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Stories from the valley

Winnemucca Lake: The Trail Well Travelled

One of the most popular trails for all seasons is the hike to Winnemucca Lake from Carson Pass. Lake Winnemucca is located in the Carson Pass Management Area and the trekker is rewarded with spectacular views. While the trail is particularly well known for its summer wildflowers, they are currently asleep under six to eight feet of spring snow which will probably be around for at least another month. However, this allows the visitor to enjoy a late season snow adventure in solitude to an area that is usually teeming with visitors.

The snow conditions are currently fantastic for spring snowshoeing or skiing. Park in the Sno Park at Carson Summit, and head to the trailhead by the information station. The trail will be easily visible at the station. You will see some blue diamonds to follow at the beginning, but they mark a trail Wood’s Lake and will lead you astray if you follow them for more than one fourth mile. You should see tracks in the snow that lead towards Winnemucca and Round Top Peak after the quarter of a mile (the terrain levels out a bit). You will head due south and soon see Elephants Back and then Round Top Peak. The total distance is about two miles, one way, and is a gentle uphill climb of about 500 feet to reach the lake at the foot of Round Top Peak. The trip back is mostly downhill and if you take a side trip to Frog Lake you will be rewarded with a breathtaking view of Hope Valley and Red Lake. On the way out the tracks can be a bit hard to discern as the heat of the sun melts them into the surrounding snow.

It is recommended that you take a map of the area, wear plenty of sunscreen, check the weather conditions before you go, and be prepared for a truly wonderful day hike.