Tree, Poison Flat, Carson Iceberg Lake Tahoe to Mount Whitney: Your Backpacking Guide to the High Sierras Yellow Flower
Lake Tahoe Sunset from just South of Echo Lake
Poison Flat Tree
Shadow of a growing Tahoe Sunset and us crossing the ridge South of Echo Lake.
Flowers, Sonora Pass

 

The Trails

Guide
Maps
Miles/Ele
Permits
Resupply
Forum

 

Current Weather Conditions

Weather Notes
Northern High Sierras
Central High Sierras
Southern High Sierras
 

Gear

Gear List
Gettin Started
Layering
Discussion
 
Testing yourself and your gear
 
Gear Reviews

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Hiking South
Lake Tahoe to Mount Whitney
Backpacking Trail Guide


1ST
SECTION INDEX


Backpacking the North Sierra

 

Meeks Bay Trailhead
to
Highway 4

Find below Maps, Miles, Elevations, and a Trail Guide of the TYT & PCT from Tahoe to Highway 4.



 
 
 

INDEX
NORTH
NONE
This is the North End of the Guide

Guide Index
  INDEX
SOUTH

Highway 4
to
Highway 108

below

 

TYT and PCT


Lake Tahoe Basin

Trailheads

South
to
Highway 88

TYT and PCT

and our

TYT or PCT


Route Options
continuing
South

from
Highway 88
to
Highway 4
TYT or PCT

 
TRAIL GUIDE
INDEXES
 

 

Trail Section
I

Meeks Bay
to
Highway 88

 

Backpacking
Lake Tahoe Basin

Desolation Wilderness
and
Meiss Country Roadless Area

 

Trail Guide
INDEX

Meeks Bay Trailhead
to the
Carson Pass

TYT and PCT
Unified around the
Southwestern Lake Tahoe Basin

 

 

Trail Guide
3 Possible Tahoe Tahoe Basin Trailheads

Meeks Bay Trailhead Information

 

Echo Summit Trailhead Information

 

South Upper Truckee Trailhead Information

 

 

 

Trail
Miles
and Elevations
Meeks Bay to Echo Summit PCT-TYT

Echo Summit to Carson Pass PCT-TYT

 

 

 

Trail Maps
Desolation Wilderness
Linked Backpacking Map

Meiss Country Roadless Area
Backpacking Map

Lake Tahoe Trailheads
Road Map

Click the Red Dots on the small-scale maps,
and the Black and Red dots on the large-scale maps.

 

 

 

Map Lists
Desolation Wilderness
PCT & TYT Map List

Echo Summit to Carson Pass
PCT & TYT Map List

 

 

 

Permits
Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit

 

 

 

 

Backpacker Resupply
Echo Lake Chalet Backpacker Resupply

South Lake Tahoe Backpacker Resources

 

 

 

Videos
Meeks Bay to PCT

Desolation Wilderness Videos

Echo Summit to Carson Gap

 

 

Backpacker's Forums
Post your experiences, trail reports & updates,
questions, and comments


Desolation Wilderness
TYT-PCT Forum

Meiss Country Roadless Area
TYT-PCT Forum

 

 

The Lake Tahoe Basin
This opening section of the trail guide covers the unified routes of the Tahoe to Yosemite, Tahoe Rim, and Pacific Crest Trails around the Western and Southwestern perimeter of the Lake Tahoe Basin.

Our guide starts at the Meeks Bay Trailhead of the TYT. 11.5 miles to the South the TYT joins the PCT and TRT for the hike South across Desolation Wilderness and the Meiss Country Roadless Area.

South of Desolation Wilderness our route crosses Echo Summit on Highway 50 entering Meiss Country Roadless Area.

Echo Summit is an alternative Southbound trailhead below Desolation Wilderness and shortening our Southbound hike to Tuolumne Meadows by about 30 miles.
Echo Summit is also the Northern entrance into the Meiss Country Roadless Area in the Southern Tahoe Basin.

We cross the Meiss Country to climb to our exit from the Southwestern corner of the Tahoe Basin through the gap above Carson Pass I call the Carson Gap.

At the central trail junction of the Meiss Roadless Area at the Meiss Cabin the Tahoe Rim Trail turns Northeast where our combined PCT-TYT routes continue South across the Southern end of Meiss Meadow, putting ourselves under the Carson Gap for the climb out of the Southernmost end of the Tahoe Basin.

We'll get some great views South of the upcoming TYT route over Round Top and The Sisters, as well as a look at the PCT's path around Elephant Back as we hike through the Carson Gap exiting the Lake Tahoe Basin.

Our best views North of the Tahoe Basin are seen before we climb into the Carson Gap.

Permits
The Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit administers the whole of the Lake Tahoe Basin including Desolation Wilderness and Meiss Country Roadless Area.

