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Stories from the valley

Hiking Meiss Meadow

Contributed by Carl Gwyn

Now is the time for a hike through the beautiful and historic Meiss Meadow on Carson Pass. Walking through the meadow is like a relaxation video come to life. It’s brilliantly green with the sound of water running through the many creeks that cross it. Add the special effect of butterflies flying up around you as you walk the trail along with snow patches on the surrounding cliffs, and you have the recipe for a wonderful hike. 

Meiss (pronounced “mice”) Meadow is located close to the summit of Highway 88 at Carson Pass. Although most people park at the upper parking lot next to Carson Pass Station and head out to Lake Winnemucca, there’s another great destination nearby. The Meiss trailhead is located about a quarter mile west of the station with its own dedicated parking lot. 

Heading out on the trail, you will climb for about 1.5 miles until you come to the Meiss Saddle. There is a small pond with ducks along with a beautiful view of Roundtop and the Sisters. You can even see all the way to Lake Tahoe.

As you descend north from the saddle, the meadow soon comes into view. I was impressed with the lush green that extends as far as you can see.

After another mile, you will come to the historic Meiss Cabin and barn. Louis Meiss bought this land in 1878 to use as summer grazing for his cattle. The cabin and barn were finished in 1880. Meiss, his wife, eight daughters, and two sons would spend entire summers in the meadow, staying until it was time to head back to the Sacramento Valley for the winter months.

At this point, you can choose to return or continue on the trail for another two miles or so through the meadow to Showers Lake. You will first pass Meiss Lake and then arrive at Showers Lake, which is a beautiful alpine lake.

For a more detailed description of the hike and a map, please follow this link. You will need $5 cash for the daily use fee collected at the parking lot.

Whether you take the 5-mile out-and-back trip to the cabin or the 10-mile round trip to Showers Lake, you’ll have a wonderful time enjoying a less-traveled trail with great views and a peaceful setting.