Back to index Round Top Lake from Carson Pass Hike
Trip Date:  09/03/2017

: 8.5 Miles

Vertical Gain: 800'

Group Size: 3
Hike Rating:  Easy   Moderate    Hard   Strenuous
Round Top Lake Hike Route
See video of this hike  See video of hike   Download GPXGPX for this trip
Round Top Lake Elevation Profile
Start Coordinates:   N 38 41.697  W 119 59.363     End Coordinates:   Same as Start Coordinates  
Car Shuttle Req'd:   No Parking Directions:   Take Highway 88 to the parking area at the Carson Pass ranger station on the west side of the road.  Pay the day use fee (summer only) and find the trailhead just to the right side (north) of the ranger station itself.  
Hazards of Note:   Be aware of very changeable weather in this area during any season.  Prepare for various temperatures and rain.

Crowd Factor:   Significant.  This is a very popular summer and winter trail, with many snowshoers during the winter and even more day hikers looking to enjoy the lakes and wildflowers abundant on this hike for most of the summertime.
General Notes:
From the parking area on the road,  head up along the Pacific Crest Trail for a little over a mile.  On your way you have the option for a quick detour to Frog Lake on your left, and then continue on the main trail past a signpost marking the junction where the PCT turns to the left.  You will continue on straight until reach the Lake Winnemucca.  This is a popular destination for day hiking and camping, and the view of Round Top Mountain in the distance is spectacular.  After you pass the outlet of the lake, continue on up the trail toward the west, and don't take the junction to the right down the canyon which will be signed for Woods Lake.  The trail climbs in earnest here for nearly a mile, until you come up over the ridge which separates Lake Winnemucca from Round Top Lake.  The trail drops from here to the shore of Round Top Lake, where another junction with a trail back to Woods Lake (via the Lost Mine Trail) heads off to your right.  If you want to climb to the top of Round Top Mountain this is the point where you would head on up toward the gap just to the right of the peak, or you can continue on the trail and head down to Fourth of July Lake.  This lake is situated about halfway up the trail descending down into Summit City Canyon, and is a very popular backpacking destination.

Mark and Greg B navigating the early part of the Pacific Crest Trail just west of the Carson Station visitor center. Mark and Greg B on the trail
A first good open look at Round Top Mountain before the trail junction to Frog Lake a mile into the hike. First good look
Looking across Frog Lake toward Red Lake Peak to the north. First good look
Directing a group of hikers to the PCT overlook just a 1/4 mile off the Lake Winnemucca trail to the base of Elephant Back mountain (seen here) and a fantastic look to the south toward Ebbets and Sonora Passes in the distance. Elephant Back
The west end of Lake Winnemucca reflecting snow from the mountains off its very still waters. Late season snow reflecting off the surface of Lake Winnemucca
Looking up directly toward the summit of Round Top Peak where three hikers were already spotted in the early morning. Round Top Peak
Sierra enjoying the view at Lake Winnemucca. The climb from Winnemucca to Round Top Lake
Round Top Lake nestled in a bowl at the base of the Sisters. Round Top Lake
Greg B recreating a pose from the old Wilderness boundary into Mokelumne. Greg B at the old wilderness boundary
As far as we got heading down toward Fourth of July Lake having to turn around for time committments this day. Fourth of July Lake
Greg L, Greg B and Mark on the trail down to Fourth of July Lake. Greg L, Greg B and Mark above 4th of July Lake
GPS Track of the full hike. GPS Track of Hike