Though the Meiss Area requires no permits, through hikers into other areas will want to draw a permit from the LTBMU to authorize backpacking through the subsequent forests and wilderness areas we will cross after departing the Meiss Country.

No problem. As the Meiss Area requires Fire Permits we'll pick up our hiking and fire permits at the same time.

 

Trail Sections
II & IIa

Highway 88
to
Highway 4


Backpacking
Mokelumne Wilderness


 


Trail Guide
INDEX

Out the South End of Tahoe Basin,
Across Highway 88,

to
Highway 4

PCT or TYT
South from the Tahoe Basin
across the
East or West flanks
of the
Mokelumne Wilderness

 

 

Trail Guide
1 PCT Trailhead, 3 TYT Routes & a Key Trail Junction

Carson Pass PCT Trailhead

 

3 Routes to the TYT from the Carson Gap

 

Round Top Lake
Key TYT trail junction

 

 

Trail
Miles
and Elevations
Carson Pass to Ebbetts Pass PCT

Carson Gap to Lake Alpine TYT

 

 

 

Trail Maps
Mokelumne Wilderness

Linked Topo Hiking Map

Carson Pass Road Map

Click the Red Dots on the small-scale maps,
and the Black and Red dots on the large-scale maps.

 

 

 

Map Lists
West Mokelumne Wilderness
TYT Map List

East Mokelumne Wilderness
PCT Map List

 

 

 

Permits
East Flank
Toiyabe National Forest

West Flank
El Dorado National Forest

Carson Pass Management Unit

 

 

 

Backpacker Resupply
Highway 4

Lake Alpine Lodge

 

 

 

Videos
Carson Pass to Ebbetts Pass PCT

Carson Gap to Lake Alpine TYT

 

 

 

Backpacker's Forums
Post your experiences, trail reports & updates,
questions, and comments


East Mokelumne Wilderness
PCT Forum

West Mokelumne Wilderness
TYT Forum

Full TYT-PCT
HIGHWAY 88 to HIGHWAY 4
INDEX

 

The Mokelumne Wilderness
We have two ways to backpack South across the Mokelumne Wilderness from our position exiting the Tahoe Basin through the Carson Gap.

These are the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail down the Western flank of the Sierra to Lake Alpine or the Pacific Crest Trail along the Sierra Crest and Eastern flank to Ebbetts Pass.

Lake Alpine is located about 15 miles down the Western flank of the Sierra on Highway 4 from Ebbetts Pass.

Differences between the TYT and PCT routes.

Section 2
Tahoe to Yosemite Trail
The TYT crosses the Western Flank of the Sierra across the Mokelumne Wilderness of El Dorado National Forest to Lake Alpine on Highway 4.

This section is very different from the PCT. It descends down the West flank to 5280 feet over a very difficult unmaintained route through a steep and deep granite gorge into a majestic West flank valley before climbing Mount Reba to access Lake Alpine.

9+ miles of this route are through complex terrain decorated with faint trails, at best. The Spring of 2017 looks like it may do some damage...

Section 2a
Pacific Crest Trail
Eastern Flank and Sierra Crestline on good trails over barren volcanic mountains and thinly forested high flat along Eastern edge of Mokelumne Wilderness through Toiyabe National Forest to Ebbetts Pass.

Standing at the Carson Gap puts us close to two nearby shortcut options breaking off the PCT to the TYT. Or, we can continue South along the PCT route to access the TYT by hiking South through Carson Pass along the PCT.
1.04 miles South of Carson Pass we come upon the Southernmost trail connecting the PCT to the TYT through the Winnemucca Lake trail junction.

All three of our trail options for turning Southwest onto the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail meet at the Round Lake trail junction below the peaks of Round Top and The Sisters.

Each route to Round Top Lake & trail junction crosses a very different character of trail. Each explores a different aspect and different approaches.

Permits
Hiking South on the Pacific Crest Trail from Carson Pass tracks across Toiyabe National Forest administered Eastern Mokelumne Wilderness.

The Tahoe to Yosemite Trail tracks across the El Dorado National Forest's remote Western Mokelumne Wilderness.

Nonetheless, the Amador Ranger District of the El Dorado National Forest issues permits North and South out of the Carson Pass Trailheads.

