Round Top Lake           Two 15 min maps of the Carson Pass region Lost Keys Lake
Killer Sunset at The Sisters near Carson Pass Lake Tahoe to Mount Whitney: Crown Jewel of the Pacific Crest Trail Need a Map? Lost Al near Lost Keys Lake
Backpacking map of the Carson Pass Management Area.
Dicks Lake Lake Aloha
Dicks, and Fontanillis Lakes from Dicks Pass Backpacking
Carson Pass Backpacking Map

Hiking
Tahoe to Yosemite and Pacific Crest Trail
Backpacking Route Options
at the Carson Pass

Two
7.5 minute USGS Backpacking Maps of the Carson Pass Management Area

Aloha Lake under Pyramid Peak from Dicks Pass
                     
Pacific Crest Trail
Maps and Miles
Tahoe to Yosemite Trail
Maps and Miles
Trail Guide
Pages
Trail
Guide
Trail Information
Indexes
Weather, Map Data
PCT
SOUTH
SECTION
MAP
Carson Pass
to
Ebbetts Pass

PCT
SOUTH
Segment
MAP

Carson Pass
to
Lost Lakes

TYT-PCT
SOUTH

Mokelumne Wilderness Backpacking Map

PCT
NORTH SECTION
MAP

Carson Pass
to
Echo Summit

PCT Maps
INDEX
 Carson Pass
to
Ebbetts Pass
MILES
and
ELEVATIONS

Carson Pass
to
Ebbetts Pass

MAP
SOUTH
Echo Summit
to
Lake Alpine

MAP
SOUTH
Summit City Creek
to
Bee Gulch

MAP
NORTH


Carson Pass
to
Echo Summit

MILES
and
ELEVATIONS

 Carson Gap
to
Lake Alpine
Decision
at the
 Carson Gap

Hike the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail

Carson Gap
to
Woods Lake

Hike the Pacific Crest Trail

Carson Gap
to
Carson Pass

The Tahoe to Yosemite Trail

Road Map

  miles
and
elevations
Maps Index  Lake Tahoe
to
Lake Alpine
All Carson Pass to Highway 4
Maps

Carson Pass
Weather Information

High Sierra Weather Page

map info

History

mission

Pacific Crest Trail Tahoe to Yosemite Trail Trail Guide      

Carson Pass Region Backpacking Map
Southbound into the Mokelumne Wilderness of the El Dorado or Toiyabe National Forests
North into Meiss Country Roadless Area.

TYT-PCT North map
Meiss Country Roadless Area
TYT South map
Summit City Creek to Mount Reba
click red dots PCT South map
Carson Pass to Blue Lakes
PCT South map
Mokelumne Wilderness Topo Map
Carson Pass Management Area, TYT-PCT topo hiking map.
TYT-PCT North map
Meiss Country Roadless Area
TYT South map
Summit City Creek to Mount Reba
click
red dots
&
Map Labels
PCT South map
Carson Pass to Blue Lakes
PCT South map
Mokelumne Wilderness Topo Map

     

More Maps

     

more
Tahoe to Yosemite Trail
MAPS

1 x 2 MAP South of the Tahoe to Yosemite and Pacific Crest Trails
<UGLY!>
Carson Gap
to
Lake Alpine & Ebbetts Pass

30 MAP
South
Tahoe to Yosemite Trail
Echo Summit to Lake Alpine

7.5 MAP
South
Tahoe to Yosemite Trail
Summit City Creek to Mount Reba

7.5 MAP
North
on
Both Trails
Echo Summit to Carson Gap

See the
TYT
Map Index

Tahoe to Yosemite Maps
South

INDEX
Carson Gap to Lake Alpine

Miles and Elevations
Carson Gap to Lake Alpine

more
Pacific Crest Trail
MAPS

1 x 2 MAP South of the Pacific Crest and Tahoe to Yosemite Trails
Carson Gap
to
Lake Alpine & Ebbetts Pass

30 MAP
South
Pacific Crest Trail

Carson Pass to Ebbetts Pass

7.5 MAP
South
Pacific Crest Trail

Carson Pass to Lost Lakes

7.5 MAP
North
on
Both Trails
Echo Summit to Carson Gap

See the
PCT
Map Index

Pacific Crest Trail Maps South
INDEX
Carson Pass to Ebbetts Pass

Miles and Elevations
Carson Pass to Ebbetts Pass

   

CARSON PASS REGION ROAD MAP

Map Location
The Carson Gap
Point of Decision

Carson Pass Management Area

The map above lays out our hiking options for Tahoe to Yosemite Trail backpackers breaking off the Pacific Crest Trail through the Carson Pass Management Area.
This also lays out our local hiking options.

