I'm a little low on water, and eager to take a break. For fishing regulations, go to http://www.dfg.ca.gov/fishing/, For fishing regulations go to http://www.dfg.ca.gov/fishing/. Our campsite at sunset along the New Army Trail on the Cottonwood Lakes Loop. WHERE: About 225 miles (4 hours) north of Los Angeles. The hike starts from the Cottonwood Lakes Campground, already at 10,000 feet, so your car does most of the legwork to get you to altitude. The green meadows in the Cottonwood Lakes Basin looking towards Cirque Peak. Side trails branch to Muir Lake, Hidden Lake, South Fork Lakes, Cirque Lake. View from the Army Pass Trail to the Cottonwood Lakes Basin. On the way back up to Army Pass, you’ll visit the Rock Creek Lake camping area (also great for wading). The summit of Mt Langley (14,026 feet) is a worthy side-trip to the Cottonwood Lakes Loop Backpacking Trip. RECOMMENDED HIKE: A strenuous 27-mile loop follows Horseshoe Meadow via Cottonwood Pass trailhead to Rock Creek along the Pacific Crest Trail, then up the creek, over 12,400-foot New Army Pass, and then exiting through Cottonwood Pass trailhead in Golden Trout Wilderness. Photo by Liz Thomas. Your return route from Cottonwood Lakes is on the right. Patagonia Active Briefs and Patagonia Essential Boxer Briefs, featured in our Urban Hiking Packing List. This is a list of what we carried on the Cottonwood Pass Loop. Cottonwood Lakes Basin limits overnight use to 60 people/day from May 1-November 1, with 60 reserved for advance permits and the rest as walk-ups. Whitney alternative hike with easier-to-get permits, this loop just south of that famous area gives you a taste of the Sierra high country without the hassle. It requires watching a short video and is printable at home. The trail turns west and at around 4.5 miles you enter an open meadow with excellent views of the Sierra Crest ahead. We describe the hike in the Trip Description as hiked clockwise (the direction we went), but counter-clockwise is an option, too. For information and reservations, call (760) 878-2015. Cottonwood Lakes Basin limits overnight use to 60 people/day from May 1-November 1, with 60 reserved for advance permits and the rest as walk-ups. Follow US 395 north to Lone Pine. They’re lightweight, comfortable, and easy to inflate without taking much volume in our pack. The Squeeze is the overall winner in our Best Backpacking Filters story. Where to Go, Backpacking Trip Guide, Backpacking Trip Ideas, Trip Ideas, Backpacking Trips, Route Description, Trip Ideas, washington, cascades, pacific northwest backpacking, washington backpacking, wonderland trail, rainier national park, Sierra, Backpacking Trips, Route Description, Trip Ideas, oregon, oregon trips, backpacking trips, Best Satellite Messengers and Personal Locator beacons story, Sunday Afternoons Ultralight Adventure Hat. Even though California mountains are known for relatively good weather with less rain than other ranges, you should always carry rain gear and extra layers for cold evenings and chilly mornings. Dispose of trash in bear proof trash receptacles. It’s one of the easiest 14ers to climb as nothing is technical, but can still be dangerous in snow or if you find yourself off route (easy to do as there are many use trails). The Cottonwood Lakes are home to California's state fish, the Golden Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss aguabonita). Just label them with your name and re-entry date. 351 Pacu Lane
Both will be in our upcoming Best Sunshirts story. There is no additional cost to you and the decision to buy something is up to you. Hiking trails connect the three, so depending on how crowded any given parking lot is, you can always choose a lot with more spots. Cottonwood Lakes Trailhead Campground. Aim to hike after the snow has melted—usually late June or July. 86% Upvoted. Sky Blue Lake This hike extends beyond Lower Soldier Lake up Miter Basin to a deep blue lake … Each parking lot has metal bear storage boxes. The major downside of going clockwise is the big climb up Old Army Pass. Of course, keeping the road short keeps the people out, making the Cottonwood Lakes region quiet and remote. If going counter-clockwise, it may be worth considering taking New Army Pass instead (see next variation). Because of the regulations require a bear canister, we brought a Bear Vault 450 for this trip. The PCT from the junction from Cottonwood Pass to Upper Rock Creek Lake was alos clear of snow, good trail conditions. From the Cottonwood Pass trailhead, follow signs to a 4-way signed junction ⅓ of a mile in. Because the route is at such a high altitude, having adequate sun protection was important. Both the Egret and Swallow are our Overall Winners in our Best Sleeping Bags story. Each of us carried 2-3 Pair socks. Located in California's beautiful eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains, Inyo National Forest offers challenging trails, high mountain peaks, and unparalleled views. Continue on and pass Cottonwood Lake Three on your left and then end at Cottonwood Lakes Four and Five. Purple Rain Adventure Skirt / REI Sahara Hiking Pants. The Cottonwood Lakes Loop has opportunities for swimming, soaking, and fishing in the Cottonwood Lakes Basin and other lakes along the hike. Whitney area that we would’ve loved to identify. save hide