 
See below for links to maps, miles, images, videos, and trail guide pages

 

Languages

Translate

 

Trail Arts

The art of walking
 
Physical Preperation

 

Trail Skills

The trail
Off the trail
Scrambling
Maps
Navigation
Camp skills
 

Food

Resupply
Food

 

Other

Photo Catagories
 
Trail Stories
 
Trail Culture
 
News and Science
 
Links
 
Groups
 
Books
 

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Back to the
All

Trail Sections
INDEX
The Next Trail Section
INDEX
South

Highway 4 to Highway 108

Trail Guide Section 1
The Lake Tahoe Basin

Section One
Lake Tahoe Basin Trailheads

 

3 Great
Lake Tahoe Basin Trailheads
to the
Carson Gap

 

Meeks Bay Echo Summit South Upper Truckee

 


3 Lake Tahoe Basin Trailheads
on a
Road Map



Detailed Backpacking Maps

Desolation Wilderness
Backpacking
Map
Meiss Country Roadless Area
Backpacking Map

 


Introduction
Trailhead Options
There are many more than the three excellent trailhead options described below along the West and Southwest shores of the Lake Tahoe Basin from where we can begin our Southbound backpacking trips to Yosemite, or on down the length of the Sierra Crest Trails to Mount Whitney.

Our "Tahoe to Whitney" trip can be customized to begin from your favorite Tahoe Basin Trailhead. Refer to the maps above to find your own alternative Lake Tahoe Trailhead to begin your local or long distance backpacking trips. This guide contains information for backpacking through Desolation Wilderness and the Meiss Country Roadless Area.

Local Trip Options
We may decide to remain within Desolation Wilderness and/or Meiss Country in the Tahoe Basin for our first few High Sierra backpacking trips, if we are just getting started backpacking, or restarting after a long break.
Desolation and Meiss Country in the Tahoe Basin, and even Round Top in the Carson Pass Management Area just outside the Tahoe Basin near Carson Pass, are all excellent places for less experienced backpackers to develop fitness and skills by taking a few short preparatory backpacking trips before hiking from Tahoe to Yosemite, or all the way down to Mount Whitney.

More rookie backpackers attempting the PCT (there are many every year) would succeed if they started with a few shorter trips before jumping onto the long trails.

The Beauty and Utility of the Lake Tahoe Basin
The Tahoe Basin is a good place to work out our gear issues, finish off breaking in a set of boots, come to a gradual understanding with the nature of the workload, and get us used to life on the trail before we commit to a long backpacking trip.

This guide is tailored to provide information for experienced long distance backpackers to plan long distance backpacking trips along the Sierra Crestline. It is also designed to provide the layers of information necessary to help rookie short distance backpackers evolve as painlessly as possible into experienced long distance backpackers.

All Steps lead to the Sierra Crest
For some folks these are small steps transitioning comfortably into the rigors of long distance high altitude trails, for others it is a mighty leap requiring extensive preparation and training.
It is important for us to be aware of which scenario it is for us. It is even more important that we understand and respect our physical and psychological limits, and to stay within them as we evolve the necessary skills and fitness for long distance High Sierra backpacking.

Don't just jump off into the deep end of the pool.

Staying between the lines of our own limits will allow us to safely expand our limits until we are safely and comfortably capable of long distance High Sierra backpacking.

The Long Trails
If our backpacking trip covers any significant distance along the Sierra Crest our trail must hook up with the Tahoe to Yosemite and/or the Pacific Crest Trail routes described below. These are the backbones of the long trails South to Tuolumne Meadows, and these crestline trails will bring us across all the forests, parks, and wilderness areas that lay between Lake Tahoe and Mount Whitney.

The Classic Tahoe to Yosemite Trail route
This guide begins hiking South towards Mount Whitney out of the Classic Tahoe to Yosemite Trailhead at Meeks Bay. We intersect with the Southbound PCT and the Tahoe Rim Trail 11.5 miles Southwest of the Meeks Bay Trailhead on the North end of Desolation Wilderness just a bit North of Middle Velma Lake where we are hiking off the South flank of Phipps Peak.

The Tahoe Rim Trail Too..
From this trail junction in the North Desolation Wilderness these three trails run South together across the length of the Desolation Wilderness. We cross Highway 50 at Echo Summit where they begin bending with the Southeastern arc of the Tahoe Basin to Meiss Cabin.

The Tahoe Rim Trail breaks off Northeastward to remain within the Lake Tahoe Basin from the Meiss Cabin junction. Our still unified TYT and PCT routes continue Southeast together across the remaining bit of Meiss Country to exit the the Tahoe Basin through the Carson Gap.

Three Lake Tahoe Trailheads
The three Lake Tahoe trailheads described below open up a wide range of local hikes, in-and-out backpacking trips, and trailhead to trailhead hiking trips through the Desolation Wilderness and Meiss Country that never have to exit the Lake Tahoe Basin for endless backpacking joy.

Me? I say go big.
Let's walk it down to Whitney!
These are our first steps and miles on the long trails South.

