Winnemucca Lake Hike: A Beautiful Wildflower Hike Near Lake Tahoe
Updated: Jul 10, 2022
At 5.1 miles out and back, the hike to Winnemucca Lake is relatively short and easy. Even though this hike is short, the scenery is nothing short of jaw-dropping. And, if you're looking for a summer wildflower hike near South Lake Tahoe, this is a great one.
I did this hike in early July. It was a beautiful time to go as the mountains still had a little snow on them, and there were plenty of wildflowers dotting the trail and the lake. The trailhead to the Winnemucca Lake hike is at Carson Pass in El Dorado National Forest near Kirkwood, California.
Here's a little guide on hiking to Winnemucca Lake in the summer.
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WINNEMUCCA LAKE HIKE STATS
Distance: 5.1 miles out and back.
Elevation Gain: 600 feet.
Location: Mokelumne Wilderness.
Trailhead: Carson Pass Sno Park.
Length of Time: 3.5 hours (roughly), including stopping and taking pictures.
When to Go: June and July for wildflowers.
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate.
Fee: $5 Day Pass.
WHAT TO PACK
Sunscreen (parts of this hike are very exposed).
A hat for added protection.
Snacks and plenty of water.
Camera and tripod.
Comfortable hiking shoes.
GETTING TO THE TRAILHEAD
You can pick up the trail to Winnemucca Lake from the Visitors Center at Carson Pass Sno-Park in Kirkwood, California (about an hour's drive from South Lake Tahoe). If the parking lot is full, there is another parking area just up the street. There is a $5 day-use fee, so don't forget to bring cash! There are pay stations and bathrooms in both parking lots.
The trail to Winnemucca Lake is well marked and easy to follow (at least in the summer when snow isn't covering the trail). There are slight inclines on sections, but nothing too strenuous. The trail starts out forested and then opens to a grassy field with sweeping views of the mountains. You can also see Caples Lake in the distance.
During the summer months (depending on the year), there are wildflowers lining the trail. Also, you can take a very short detour to Frog Lake. I skipped Frog Lake and headed straight for Winnemucca Lake.
REACHING THE LAKE
One of the best things about Winnemucca Lake is the up-close view of Round Top Mountain. The massive snow-capped mountain and the colorful wildflowers make for an incredible scene. Winnemucca Lake certainly isn't short on vantage points for photos. I recommend taking your time and exploring the views from several sides of the lake. By the way, I did not swim in Winnemucca Lake, but I imagine it's freezing!
You can end the hike at Winnemucca Lake or continue along the trail to Round Top Lake and Fourth of July Lake. I chose to call it a day at Winnemucca Lake after taking in the views, snapping a few pictures, and eating lunch.
CHECK OUT THE VIDEO OF MY HIKE TO WINNEMUCCA LAKE HERE:
I hope you enjoyed my Winnemucca Lake Hiking Guide! Let me know what some of your favorite wildflower hikes around Lake Tahoe are in the comments!
Please enjoy the outdoors responsibly.
Always practice the Seven Principles of Leave No Trace.
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