Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
3,831.00 ft (1,167.69 m)
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
15.90 mi (25.59 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Cirque Peak is a 15-mile out-and-back located in the Sierra Nevada outside of Lone Pine, California. This route follows well maintained singletrack trails plus a short off-trail scramble to the peak. This is a beautiful Sierra Nevada adventure with pine covered trails, sweeping views, and alpine lakes. This trail is considered challenging due to the off-trail portion and is accessible for hiking, trail running, and backpacking. 

Cirque Peak is a prominent mountain in the Sierra Nevada that is easily reached from the Cottonwood Pass Trail. The peak rises to 12,900 feet above sea level and provides panoramic views of the southern Sierra Nevada, Sequoia National Park, Mount Whitney area, Mount Langley, and more. The trail to get to the peak features lush meadows, alpine streams, and surrounding views of jagged granite peaks. 

DIRECTIONS

From the Horseshoe Meadows parking area take the Cottonwood Pass Trail to the Pacific Crest Trail. Approximately 7 miles from the start you will veer away from the Pacific Crest Trail and begin to scramble up to Cirque Peak. 

PARKING 

Horseshoe Meadows parking area is located off of Highway 395. The road to Horseshoe Meadows climbs from Lone Pine, California and ascends over 6,000 feet. Horseshoe Meadows has no shortage of trails and is a great location for anyone looking to acclimatize, the parking area and nearby campgrounds, sit at 10,000 feet above sea level. 

The road to Horseshoe Meadow is closed from around November to May (depending on snow), and water spigots may be turned off as early as October.

For more information about Horseshoe Meadows please visit: https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/inyo/recarea/?recid=20700

PERMITS 

Permits are not required for day use. Permits are required for overnight camping. Information about permits can be found at www.recreation.gov.

MORE INFORMATION
For more information about the Cottonwood Pass Trail area please visit https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd530477.pdf

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Fall
Summer

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Alpine Lakes. Granite Peaks. Panoramic Views.

Cons

Mosquitos in the summer.

Trailhead Elevation

9,948.00 ft (3,032.15 m)

Highest point

12,900.00 ft (3,931.92 m)

Features

Backcountry camping
Wildlife
Big vistas
Wildflowers

Typically multi-day

No

Permit required

No

Location

Nearby Adventures

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Eastern Sierra + White Mountains Area, California
Eastern Sierra + White Mountains Area, California

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