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WEST
Lake Tahoe Basin

Trailhead #1

Classic
Tahoe to Yosemite
Trailhead
Meeks Bay
Trailhead
Information

Meeks Bay
to
Echo Summit

Desolation Wilderness
TYT
Trail Guide Pages

 

Meeks Bay
TRAILHEAD

First Trail Junction

 

Lake Genevieve

 

Crag Lake

 

Stony Ridge Lake

 

Rubicon Lake

 

Phipps Pass

 

Heart of Desolation Wilderness

 

TYT-PCT-TRT
NORTHERN JUNCTION

 

Middle Velma Lake

 

to Fontanillis Lake

 

 

 

 

 

Camper Flat-Bayview trail junctions

 

Fontanillis Lake

 

3rd Bayview junction

 

Dicks Pass

 

Glen Alpine-Gilmore-Tallac Junctions

 

Susie & Heather Lakes

 

Lake Aloha

 

Ten Freeking Junctions

 

Upper Echo Lake

 

Lower
Echo Lake
Trailhead

 

EXITING

of
Desolation Wilderness:

to Echo Summit Trailhead

Echo Summit Trailhead Location

 

Desolation Wilderness
Linked
Backpacking Map

Click red dots for location,
black dots for detailed maps

Meeks Bay to Dicks Pass
Detailed Backpacking Map

Meeks Bay to Echo Summit
Maps INDEX

 

Miles and Elevations
Meeks Bay to Echo Summit

Desolation Wilderness
Backpacker's Forum

Comments-Questions?


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The Tahoe to Yosemite Trail
History and General Information

 

 

FINDING
 Meeks Bay Trailhead

An Introduction to High Sierra Backpacking


 Meeks Bay Trailhead
INTRODUCTION

to the
TAHOE TO YOSEMITE TRAIL

 

 

The TYT
Hiking Plan
  NORTH SIERRA MILES
Compare
TYT VS. PCT

 

 

Video Playlists
Desolation Wilderness

Meeks Bay Trailhead to Pacific Crest Trail

Pacific Crest Trail to Echo Lake Trailhead

 

 

Permits
Desolation Wilderness

Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit

 

Tahoe Permits Nightmare

 

 

Resupply
Lake Tahoe Backpacker Resources

Lake Tahoe Region Resources Road Map

 

 

Meeks Bay Trailhead
Meeks Bay & Tehoma

Local Backpacker Resources

 

Echo Chalet Backpacker Resupply

Lake Tahoe Trailheads Road Map

Lake Tahoe with Eagle Lake in foreground, Desolation Wilderness, PCT

Lake Tahoe with Eagle Lake in foreground, Desolation Wilderness, Pacific Crest and Tahoe-Yosemite Trail(s) Hiking from Meeks Bay towards Echo Summit.

 

Lake Tahoe
Resupply
Point
#1
Note that Echo Chalet sits between the Desolation Wilderness to the North and the Meiss Roadless Area to the South.

Echo Lake Chalet
Echo Chalet Resupply at Lake Tahoe.

Contact Information

Echo Lakes Chalet
9900 Echo Lakes Road,
Echo Lake, CA 95721

NO LONGER PROVIDES
RESUPPLY SERVICE

Telephone
530-659-7207

(8 am to 6 pm PST Summer only)

Lake Tahoe trailheads Road Map

Lake Tahoe backpacker
Resources & Map

 

Echo Lake Chalet
Resupply Information

Echo Lake Chalet
Backpacker Resources and Resupply Information

Lower Echo Lake
Trail Guide Page

Echo Lake
Miles and Elevations

Echo Lake Map

Desolation Wilderness Map
Click Red and Black Dots

Resupply
Forum

Questions-Comments?

Echo Lake Backpacker Resupply
Echo Lake Chalet can be a resupply for Southbound backpackers out of Meeks Bay, but we can skip it as the 63 mile distance from Meeks Bay to Lake Alpine is well within our carrying capacity. Or not. We can split our initial food weight in half by resupplying at Echo Lake Chalet.

Though the short distance between Meeks Bay and Lake Alpine reduces Echo Chalet's utility for Southbound backpackers out of Meeks Bay, Echo Chalet is a vital resupply point for Northbound Pacific Crest Trail backpackers.

Many PCTers choose to Rest and Resupply at South Lake Tahoe.

Read this discussion of the resupply role of the Echo Lake Chalet for long distance backpackers.

