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Pets allowed
Allowed
Elevation Gain
?
Trail type
Loop
Distance
4.50 mi (7.24 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.

The Mokelumne Wilderness, first protected in 1964, is located between Eldorado and Stanislaus National Forests and boasts some the most unique and interesting geology in the Lake Tahoe Area. Most of the park is in a crest zone. The peaks are covered in metamorphic rock, which consists of volcanic rock, sand, and mud. One of the most exceptional peaks in the wilderness is Round Top Peak. At the foot of Round Top lies two alpine lakes, Winnemucca Lake and Round Top Lake.

This 4.5-mile loop starts and finishes at Woods Lake and passes by both alpine lakes. You will begin your hike at the Woods parking area. Walk north toward the lake, keeping an eye out for a bridge on the left. After crossing the stream, you will follow the trail for 2.5 miles as it meanders through the woods and then ascends about 600 feet to Winnemucca Lake. After a short break at the water's edge, turn right and head up the natural bowl toward Round Top Lake. There is a trail here, but if snow still covers the ground, it may be hard to follow. After a mile and 600 feet of elevation gain, you will reach Round Top Lake.

From Round Top, take a right at the trail junction. From here the trail descends more steeply, losing 1,200 feet in about 1.5 miles. With snow cover, the trail can be very hard to follow, so wayfinding skills and a map and compass and/or GPS are important. Keep an eye out for the abandoned Lost Cabin Mine on your way down. Once you reach the campground, continue a bit further until you reach the Woods Lake parking area.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

General Day Use Fee

Pros

Beautiful lakes and peaks.

Cons

High elevation. Trails can be difficult to find.

Trailhead Elevation

8,200.00 ft (2,499.36 m)

Net Elevation Gain

1,260.00 ft (384.05 m)

Features

Backcountry camping
Bird watching
Wildlife
Big vistas
Wildflowers

Location

Field Guide + Map

Nearby Adventures

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Lake Tahoe + Northern Sierra, California
Lake Tahoe + Northern Sierra, California
Lake Tahoe + Northern Sierra, California

Comments

08/12/2017
We did this hike this last weekend and it was beautiful! Last year's epic snow and the late spring in the high country meant that the wildflowers in the high meadows were just getting started in mid-August. It was a wonderful surprise to go for a wildflower hike in August, and have to cross a snowfield!

We saw several hikers making the same loop, only going from Woods Lake to Round Top Lake first, and then descending from Winnemucca Lake. It seemed to me that this would have been the more challenging route, considering how much steeper that side seemed, with more switchbacks and large steps over rocks. The route from Woods Lake to Winnemucca Lake traverses a hillside with only a few rocky patches.

Either way, though, the views at the lakes are well worth it!
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