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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 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

bird watching

running

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

snow

fee

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.

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

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.

hiking
5 days ago

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.

hiking
snow
8 days ago

hiking
snow
8 days ago

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.

hiking
9 days ago

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.

hiking
icy
snow
24 days ago

Great trail - loved the hike and the scenic view. Snow along the way, but overall would do it again.

hiking
snow
2 months ago

hiking
snow
3 months ago

Snowshoe trek to Winnemucca for an excellent winter camping experience with my daughter March 20-22! Took the trail from the Carson Pass Sno-Park to Frog Lake, straddled the western base of Elephants Back, and set up camp just above the eastern shore of the lake. Lots of powder and beautiful scenery from a storm earlier that week! Watching the clouds skim across the peak of Round Top and enjoying the silence you can only find in winter was truly amazing. Watched large snowflakes fall for 20 minutes in a big blue sunny sky from a single cloud near The Sisters. My daughter was particularly fond of watching people climb various portions of Round Top and bomb down on snowboards and skis!

hiking
3 months ago

Trail is covered in snow but is well packed. I completed the trail in just regular hiking boots. I’d still rely on this app to follow the trail due to many shoe prints going off in different directions. It can be a bit confusing. Will add recent pictures

hiking
7 months ago

Loved this hike. Able to swim in small lakes during summer time. Lot of great views.

This trail is probably more on the easy side of moderate or just easy, depending on your comfort level. Super pretty. You definitely won’t be alone on this trail, but there weren’t crowds on a weekday morning.

hiking
9 months ago

Beautiful wildflowers... views... easy hike.... beautiful day!!

hiking
9 months ago

I really really enjoyed this hike ! So beautiful and very different then anything I’ve done in the area before. Frog lakeis so adorable with a GREAT view. Push on a little further to get to Winniemucca lake which is also a very beautiful sight with the jagged peak in the back round. The trail is nice and easy to follow and I would rate this as easy to moderate depending on your skill level. I haven’t been out much as of recently so the beginning climb up to frog lake was moderate to me but by no means hard. This is a great gem I will definitely be going again.

hiking
9 months ago

Great short hike. The high sierras are something else.

hiking
10 months ago

Beautiful wildflowers and a good hike for almost any ability level. Was crowded on a holiday weekend. It was perfect to hike in to the lake, picnic there and then hike back out. There were also many dogs!

hiking
10 months ago

This is a fabulous hike. Everything you want..but it is crowded. Dogs should be on leash..better for all. If you go on a weekend, you will probably encounter a couple of hundred people...but well worth it. Doable for most everyone.

hiking
10 months ago

Fantastic, beautiful hike! The wildflowers were brilliant. The lake was clear and cold. We picnicked on a large rock and had a nice rest up for the walk back. Put our feet in the water to cool off. It’s an easy hike but the altitude got to me a little bit.

10 months ago

8 30 2019 superb hike, snow gone, late season wildflowers galore!! we exited via Woods Lake, great hike. Dual car. read up 1st on Carson-Fremont 1844 Feb. pass crossing!! Amazing story.

hiking
10 months ago

flowers around spring in trail approx 2 miles are peaking. others are still there but fading.

backpacking
10 months ago

What a fantastic trip! We hiked in Sunday night and stayed until Tuesday (last week of August) and what a treat! The hike in was perfect for our (combined) 5 kids two that are 8 & 7. They handled the hike uphill (not much of one) like a boss. The flowers were STUNNING! So much beauty and still snow. We hiked around to the south side of the lake to the waterfall and wow just added to the experience. We only did this with the older kids I would not recommend this for smaller ones. I think this is my new favourite family backpacking trip. Oh it has 3-designated campsites which are first come first serve, you can check out permits at the Carson pass ranger station. And NO bugs super bonus! Hope that helps.

hiking
10 months ago

great. no mosquitoes. beautiful wildflowers. temperature perfect in the morning. a little warm in the afternoon. limited shade. dont miss frog lake on the way.

hiking
10 months ago

Wonderful hike.

hiking
10 months ago

Beautiful trail; easy walk with a bit of small incline. Best time to go is around late July to aug to see the wildflowers bloom. Hardly any mosquito that I’ve seen. Trail is not much shaded but it’s not super hot.

hiking
10 months ago

Incredible wildflowers! The view from Winnemucca lake is amazing! Look for “watermelon snow” across the lake.

Fantastic scenery and the BEST week for wildflowers EVER!!! I lived in Colorado and have done some 14er hikes. I have never seen this brilliant of a wildflower display ever!! Cool at 8 am but warmed up when the sun finally came out! Still snow on the mountains above Lake Winnemucca.

hiking
bugs
10 months ago

Went on 8/4/19. No snow on the trail—only adjacent to the trail. Wildflowers are in bloom, but probably not peak yet. Mostly lupine, mule ears, and paintbrush at this stage; others will likely bloom in the next week or two. Always a nice hike in late summer!

hiking
10 months ago

A beautiful way to spend an afternoon. Great hike and gorgeous wildflowers.

The trail up to Winnemucca Lake is easy/moderate (due to altitude). We decided to keep on going, up to Round Top Lake. That stretch of trail is quite a bit steeper, moderate+. We arrived at Carson Pass a little after 10 on a Sunday morning. Main lot was full, and overflow lot was almost full. Trail is well maintained and a bit crowded up to Winnemucca Lake. Gorgeous wildflowers right now, and still some snow on the ground.

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