The Echo Summit and the South Upper Truckee trailheads are South of Echo Chalet, making Echo Chalet irrelevant for Southbound hikers out of those trailheads.
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Lake Tahoe Basin
Trailhead
#2

Echo Summit
on
Highway 50

The Echo Summit Trailhead
North End
of the
Meiss Country Roadless Area

Echo Summit
to
Highway 88
Across
Meiss Country Roadless Area

TYT-PCT
Trail Guide Pages

Echo Summit Trailhead

 

South to Carson Pass

 

Frog Lake

 

South to Showers Lake

 

Peak 8905 to Salyes Canyon Junction

 

Bryan Meadow Trail Junction

 

Schneiders Camp Trail Junction

 

Showers Lake

 

Meiss Cabin Trail Junction

 

Carson Gap

 

Three Ways to Round Top Lake

 

Beginning our Southbound backpacking trip at Echo Summit picks up the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail South of Desolation Wilderness.
Desolation is a very busy place during mid-Summer.

Highway 50 across Echo Summit offers easiest automobile access to trailhead for Southbound hikers. Echo Summit begins our trip South into the Meiss Country Roadless Area, which stretches 12 miles 'till we arrive at Carson Pass after exiting the Tahoe Basin through the Carson Gap.

Echo Summit is the Northwestern Trailhead into Meiss Country, where we can end our short trips at South Upper Truckee, Big Meadow, or Carson Pass if we are not backpacking further South.

Video

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Echo Summit
to the

Carson Gap

Backpacker Information

 

Meiss Country Roadless Area Map
click the red dots...

 

Echo Summit to Lake Alpine Map
38.28 miles. Click red and black dots.

 

Miles and Elevations

 

All Meiss Country
Backpacking Maps

 

 

Find Echo Summit Trailhead
Lake Tahoe Trailheads Road Map

 

Videos
Echo Summit to Carson Gap

 

Permits
Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit

 

Resupply
Lake Tahoe backpacker Resources

&
Road Map

 

Echo Summit to Showers Lake
Backpacker's Forum

Echo Summit Trail Head Sign
Echo Summit trail head sign

Comments-Questions?

 

Lake Tahoe
Trailhead
#3

Meyers-Christmas Valley

The South Upper Truckee Trailhead
Meiss Country Roadless Area

 

Meyers
to
Highway 88

Meiss Country Roadless Area
Trail Guide Pages

South Upper Truckee Trailhead, Meyers

 

Meyers to Round Lake

 

Dardanelles Lake Trail Junction

 

Big Meadow Trail Junction

 

Round Lake

 

Meiss Cabin Trail Junction

 

Meiss Cabin Hiking Trail Options
From Meiss Cabin we can follow the route of the combined PCT-TYT South out of the Tahoe Basin towards Carson Pass or deeper into the basin by hiking North towards Echo Summit.

Why Meyers?
I am using Meyers as a launch point for trips further South, so I will be turning Left to hike out of the Tahoe Basin.

Hiking in from a quiet local's trailhead near Lake Level in Meyers up Christmas Valley to 8000 feet at Round Lake is a nice option.
Hiking up the Eastern tributary of the South Upper Truckee River to Round Lake is kind-of a steep transition to Sierra hiking, but the shortness of the climb (under four miles) and the beauty of Round Lake makes it worthwhile.
Meiss Meadow is where we find and join the PCT TYT routes, in our case to exit the Tahoe Basin through the Carson Gap.

NEXT
At the Carson Gap we Southbound backpackers will be confronted with the same choice independent of our starting trailhead: South on the Pacific Crest Trail or South on the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail?

That is the Question.

 

 

 

Meiss Country Roadless Area
Backpacker Information

Find the South Upper Truckee Trailhead
Lake Tahoe Trailheads
Road Map

 

Meiss Country Roadless Area Map
Linked Backpacking Map

click the red dots...

 

Miles and Elevations

 

All Meiss Country
Backpacking Maps

 

 

Videos
South Upper Truckee Trailhead to Meiss Cabin
(Winter Videos)

 

Permits
Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit

 

Resupply
Lake Tahoe backpacker Resources

&
Road Map

 

South Upper Truckee
Backpacker's Forum

Plague Warning, South Upper Truckee Trail Head
Plague Warning, South Upper Truckee Trail Head, Meyers. Sierra Fleas carry the plague. Be Careful.

Comments-Questions?

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Trail Guide Section 2
Highway 88
to
Highway 4

The Carson Gap Question

Which Way South?

The Pacific Crest
or
The Tahoe to Yosemite Trail?

The Carson Gap is the gap on the South end of the Tahoe Rim where all Southbound Pacific Crest and Tahoe to Yosemite Trail backpackers exit the Lake Tahoe Basin. The Carson Gap is located 1.39 miles North of the Carson Pass and 10.61 miles South of the Echo Summit Trailhead along the PCT route, and 7.03 miles from the South Upper Truckee Trailhead.

The Carson Gap is our decision point.

