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Lake Winnemucca from Carson Pass via Pacific Crest Trail

MODERATE 92 reviews
#2 of 13 trails in

Lake Winnemucca from Carson Pass via Pacific Crest Trail is a 5.1 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.

DISTANCE
5.1 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
629 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dog friendly

kid friendly

backpacking

camping

cross country skiing

hiking

horseback riding

snowshoeing

trail running

walking

bird watching

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

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.

snowshoeing
off trail
7 days ago

Great snowshoe to Winnemucca Lake and then up to Elephants Back. Made a snowman and a snow bear near the lake.

best one out there

26 days ago

nice place to snow shoe

hiking
1 month ago

This is a Big Bang for tour effort! It is a great day hike, it is well marked, and the views are stunning. I like to hike to frog lake, have lunch there, and then go over to lake Winnemucca. Such a wonderful day.

snowshoeing
2 months ago

Another gorgeous day of snowshoeing at Carson Pass. The trail was highly trafficked today with many cross country skiers and other snowshoers out enjoying the day. Snow on the trail was well packed, and I was able to use microspikes all the way to Lake Winnemucca where we turned around. It was windier at the lake, as it always is, so bring layers!

snowshoeing
2 months ago

Absolutely beautiful trail for snowshoeing and other winter activities. We saw a handful of other people on the trail, but nothing even close to how busy this hike is in the warmer months. The trail was easy to follow and well packed enough that I could use microspikes rather than full on snowshoes. You will need a Sno Park permit to park in the lot, but well worth it!

5 months ago

One of my favorite hikes this season. We logged 8 miles.

hiking
5 months ago

Awesome

hiking
5 months ago

Beautiful high mountain terrain, pretty easy going. Looping round via the Woods Lake Rec Area results in having to climb 2 miles back up the 89; not recommended.

6 months ago

super pretty shorter one

6 months ago

Easy route to amazing lake with increíble backdrop. Great for all abilities and kids. Heavily trafficked though.

hiking
7 months ago

Great trail to hike with your dog

hiking
7 months ago

Great hike! The wildflowers are amazing this time of year. The trail is very crowded which can make it hard to enjoy the area where the majority of wildflowers are. Once you get to the lakes though its easy to find a spot to be alone. Both parking lots were full by 10am. Amazing hike for dogs! My guy loved all the water to drink and play in. Saw a million other labradoodles out that day.

7 months ago

Very moderate. Great for kids and dogs. Very crowded however.

8 months ago

This is one of the prettiest summer hikes in the area! The wild flowers were amazing! It was moderate but still felt longer than I anticipated. Lots of traffic on this trail.

hiking
8 months ago

I've done this hike many times and never tire of it. I did it with my sons yesterday. We started at 10:50 am., and by that time the main parking lot was full, so I recommend getting there early if you can.

The wildflower display is fantastic right now. It probably will be great through the end of July and will start to fade after that. I've done this hike many times from June through October; it's always a good hike but it's extra special when you go during peak wildflower season.

Winnemucca Lake is a nice lunch spot because it's a beautiful lake with a spectacular mountain background. If you are up for more of a hike, going the extra mile to Round Top Lake is worth it. We pushed on to Round Top Peak, which affords great views all around, but it's a great hike even if you skip the mountain peak.

8 months ago

Just got back from a great hike to Winnemucca. The wildflowers are out of control, between the flowers, the views, the lake, it was absolutely beautiful! We got there around 7:45 and found parking easily, took about an hour to get to the lake, hung out for a while and it was practically desolate, just a few people around the lake fishing. When we hiked back we encountered lots of folks, so I highly recommend getting an early start if you don’t want too much “traffic”. Loved this hike!

hiking
8 months ago

Wildflowers are beautiful right now. I just posted the video I took from my hike if you are interested in seeing trail conditions. https://youtu.be/nfQ-1Xb2GzI

Oh...I recommend starting your hike EARLY! There were hordes of people heading up on my way back. The trail was packed!

8 months ago

One of my favorite hikes for variety, wildflowers and vista. Moderate difficulty and a gorgeous lake at the end.

hiking
8 months ago

Breathtaking. Words can't describe just how beautiful it is. The vistas and the wildflowers were absolutely spectacular. I went on July 4th and there was a fair amount of trail traffic out to the lake. I decided to go on up to Round Top and made a loop of it, coming down Pack Trail to the Woods Lake campgrounds, and then took the access road back to Rte 88 and the trail head. Hike ended up being about 10 miles and after Round Top, there was much less trail traffic. The dogs and I both loved it, and there were pretty much non-stop photo opportunities. I get it why people can get so addicted to the high country!

8 months ago

Spectacular hike. Among my favorites in the area. We added Round Top Lake and a walk around Frog Lake. Trail is currently clear of snow. Plenty of wildflowers. Just beautiful.

hiking
8 months ago

Awesome hike. View is breathtaking, depending on the time there is most likely snow on the trail and multiple lakes.

11 months ago

Enjoyed a great snowshoe hike to Lake Winnemucca today. Trail well packed and lake covered in snow, it was beautiful!

11 months ago

Great snowshoe to Winnemucca today.

snowshoeing
11 months ago

Important Note—You need to purchase a Sno-Park pass AT A STORE if you are hiking this trail in the winter. There is no option to purchase the $5 pass at the trailhead in the winter!

Also, when you reach a trail junction with an option to head to Woods Lake go this way!

We definitely needed our snowshoes today!

hiking
Thursday, December 28, 2017

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.

hiking
Monday, October 16, 2017

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.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The wildflowers were exceptional this year!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

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

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