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Round Top & Winnemucca Lake, Carson Pass

Pristine alpine lakes, picturesque creeks, abandoned mines and glorious summer wildflower displays.
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Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Moderate
Length: 6.5 miles
Duration: Full day
Family Friendly

Overview:  Certainly one of the best hikes in the Lake Tahoe area, the trails to Round Top and Winnemucca Lake promise pristine alpine meadows... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Woods Lake Campground & Trailhead

From the parking lot next to Woods Lake Campground of the CA-88 we take a counter-clockwise route along the hike beginning with the Pack Trail.

Find the trailhead across the bridge, just to the right of the parking lot and proceed along the trail which runs initially parallel to the road.

2. Lost Cabin Mine

Rusted metal sharply contrast with the pine trees as you arrive at the abandoned Lost Cabin Mine. Corrugated sheet metal cover up mine entrances, and keep an eye open for scattered, rusted old mining equipment.

3. [JCT] Round Top Lake

The trail meanders through alpine forest, before entering into open countryside heading in the direction of Round Top Lake.

The lake is a popular spot for backpackers camping overnight, at is affords not just a night in the wilderness, but also more time to enjoy the alternative trails, like the 4 mile round trip to the Fourth of July lake on... More

4. Round Top (10,381ft)

From Round Top Lake the trail becomes increasingly barren as the altitude increases, and the trail heads directly upward towards the summit.

Steep but smooth up to the saddle, the terrain moves over jagged rock and becomes harder to locate. Yet with the summit of the mountain in your sights your scramble up the remaining few hundred feet of... More

5. [JCT] Winnemucca Lake

Winnemucca is the largest lake on our travels and certainly one of the most picturesque on the route. Be sure to find some time to stroll along the banks before heading back towards the trailhead in a Northerly direction.

Note that the trail heading North East from this POI leads to the alternative Carson Pass trailhead, and does not return to... More

6. Return trip

Be sure to cast a glance over your shoulder and enjoy the receding views Round Top as you head back towards Woods Lake and the trailhead.

7. [ALT] 2 mile out and back via Carson Pass Trail

Carson Pass Trail offers an alternative route between Winnemucca Lake and Carson Pass. A sno-park permit is required at the Carson Pass alternate trailhead between Nov 1 and May 30 (see our link to sno-park permit vendors).

8. [ALT] Sisters Peak (10,183ft)

Sisters Peak is accessible directly from the ridgeline below the final climb to Round Top, perfect for the determined peak-bagger who want to add another mountain summit to their list.

9. [ALT] Fourth of July Lake

Great as a side-trip for backpackers who have more time to explore the area. Take the 4 mile round trip from Round Top Lake to the Fourth of July Lake on the Southern flanks of Round Top.