TYT to Woods Lake
On the South side of the Carson Gap Southbound backpackers following the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail to Lake Alpine immediately encounter an unmarked trail junction veering right off the PCT route. This is the Northernmost of three junctions where the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail splits off to the Southwest from the Pacific Crest Trail.
The first two junctions below the Carson Gap are unmarked and join together at the creek to lead us down an unmaintained route to Highway 88. We cross Highway 88 to follow the dirt utility road towards Woods Lake.
Below we study the route differences on the maps and discuss them as well.

Carson Pass Area Backpacking Map            Mokelumne Wilderness Backpacking Map            Discussion

Differences between the TYT and PCT routes

Three Routes South along the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail
On the South side of the Carson Gap where the PCT levels out there is another, second unmarked trail junction leading Right towards Highway 88 and up to the TYT at Round Top Lake via Woods Lake. Both of these first two trails merge together above Highway 88, cross it, and follow the dirt utility road towards Woods Lake.
Our third, final, and Southernmost option for turning off the PCT onto the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail is the Winnemucca Lake Junction, which sits a mile South of Carson Pass along the Pacific Crest Trail.

From Woods Lake we have two routes up to the TYT at Round Top Lake. The "center" route brings us past Winnemucca Lake on our way up to Round Top Lake while the Lost Cabin Mine trail brings us the most Westernmost route up to the TYT at Round Top Lake.

This image is marked with
The two routes to Round Top Lake from Woods Lake.

See this short video that takes a look at the routes of these three routes to the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail on the South side of the Carson Gap.

One Route South along the Pacific Crest Trail
Hikers on the Pacific Crest Trail will ignore these 3 junctions bracketing Carson Pass while hiking the PCT South to and through Carson Pass on our way to Ebbetts Pass.
The Carson Pass topo hiking map below shows us 2 of these 3 trail junctions, while the map of the Mokelumne Wilderness gives us a broader context of the differences between the PCT and TYT routes on their respective Eastern and Western flank routes down to Highway 4.

Compare the Classic routes of the Tahoe to Yosemite and Pacific Crest Trails across the Carson Pass Management Area and the Mokelumne Wilderness to determine which route best suites your skill and fitness levels.

The TYT route has unmaintained segments that can present physical and navigation challenges.

Looking South through the Carson Gap
out of
The Lake Tahoe Basin
Round Top and The Sisters through Carson Gap with the pond in foreground
View South of Round Top and The Sisters through Carson Gap
Round Top & The Sisters, through the Carson Gap Elephant Rock, Looking through the Carson Gap
  View of Round Top and The Sisters through Carson Gap later in Spring Time with the Carson Gap Pond in the foreground.

Above: looking Southeast at Elephant Back through the Carson Gap. The Winnemucca Lake junction on the PCT to the TYT at Round Top Lake sits below Elephant Back on the Pacific Crest Trail.

Carson Pass Region
Topo Backpacking Map
Carson Pass Road Map


The Mokelumne Wilderness
Topo Hiking Map

Click on the Black Dotted trail routes for detailed trail maps, click RED DOTS for location information.
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PCT-TYT
Options

hiking
South
from
Highway 88

East and West Flanks
of the
The Mokelumne Wilderness

Section 2
East Flank

Pacific Crest Trail

PCT

Carson Pass
to
Ebbetts Pass

 

Eastern
Mokelumne Wilderness

 

Trail Guide Pages
Carson Pass Trailhead

 

Carson Pass to Forestdale Divide

 

Forestdale Divide to Blue Lakes Road

 

Along the Mokelumne Wilderness Boundary

 

Raymond Lake Trail Junction

 

Raymond Lake Junction to Ebbetts Pass

 

Ebbetts Pass

 

 

 

 

 

 

PCT
Topo Maps

Carson Gap to Ebbetts Pass Map
Click black and red dots.

 

Carson Pass Region Backpacking Map

 

Mokelumne Wilderness Topo Hiking Map
Click red and black dots.

 

Carson Pass Road Map

 

 

 

Map Index
PCT
Topo Hiking Trail Maps
LIST

Carson Pass to Ebbetts Pass
PCT Maps List

 

 

 

Miles and Elevations
PCT
Carson Pass to Ebbetts Pass

 

 

 

 

Videos
Carson Pass to Ebbetts Pass

 

 

 

 

Permits
Toiyabe National Forest

 

Carson Pass Management Area

 

 

Trail Forums
Carson Pass to Ebbetts Pass PCT

 

 

One Route South
on the
PCT
Southbound backpackers hiking the Pacific Crest Trail to Ebbetts Pass will stay on the main trail route through the Carson Gap.
The Southbound PCT hiker passes the first two unmarked Tahoe to Yosemite Trail junctions on the South flank of the Carson Gap continuing South on the PCT to Carson Pass.

We'll first enter the Northern Trailhead and parking lot, which sports toilets and garbage cans, 'though no water. Water is in short supply at the Carson Pass Trailheads and at the Carson Pass Cabin.

