Lake Winnemucca from Carson Pass via Pacific Crest Trail

MODERATE 39 reviews
#15 of 68 trails in

Lake Winnemucca from Carson Pass via Pacific Crest Trail is a 5.2 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Markleeville, 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.

5.2 miles
616 feet
Out & Back

dog friendly

kid friendly




cross country skiing


horseback riding


trail running




wild flowers


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.

20 days ago

Plenty of snow and the trail is well blazed. Missed the Frog lake detour though. Packed enough to walk with microspikes most of the way but there were a couple of stretches I wished I had snowshoes.

3 months ago

Amazing views. Well manicured trail. Take the Frog Lake detour for a great Vista of Red Lake then circle back to the trail to continue on to Lake Winnemucca.

There's a parking lot with a cash box. Bring $5 with you. Bathrooms also located at the parking lot.

4 months ago

The wildflowers were exceptional this year!

4 months ago

4 months ago

Good quite, hike during the week. Disappointed I missed the wild flowers but still beautiful.

4 months ago

The wild flowers are amazing
Best to hike around the first two weeks of august

4 months ago

Took our baby and our snowboards and did some snowboarding in August!!! Easy enough to make with a heavy front and backpack!!!

5 months ago

Well maintained trail and beautiful views. Much easier than "moderate" once you've become acclimated to the elevation. Wildflowers were in full bloom with patches of snow still around. Highly recommend!

5 months ago

Way too crowded for my likings. Dogs need to be on a leash throughout but I let mine off at intervals and at the lakes to swim.

5 months ago

Very nice trail! Hiked up and around frog lake and took a dip in the cool water. Greenery and wildflowers abound. Saw a buck and several birds. Would probably rate it easy instead of moderate. Will definitely do again!

5 months ago

greAt hike with some snow patches to walk across and some wildflowers.

7 months ago

This was my Grandma's favorite wildflower hike... Elephant Back. I'm so glad to have shared it with her. ♡

Monday, September 12, 2016

fun hike. the pct section is a bit harder than the winnemuca section. camped up at winnemuca and it was gorgeous lake to ourselves. tried for round top but didn't have it in us. we packed way too much but had a blast anyways

Saturday, September 03, 2016

well maintained trail. fantastic views. will definitely go back. Probably in the off season so it's not so crowded

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Even though the wild flowers are mostly gone,the views are still wonderful. Feeling the breeze while resting at Lake Winnemucca and gazing up at Round Top was today's reward.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

We come back every year to see the wildflowers. We were a bit late this year but their were still some blooming and the views we spectacular. Stopped at Frog Lake and then onwards to enjoy lunch at Winnemucca Lake. Good up and down hiking.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

A terrific trail. The lake is a lovely place to have a picnic.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Excellent hike with a steady climb up to the lake. Visit Frog Lake en route and walk to the end to see a view down Carson Pass with Red Lake below.

We are inexperienced and unfit (!) and struggled with the altitude - but went up in 90 minutes (including the Frog Lake detour) and back in 50.

The Lake was a beautiful quiet place when we were there and we found a great spot to read and eat.

18 days ago

21 days ago

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