Main Terrain Features
The Carson Gap, located at the very top of the map, is where Southbound backpackers on the unified Pacific Crest Trail and Tahoe to Yosemite Trail exit the Lake Tahoe Basin. At the Carson Gap we overlook our Southbound trail options as we continue South to, through, or around the Carson Pass. Our route depends on if we are on our way down the PCT towards Ebbetts Pass on Highway 4, or the TYT towards Lake Alpine on Highway 4.

We've got significant options.

The TYT Option
Southbound Tahoe to Yosemite Trail hikers break Southwest from the Pacific Crest Trail just a few feet South of the Carson Gap. TYT hikers are departing the Pacific Crest Trail here, or at one of the subsequent two other junctions leading to the TYT route further South. If we're hiking the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail our objective is to hike down to and cross Highway 88 West of the Carson Pass to more directly approach, ascend and cross over to the Southwestern flank of Round Top and The Sisters.

Be careful crossing Highway 88 to the West of Carson Pass following the TYT. Our crossing point lays on a bend in Highway 88 that is blind. Make sure you listen and watch carefully for Eastbound cars, of which there will be many during Summer and ski season. Don't end your trip as road kill. That'd be ironic.

The TYT hiker will cross over Round Top and the Sisters to descend their Southwestern flank into Summit City Canyon. We will soon be following a compass point bending Southwest within the grand granite canyon Summit City Creek flows through for the next 13 miles of hiking between the top of Round Top down in elevation to the North Fork of the Mokelumne River. About 9.5 miles of those 13 are across unmaintained trails. The Tahoe to Yosemite Trail backpacker reaches maintained trail by crossing the North Mokelumne River to begin the climb over Mount Reba to Lake Alpine.

Well, as of 2013 the unmaintained trail North of the North Fork of the Mokelumne had more work done to it than I've seen for years. The maintained trail South of the North Mokelumne River has had lots of recent work done to it over the last 15 years, but early 2014 reports indicate it has some pretty sketchy sections. It was not bad during Fall of 2013.

The PCT Option
The Pacific Crest Trail hiker stays on the main trail South through Carson Gap down to Carson Pass. The route and direction of the PCT hiker bends Southeast around the Eastern edge of the main body of the Round Top and The Sisters massif to position its hike along the Eastern flank of the Sierras to Ebbetts Pass. The PCT crosses Highway 4 at Ebbetts Pass about 14 miles East of Lake Alpine where the TYT touches Highway 4.

The Eastern and Western routes of the PCT and TYT South to Yosemite make these trails of very different characters.

Tahoe to Yosemite Trail
From the Carson Gap to the Round Top Lake trail junction

After descending from the Carson Gap and crossing Highway 88 we will make our way towards Woods Lake, where we have two possible routes that can take us up to Round Top, the footbridge route or the Lost Cabin Mine route.

After getting down to and crossing Highway 88 we find a dirt road next to a utility building, a corrugated garage painted black on the South side of the Highway 88 greeting us. Looking East up the dirt road towards Carson Pass we see that this dirt road to Woods Lake parallels Highway 88 coming West down from Carson Pass, which sits to our Southbound hiking left, to the East. We follow this road to the Right, for about a half-mile to where it connects with the paved road to Woods Lake. About a half-mile past Highway 88 we will turn left off the dirt road onto the paved road to Woods Lake.
We're not just hiking down towards Woods Lake because it offers us two interesting trails up to Round Top, but because Woods Lake is a fine place to have one of our two daily lunches, or a snack and rest break with whoever's there; likely the nice retired folks and the family campers who visit this area during the Summer months.

A couple of hundred yards down this paved road we see a parking lot on our right where there's a National Forest toilet and garbage facilities. If you miss having a real toilet seat, you are in luck. A couple of hundred yards past this parking lot, but before we reach Woods Lake, we see a footbridge on our left. This footbridge is the central of our three route choices leading up to Round Top Lake. The trail over this foot bridge takes us up to Round Top Lake via Winnemucca Lake. Up at Winnemucca Lake we intersect with the trail coming South from Carson Pass.

In any case, looking at the footbridge means we must decide between the two potential routes up to Round Top and the Sisters we have available here near Woods Lake. We can either follow the trail across the footbridge up to Round Top via Winnemucca Lake, or take the shorter but steeper route, the Lost Cabin Mine Trail, which lays a short distance further South down the paved road towards Woods Lake.

