A fall excursion to Winnemucca Lake
Carson Pass – Alpine County California is 15 miles south of Minden Nevada and South Lake Tahoe, and is one of my favorite places in the Sierra Mountain range. From the abundance of mountain lakes and trails the variety of landscapes that grace the eyeball as I drive through for my next adventure.
Fall is especially beautiful in Alpine county as Hope Valley transcends into a showcase of vivid fall colors. Driving through and seeing the cars lined along the road, I wonder what it must be like to be a fisherman that call this place home. To enjoy your favorite stream and have this beauty of the fall colors come alive around you.
Today my son and I head towards Kirkwood ski Resort for an afternoon hike into Winnemucca lake. One of the most beautiful lakes I have found in the Sierras, Winnemucca lake is only accessible by foot and the hike can be accessed from two locations.
PCT Access – Carson Pass
The PCt crosses Hwy 88 at Carson Pass. Access to Winnemucca Lake from here allows you to hike in past Frog lake. this route is approx 5 miles round trip and provides parking along the hwy way, bathrooms at trailhead and less elevation change as you hike out and back in a very enjoyable and scenic hike.
The alternative route is at Wood lake campground below Carson Pass and hike up to Winnemucca lake. This route is my preferred route, as you hike along the stream the connects Winnemucca lake and Wood Lake. This route is also approx. 5 miles round trip but does have much more elevation change. However the wildflowers, forest cover on the early sections of the trial are fantastic.
To get to The Winnemucca Hiking trails from the north, Travel out of Minden Nevada on Hwy 88 for about 35 miles. Just as you climb out of the valley from Red Lake you will see the trail head off to the left. If coming in from South Tahoe, take Hwy 89 to Hwy 88 and head towards Kirkwood Ski resort. It is roughly the same distance once you turn on Hwy 89. If you are coming from the Lodi/Jackson region, head over hwy 88, pass by Silver lake and Caples lake, Wood lake turn off is just after Caples lake, and the trail head is at the top of the mountain, typically can’t miss, lots of cars parked there.
Round Top Lake trail loop
One of the feature hike sin the region is the Round Top to Winnemucca to Woods loop hike. Again parking at trail parking near Woods Lake, we suggest taking the Round Top Lake trail to the West of Woods lake , climbing to Round Top Lake then down to Winnemucca lake and then down to woods lake. This route is also just over 5 miles total and is a beautiful all season hike with historic mining activity sites along the route.
If you are a wildflower lover, reminder that this hike in the spring is a completely different hike and the wild flowers bloom all over the mountain side and depending on the snow season you often get a mix of wild flowers and snow pack views that make this hike just spectacular.