiking

Loved this trail. So many great views! Wonderful wildflowers. Enjoyed it so much we kept going up to Round Lake.

Nick Lawrence
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Hiking

Spectacular hike at Carson’s Pass. Mid July saw hot days but wildflowers were abundant. Mild elevation gain and not long to get to the lake makes this awesome for all skill levels. Been on many hikes in the Tahoe area and would rate this very high on the list. Dog whole heartedly approved the

View Nick's Recording
Cathy Kennedy
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HikingNo shadeRocky

first 1/3 is shaded. but once you hit Frog lake it's all open sun and exposed. yesterday was pretty hot..... lots of people on the trail. probably saw about 100. saw some bald eagles flying. also lots of dogs in the trail. worth the trek to Round Top lake for the pretty views. only 2 lots for parking and they were handing out citations as we were leaving for people who made their own parking spots. saw quite a few flowers.

Jeff Evans
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HikingBugsRockyScramble

Fairly level hike out to the serene mountain lake.

View Jeff's Recording
Andre's antunez
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 4, 2020
Hiking

the leavation w a set as killer but it hits u. again at your own pace its not a race there are 3 lakes. one close to the beginning it looks like a shark fin rock. the 2nd one is the turn to the left and you'll see snow on the right side of the lake. the final lake is Beautiful its is a sight pictures a must. and you'll see snow close to the trail before the final lake

View Andre's 's Recording
Roberta Givens
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HikingFee

Super beautiful trail and not a super steep incline. It gradually goes app in the beginning and then kind of levels off. We had our dog with us and he absolutely loved the trail. Normally there is some kind of parking fee but because of Corona everything is closed. so there was no fee. There's an opportunity to swim or relax by 3 different lakes along the way. There is also potential for hiking up further and getting an amazing view of Tahoe. light snow still present but beautiful weather for light clothing in July

View Roberta's Recording
Jessica Lemos
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Hiking

Great day for this hike. The trail is open and for the most part dry. A couple spots are muddy because of the melting snow. There was a decent amount of people on the trail, but everyone maintained a distance with each other.

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Joann Allister
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Hiking

Beautiful day. Was a bit breezy but that’s okay. Keeps you cool. Stopped at Frog Lake on the way in before hiking to Winnemucca. Lots of courteous hikers along the way, many with dogs. No snow on the trail and the wildflowers aren’t yet spectacular. Some phlox and beginnings of paintbrush. Can’t wait to see it next month.

Mala Lama
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 24, 2020
HikingSnow
Vitaliy Pilipovich
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 23, 2020
HikingSnow

Amazing trail, filled with awesome views and fun for all levels of activity. Great for a day trip or someone who wants to stay a few days as well. The lake itself is breathtaking and is a perfect spot for relaxing. We hiked this trail on Father’s Day weekend so it was a bit packed but everyone was nice and respectful. There were a handful of snow crossings but nothing major or deep.

Kathy Durrett
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 23, 2020
Hiking

Great hike with amazing views. To early for the wild flowers yet in the meadow. Some starting to come up along the beginning of the trail. Passed many other hikers on the trail. Check the weather this time of year. We got caught in a thunder and lightening storm, with hail yesterday. (6-23-20) Still had a great day hiking. Only one small patch of snow that was easy to walk over with no issues.

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