We continue past the footbridge if we're hiking the Lost Cabin Mine Trail up to Round Top, or going down for a break at Woods Lake before crossing the footbridge. We quickly encounter the Woods Lake campground off to our right.  Enter the camp through the main entrance, and at the top of the campground loop road we find a trail cutting up between the top two campsites to the old jeep road leading left to the Lost Cabin Mine. The trail past this still active mine is the quickest but steepest route up to Round Top Lake. If you are not sure about what the hell I'm talking about, and the map above makes no sense to you, shoot me an email. The Woods Lake campground has a host, so you can ask the host for directions if you feel lost. But that's not a good sign for your navigation potential when the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail disappears from Summit City Creek to Camp Irene.

PCT Carson Gap to Carson Pass to Winnemucca Lake
If we really want to take the longest way to get from the Carson Gap up to Round Top Lake on the Tahoe to Yosemite route, we continue South from the Carson Gap along the Pacific Crest Trail through the Carson Pass to the Winnemucca Lake trail junction. From the Winnemucca trail junction we approach Round Top from the East. The foot bridge route shortens this Eastern approach by over a mile, and getting up to Round Top Lake through the Western route, the Lost Cabin Mine Trail reduces the distance by another mile. But as I mentioned earlier, there is a tradeoff involved. The shorter the route, the steeper it is.

Review the trail guide pages linked through the map above for more information and details.

The Lost Cabin Mine Trail intersects with the trail up from Winnemucca Lake at the Round Top Lake trail junction. Here's where all Tahoe to Yosemite Trail backpackers who hiked the various routes up to Round Top Lake come together for the rest of the hike South through the Mokelumne Wilderness.

Me, before I continue South on the TYT I'm going to take off my pack and have a nice break next to Round Top Lake, sitting under the shadow of Round Top and The Sisters.

Past this junction the trail bends South and West as it takes us around the Western flank of the Round Top-Sisters Massif. As we work our way around the West flank of the mountain the Southern Vista opens up and we soon begin our descend down to the Summit City Creek. The Sapphire blue waters of Fourth of July Lake appear wedged in a small fold between the Southern Flanks of the Kirkwood and Round Top mountains about halfway down to Summit City Creek. Fourth of July Lake is situated in a nice place to take a break from the impact of backpacking down the steep backside of Round Top.

Below Fourth of July Lake we can see that Summit City Creek flows through its namesake massive glacial-cut granite valley twisting out a grand Southwestern arc down towards its eventual meeting with the North Fork of the Mokelumne River. We will turn right when we hike down to encounter the Summit City Creek trail junction at the base of this canyon, bounded on the North by Round Top's Southwestern flank, which we just descended, and on its Southeastern flank by the massive Deadwood Peak Massif. A right turn at the Summit City Canyon junction will take us downstream along the Summit City Creek on the Tahoe to Yosemite Route, while a left turn will bring us past Devils Corral to Upper Blue Lake, unless we turn North for the hike up to Forestdale Divide.

If we decided to take a left and trace the trail up Summit City Creek East, or upstream, (instead of following the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail downstream) we can see that our trail hikes up towards a trail junction where we can either turn Northeast for the climb up to the Pacific Crest Trail at Forestdale Divide, or continue East up Summit City Creek to Blue Lakes, where we encounter the end of the Forestdale Divide Road at the West end of Upper Blue Lake.

As we can see by the map above, there is a fine spider web of trails connecting the main routes of the TYT and PCT along the Sierra Crest where their routes connect across the Carson Pass Management Area. Many fine short local backpacking loop trips can also be crafted along these trails around Round Top and the Sisters.

Thus this route up Summit City Creek towards Blue Lakes can be bent up to Forestdale Divide and North back to Carson Pass, allowing us to close the end of backpacking loops begun at Carson Pass or Woods Lake, or wherever we began hiking from in the CPMA.

Recap
The Pacific Crest Trail hiker's route passes to the East of the Round Top and Sisters Massif to hike over the Forestdale Divide, which is hiking around the East edge of the Carson Pass Management Area. The Tahoe to Yosemite Trail hikes through the heart of the CPMA on its way over Round Top and The Sisters.