The Carson Pass Area Backpacker Map depicts the PCT route out hiking of the Tahoe Basin through the Carson Gap and Pass on its way South to Ebbetts Pass.

The Carson Pass Cabin on the PCT
Carson Pass Cabin
I've always met nice folks working here.

Hike Both Routes!

The PCT vs. The TYT

Both routes are worthy of our attention.

The PCT
Because the PCT route is heavily used and fairly well maintained it is a better route for less skilled backpackers and new visitors to the Sierras.

The TYT
The TYT is not heavily used, it is not going to be maintained at all for another ten years, more than likely. It has uncharacteristically received some work between 2011 and 2013.
The TYT provides a moderately-high degree of physical and navigational challenges.

The TYT is an unmaintained route from Horse Canyon to Camp Irene. difficult segments of the route can be found beyond or before Camp Irene, depending on the damages of the Spring Thaw and the fertility of tree and plant growth.

The TYT route is rougher, hiking through much more isolated terrain. Its difficult navigation and extra physical requirements demanded by the unmaintained section of the trail between Summit City Creek and Camp Irene make it a much more difficult route than the PCT from Carson to Ebbetts Pass.

NOTE
The Tahoe to Yosemite Trail route requires greater backpacking skill, navigational knowledge and skills, and superior fitness than hiking maintained trails demands.

The Tahoe to Yosemite Trails Forum has a section of backpacker submitted trail conditions updates for the past few hiking seasons along the the unmaintained segment of the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail through both Summit City Creek and the untrailed segment through Saint Marys Pass.

Refer to it for current information, update to it after you hike through.

 

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Section 2a
West Flank

Tahoe to Yosemite Trail

TYT

Carson Gap
to
Lake Alpine

 

Western
Mokelumne Wilderness

 

Trail Guide Pages
Carson Gap to Woods Lake TYT

 

Round Top Lake

 

Fourth of July Lake

 

Summit City Creek

 

Telephone Gulch

 

Granite Flat to Lower Ford

 

Camp Irene

 

Mount Reba

 

Lake Alpine

 

 

TYT
Topo Maps

Echo Summit to Lake Alpine Map
Click red and black dots.

 

Carson Pass Region Backpacking Map

 

Mokelumne Wilderness Topo Hiking Map
Click red and black dots.

 

Carson Pass Road Map

 

 

Map Index
TYT
Topo Hiking Trail Maps
LIST

Carson Gap to Lake Alpine
TYT Maps List

 

 

 

Miles and Elevations
TYT
Carson Gap to Lake Alpine TYT

 

 

 

 

Videos
Carson Gap to Lake Alpine

 

3 TYT Routes to Round Top Lake from the Carson Gap

 

 

Permits
El Dorado National Forest

Carson Pass Management Area

 

 

 

Trail Forums
Carson Gap to Lake Alpine

 

 

3 Routes South
to the
Southbound TYT

Southbound backpackers encounter the first of two unmarked trail junctions just feet South of where we exit the Tahoe Basin through the Carson Gap.
At the base of the descent from Carson Gap we encounter the second unmarked trail junction along the PCT where the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail breaks off to the Southwest.
These first two unmarked junction are about a mile North of Carson Pass.
Our last chance to turn Southwest onto the TYT is through the Winnemucca Lake trail junction a mile South of Carson Pass.

TYT Shortcuts
Proceed down mountain from below the Carson Gap on either of these two faint unmarked TYT trail shortcuts which intersect before they drop down to cross Highway 88.
From Highway 88 we hike towards Woods Lake along the dirt access road. Near Woods Lake we have a choice between two well marked trail routes up to Round Top Lake, the Center and Western routes.

Center and Western TYT Routes

The Center Route turns East (Left) across a footbridge just North of Woods Lake. This trail tracks South to pass by Winnemucca Lake, where it turns West for the short climb up to Round Top Lake. This would be the Center Route.

The Western Route is the Lost Cabin Mine trail, which begins behind the Woods Lake car campground off to our West, our Right. This route is more direct but steeper, and approaches Round Top Lake from the North. This Western Route is the most direct route to the top of Round Top and the Sisters.

If we passed the first two unmarked trail TYT junctions below the Carson Gap hiking to Carson Pass we can still follow the 3rd and final Tahoe to Yosemite Trail junction from the Winnemucca Lake Junction.
The Winnemucca Lake Junction is a mile South of Carson Pass along the Pacific Crest Trail route.
This would be the Eastern Route.

All three of these routes intersect at the point pictured below, at the Round Top Lake trail junction.

Our Southbound TYT proceeds South around the Western Shoulder of the Sisters from the Round Top Lake trail junction, the Right side of the image below, to find our descent into the unmaintained TYT route through Summit City Canyon.