report. Backpacking Cottonwood Lakes Loop & SummitIng Mount Langley - Inyo National Forest. There were several lakes and peaks just north of us in the Mt. Cottonwood Lakes Trailhead. It’s lightweight, has the easiest to use lighting system we’ve seen, and feels sturdy even in wind. Cottonwood Lakes Trailhead Campground is located at the end of Horseshoe Meadow Road in the Inyo National Forest. The Cottonwood Lakes Trail gives you easy access to Mt Langley. We will be seeing 8 of the high alpine Cottonwood Lakes in the Eastern Sierra Neva Outside of the park, dogs must be leashed. Stay straight through shaded, relatively flat trail across the expansive Horseshoe Meadow—a green and inviting flat area rare in the Sierra. We’re big fans of Tom Harrison Maps, which are easy to read and ground-truthed for accuracy. The map displayed above is for illustrative purposes only. Good for swimming, lunching, and leisuring. Langley, Old Army gives you more direct access. New Army has better-maintained switchbacks. Sat, Jun 17, 2017, 8:00 AM: This hike is approximately 12 miles round trip with an elevation gain of about 1250 feet. How to find us. At the trailhead, all food, trash and scented items must be removed from vehicles and stored in the bear proof lockers that are located in parking areas. Explore Inyo National Forest - Wilderness Permits in Inyo National Forest, California with Recreation.gov. Maximum group size in Miter Basin/ Mt. After 3.7 miles and a few short switchbacks, you’ll reach the Pacific Crest Trail. Langley. Langley, Cirque Peak and the Pacific Crest Trail. From Lone Pine, you’ll have to hitchhike to get up to the pass (but it’s relatively easy as most traffic on that road is headed your direction). I keep heading down, crossing another, much flatter snowfield, heading toward the blue jewels of the cottonwood lakes. We carried Tom Harrison’s Golden Trout Wilderness Trails Topo Map. Whitney and doesn’t require permits, Mt. Every effort is made to provide accurate and up to date information, but we cannot be responsible for errors or for changes that may have occurred since publication. 100% Upvoted. We carried the Biolite 330 and Black Diamond Spot 325 on this trip. If you’re looking for a Mt. Here are a few pics of the area: Cottonwood Lakes Trails Trip Report, August 17 2013. Here is an example of an early season two day trip. Whitney High Country Trail map. We like both of them so much that they’re also in our gift guides. The half dozen Cottonwood Lakes are clustered in a basin at the foot of 14,032-foot Mount Langley. See our Make Your Own Emergency Kit story. Campfires are prohibited at Chicken Spring Lake. Be sure to check what is written on your permit and talk to the ranger about conditions before you go. Head east on Main St out of town, on Flowery Trail Road, toward the ski resort of 49 Degrees North. They can be reserved six months in advance. Turn left onto Horseshoe Meadow Road and take it all the way up the mountain for 19.5 miles. Close. 5. Follow US 395 north to Lone Pine. This lightweight and affordable pot is our Overall Winner in our Best Backpacking Cooking pots story and the spoon is in our Backpacking Essential Accessories story. Langley track to be useful to have on our phones. If coming from the North, Copper BBQ in Big Pine is divine (for the meat eaters out there). Head north through pine forests along Cottonwood Creek. Both are top Overall Picks in our Best Headlamps story. Obtain permits at any Inyo National Forest visitor center. The trail turns west and at around 4.5 miles you enter an open meadow with excellent views of the Sierra Crest ahead. While we didn’t have the second map, we really wish we did. You get a nice high start, and the trail is excellent. But fear not, we don't allow our judgment to be influenced by these arrangements! Lower Rock Creek Camp has bear boxes (and a rumored toilet, though I have yet to find it). To Lakes #4 and #5. Later in the season, these sources are reliable: Rock Creek (almost the entire length that you walk by it), Cottonwood Creek (the entire length that you walk by it). We both used the Neo Air XLite sleeping pads on this trip—one in short and one in 6-foot length. Between May 1 and Nov. 1, overnight use is limited to 60 people / day. You’ll find streamlets flowing everywhere. Below is what we wore on the Cottonwood Pass Loop. Lone Pine, CA. Suite 200
share. We’re ad-free and have no sponsored content. In retrospect, I feel like we missed out on enjoying that area by hiking clockwise. Turn left and continue up on the windy, narrow, and big drop-off Horseshoe Meadow Road for 16 miles. A variation of this trip uses New Army Pass to avoid the snow of Old Army Pass early in the seasons. Right after hopping across Rock Creek, turn right following signs for the Army Pass Trail. Miter Basin. Be sure to carry the right map and compass. It also dries quickly and is warm even when wet. At 3rd Lake, I cut left off the trail to find Muir Lake, just because. Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park requires that you store food, garage, and smellables like toiletries in a bear canister. Vault toilet at trailhead. It crosses a plateau. Permits are limited. The Montbell Chameece Cap with Earwarmers is warm for its weight and packs down well. If you’re early in the season or even hiking in August during a big snow year, New Army is a better bet. SUMMIT. Parking was free and the Silver Lake… Nestled in a quiet basin only a stone’s throw from Snoqualmie Pass, pristine Mirror Lake is a destination to be enjoyed by the whole family. Photo by Liz Thomas. From there, the Cottonwood Lakes Trail gently makes its way through pristine alpine terrain to a series of several crystal-clear alpine lakes, all in the shadow of the high Sierra peaks like Mt Langley. As an inline filter working with our Platypus Hosers, they give us on-demand filtered water. Thank you for supporting us! The trail is primarily used for hiking, running, and nature trips and is best used from June until October. We intended to be on a leisurely, lake inspired 7 day loop trip into the wilderness from Cottonwood Pass to Cottonwood Lakes, stopping at every lake along the way to float lazily on the water, bask in the sun, nap on rocks, pretend to fish when we're really just going to be watching the fish, camp and catch the Perseid Meteor Shower that was going to peak in the middle of the week. This is a moderate loop trail to Old Army Pass in Sequoia National Park. There are trails and/or use-trails to all the lakes in the Cottonwood Lakes Basin (which can sometimes get confusing). From Old Army Pass, take a well worn sandy trail heading to the north. Sequoia-Kings Canyon does not allow dogs. As the 9th highest peak in California, it’s also one of the easiest 14ers to climb. The Loop which can lead you to 5 lakes, starts from Horseshoe Meadow and travels from the Golden Trout Wilderness into John Muir Wilderness. We recommend using maps (see more below on which maps we recommend) and a compass in addition to a GPS phone mapping app like Gaia GPS. We also found a GPS app pre-loaded with the Mt. This is a great place to camp and get in some swimming. This trail goes by Cottonwood Pass, 11,000 Feet, Entrance to Chicken Spring Lake, Viewpoint 11,500ft., Soldier Lake, Mount Langley, Cottonwood Lake #4, Cottonwood Lake #3, Cottonwood Lake #1, and Muir Lake. Depending on where you parked, take the trail to the Equestrian Camp Parking Lot and then down to your car at the Cottonwood Pass Trailhead. Old Army Pass sits at the west end of 4th Lake. At 10,000 feet in elevation, Cottonwood Lakes Trailhead Campground makes a good place to spend a night before setting off into the John Muir Wilderness and Sequoia National Park. Langley squeaks by as one of California’s 12 peaks that are 14,000 feet or more. Stay on the PCT as it contours through twisted foxtail pine forest, resembling an Ansel Adams photograph. We used the Feathered Friends Egret (women’s) and Feathered Friends Swallow (men’s) on this backpacking trip. They’re comparable in length, though New Army is slightly longer and more elevation gain (but not by much). share. Whitney alternative. This means you can access the alpine country with less climbing and elevation gain than if you started at lower trailheads. They're both among the lightest full sleeping bags out there but very warm for their weight. Best to time your trip to avoid snow on Old Army Pass and/or mosquitos, Cottonwood Lake #1 and Old Army Pass on the Cottonwood Lakes Loop. All these lakes were big and beautiful with a mixture of forested and rocky shores, each worthy of their own trip. For more information about traveling in bear bear country, click here... Map showing recreational areas. Just remember to hike from the same trailhead as your permit. August is usually a safe month for snow and may have fewer mosquitoes, though it will be warmer, and not all water sources may be flowing. Cottonwood Lakes Campground to Mount Langley is a 19.5 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Lone Pine, California that features a lake and is rated as difficult. Sharp granite cliffs rimmed this upper corner of Cottonwood Basin. We may receive a commission at no additional cost to you when you purchase through our links. RECOMMENDED HIKE: A strenuous 27-mile loop follows Horseshoe Meadow via Cottonwood Pass trailhead to Rock Creek along the Pacific Crest Trail, then up the creek, over 12,400-foot New Army Pass, and then exiting through Cottonwood Pass trailhead in Golden Trout Wilderness. From the Los Angeles area, take I-5 to CA-14 to US 395 north near Ridgecrest. Sharp granite cliffs rimmed this upper corner of Cottonwood Basin. You can also take the 210 to the 15 to US 395 north (hey, sometimes traffic can make one of those routes easier). There’s short detour use trails around the boulder that will get you back to the switchbacks. It’s exposed and can hold snow later into the season, but feels like an epic pass. Photo by Liz Thomas, Elevation gain/loss: 3901 feet/ -3890 feet. At Treeline, we want you to buy right the first time. The trail is 16 + miles roundtrip and traverses a mostly sandy bottom for the first 4 miles. This home was built in and last sold on for. We also used our TOAKS 750 L titanium pot and TOAKS long-handled spoon. From Memorial Day weekend through October 31, all food, trash and scented items must be stored in bear-proof containers. Photo by Liz Thomas. Common Destinations: Cottonwood Lakes basin, New Army Pass, John Muir Trail, Mount Langley, Cottonwood Lakes / New Army Pass Recreation Guide (pdf). 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