And, it is this difference between the two routes, with the Pacific Crest Trail tracking along the Eastern Flank of the Sierra Crest while the Tahoe to Yosemite route hikes the Western flank that gives each route its unique character. This East-West division between the Tahoe to Yosemite and Pacific Crest Trail routes will continue until they rejoin below Dorothy Lake Pass at the base of Bond Pass at the head of Jack Main Canyon just within the most Northwestern point of the Yosemite National Park.

comments-questions-updates

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Backpacking
Map, Miles, Permits,
&
Elevation Information

Miles and Elevations

 

Pacific Crest Trail

Carson Pass to Ebbetts Pass

 

Tahoe to Yosemite

 Carson Gap to Lake Alpine

Back to Tahoe to Alpine Trail Guide Index

 

 
Backpacking Permitting Authorities

El Dorado National Forest

National Forest Contacts via TahoetoWhitney
El Dorado NF

National Forest web page
El Dorado NF

 

TW information
Carson Pass Management Area

Fed information
Carson Pass Management Area

 

TW information
Mokelumne Wilderness

Wilderness Area, fed web
Mokelumne

Ranger Districts
All

 

Toiyabe National Forest

National Forest Contacts via TW
Toiyabe NF

National Forest web page
Toiyabe NF

Wilderness Area
Mokelumne

Ranger District
Carson Ranger District

 

More Information

Trail Guide
El Dorado National Forest information

Trail Guide
Stanislaus National Forest information

USGS Topo Map Information

West Map
Caples Lake
Calif, USGS 7.5 minute topographic series.

East Map
Carson Pass
Calif, USGS 7.5 minute topographic series.

USGS MAP LOCATOR

Compass Offset
Magnetic North is 18 degrees, 34 minutes East of True North

scale
1:24 000

Contours
40 feet

 

Click RED DOTS on the Map to see the corresponding trail guide page.

 

The Tahoe to Yosemite Trail
between
Carson Pass to Lake Alpine

An Overview of Authority

Backpacking permitting authority
The El Dorado National Forest administers the West flank of the Sierra Nevada Mountains West of Carson Pass on Highway 88, while the Toiyabe NF administers everything on the East side of Carson Pass.

East Flank Authority
An imaginary boundary follows the Sierra Crest South from Lake Tahoe. East of this line we find the Toiyabe National Forest administers about everything South to Highway 120, way down to the Tioga Pass Road in Yosemite.

West Flank Authorities
We have two National Forests administering the Western flank of the Sierra Nevada down to Yosemite. They are the El Dorado, down to the North Fork of the Mokelumne River, and the Stanislaus from there to the Northwest corner of the Yosemite Backcountry.

Local Authority
The CPMA
The Carson Pass itself is administered by a special zone called the Carson Pass Management Area. The CPMA is part of the Amador Ranger District of the El Dorado NF.
The Amador Rangers administer the Southbound Tahoe to Yosemite Route from Carson Pass to its ford point over the North Mokelumne River at Camp Irene. We enter the Stanislaus NF when crossing the N Mokelumne River at Camp Irene.

The Stanislaus NF administers  a sliver of the South side of the Mokelumne Wilderness, from Camp Irene to the top of Mount Reba, and this sliver of the Stanislaus runs all the way up to Ebbetts Pass, which sits in the Stanislaus NF.
Nonetheless, at the top of Mount Reba we exit the Mokelumne Wilderness, though our hike on the Southbound TYT stays in the Stanislaus National Forest.

Mount Reba sits above the North shore of Lake Alpine along Highway 4. Descending from Mount Reba to Lake Alpine we find the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail emerges at Highway 4 on the Eastern shore of Lake Alpine.
Crossing Highway 4 Southbound brings us into the Stanislaus NF administered Carson-Iceberg Wilderness.

 

comments-questions-updates

Physical location

Carson Pass Management Area
On Highway 88 at Carson Pass stretching Southwest around the Round Top-Sisters Massif.

Goal
To Highway 4 at either Lake Alpine on the TYT or Ebbetts Pass hiking the PCT.

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map North: Echo Summit to the Carson Pass                               map South depends on our route...PCT or TYT

Elevations More Information

Carson Gap
8800 feet

Carson Pass
8600 feet

Round Top Lake Trail Junction
9360 feet

Trail Guide, Section
TY or PCT?

Trail Guide, Page
Carson Gap

Google Map
Above

 

Map Credit

Thanks, USGS!

U.S. Geological Survey
Department of the Interior

The USGS

USGS MAP LOCATOR

Move the Map to the Sierras. Select size of Maps you wish to locate. Click "Mark Point" on map to see the USGS map grid of the selected map scale.

USGS Topographic

Map Information

Map Symbols

Carson Pass
Trailhead
 
Talk to me
Alex Wierbinski

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Lake Tahoe to Mount Whitney

Your guide to backpacking the Sierra Crest, including the Tahoe to Yosemite, Pacific Crest, and John Muir Trails

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© Lake Tahoe to Mount Whitney: Crown Jewel of the Pacific Crest Trail