Round Top Lake, Carson Pass Mangement Area
TYT route passing by Round Top Lake in late Spring
rimmed with an icy apron, Carson Pass Management Area.

Passing around the Right side of the Lake and mountain flank in the image above we bend Southwest around the descending crest.
Summit City Creek in its grand granite canyon will come into view as we rotate around to the South side of Round Top and the Sisters.

The Carson Pass Area Backpacker Map depicts our various Tahoe to Yosemite Trail routes from the Carson Gap up to Round Top Lake and into Summit City Canyon across the Carson Pass Management Area.

 

Our
Next
Resupply Point
South

Lake Alpine
on
Highway 4
The Lake Alpine Lodge

Deck dining at The Lake Alpine Lodge
Lake Alpine Lodge.

Contact Information
Lake Alpine Lodge, Highway 4

Lake Alpine Lodge
4000 Highway 4
PO Box 5060
Bear Valley, CA 95223

(209) 753-6350

Lake Alpine Lodge's Website

 

Lake Alpine Road Map

 

Tahoe to Whitney about
Lake Alpine Resupply

 

Lake Alpine Lodge

 

Lake Alpine Lodge
Backpacker Resupply page

 

A stunningly-beautiful man-made lake on Highway 4 sporting a rustic lodge with really friendly folks on its Southwest shore.

Lake Alpine Lodge offers a free resupply service for long distance backpackers, a Bar, an expensive very high quality restaurant, a reasonable bar menu, a car-camper store, showers, laundry, and the nicest local folks working here.

The only stipulation for Lake Alpine managing your resupply is that the package must be sent via UPS.

 

See the Lake Alpine Backpacker Resupply page for the specifics and contact information.

Trail Guide
Information
for
Lake Alpine
backpackers

Trail Guide Page

 

Miles and Elevations

 

Lake Alpine Hiking Map

 

Lake Alpine Road Map

 

Map North
Mokelumne Wilderness

Map South
Carson-Iceberg Wilderness

 

Resupply Information

Lake Alpine Lodge, Bear Valley, and Arnold

Excellent Local Information

Ebbetts Pass National Scenic Byway

Kicking Back Time at Lake Alpine Lodge
The Lake Alpine Lodge

Lake Alpine Lodge overlooking West shore of Lake Alpine, deck seating for eating.

Resupply Information
and

Road Directions

 

Lake Alpine Lodge

Great Views
Lake Alpine from Mount Reba, Stanislaus National Forest

Above: A glimpse of the beauty of Lake Alpine just after coming over the top of Mount Reba.

 

Lake Alpine Lodge

.75 of a mile West of Tahoe Yosemite Trail where the TYT crosses Highway 4 at the Bee Gulch Trailhead.

It is a 15 mile hitch hike West of where the Pacific Crest Trail crosses Highway 4 at Ebbetts Pass.

Road Map

Lake Alpine accepts and will hold your resupply packages sent through UPS for you for free.

 

Great Food-Services
Great breakfast at the Lake Alpine Lodge on Highway 4.

Above: A glimpse of the great food at Lake Alpine which tastes extra good after hiking up and over Mount Reba hiking the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail.

 


Bear Valley
Great Neighbors
Bear Valley, Highway 4
Above: Distinctive Bear Valley Road sign. We can't miss it!
 

Bear Valley Deli

3 miles West of Lake Alpine on Highway 4.
Store, Deli, Post Office, and some limited backpacking gear at the sports shop.

The owner and staff are real nice folks, as are most of the local folks up here.

Bear Valley Deli and Grocery, Alpine County, California. Great Folks at BV
Denise Carter of Bear Valley Deli and Grocery.
Above: Distinctive Bear Valley Folks, as well as the terrain and signs... Denise Carter owns and operates the Bear Valley Deli and Grocery.

 


Arnold

Suzie's Diner
Suzie's Diner in Arnold has great food.
Above: Michelle, the totally excellent waitress at Suzie's Diner in Arnold, serves us up some Great Food and Service. Real nice folks up here in Arnold.
Check out Suzie's when you are driving up to the Sierra Crest on Highway 4.

 

 

Full Service
Regional Center


Medical, Transportation, Grocery, and Gear about forty miles West of Lake Alpine down Highway 4.

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FURTHER
South
on the
Trail Guide

Trail Guide
INDEX
SOUTH

See
Highway 4
to

Highway 108
Trails Index
To the South
Carson Iceberg Wilderness Map
Topo Hiking Map

 


Trails Index
Trail Guide Index
Trail Guide Home Page
Trailhead

 

Contact
Alex Wierbinski

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Lake Tahoe to Mount Whitney

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