Sunday, July 20, 2014

From Frog Lake to Winnemucca Lake

Winnemucca Lake with snow fields and Round Top cliffs
Picturesque Winnemucca Lake is located 2.4 hiking miles southwest of the Carson Pass Information Center. To get to this alpine lake, hikers and backpackers follow short sections of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) and the Tahoe-Yosemite Trail (TYT). If you haven't been on any section of these long-distance trails before, the trail from Carson Pass via Frog Lake to Winnemucca Lake is your chance to take your first steps on both trails—and possibly meet heavily packed PCT or TYT thru-hikers.

According to hiking-blogger Liz, the popular Carson-Pass-to-Winnemucca-Lake trip is an easy hike with many opportunities to take wildflower pictures [1]. The path from Frog Lake to Winnemucca Lake traverses open hillsides northwest of the Elephants Back lava dome, a landscape “brimming with vibrant, colorful wildflowers. Scarlet gilia, Indian paintbrush, blue flax, sierra lilies, and numerous other species are scattered as far as the eye can see. As the trail edges along the western flank of Elephant's Back, there are a few flowing streams and wet areas where you can encounter lupine, columbine, monkeyflower, and, if you're lucky, small blue butterflies called Melissa Blues.” [2]

Winnemucca Lake is backdropped by Round Top, an ancient craggy volcanic vent. During spring snowmelt, water runs and falls down its dark cliffs into the lake. From its outlet at the northwest corner, you may want to continue your hike by climbing up and experience the next-higher-elevation lake—Round Top Lake.

As with the name “Frog Lake” (compare Frog Lake in the Mokelumne Wilderness with Frog Lake east of Castle Peak), the name “Winnemucca Lake” is ambiguous. There has been a shallow Winnemucca Lake on the dividing line between Washoe and Pershing counties in Nevada, which now is a dry lake bed [3]; still called Winnemucca Lake when it seasonably fills up with some water.

References and more to explore
[1] Liz: Carson Pass to Winnemucca Lake: Mokelumne Wilderness.
[2] Pinnacle Lake Tahoe Getaways: Carson Pass to Winnemucca Lake - Lake Tahoe Hiking Trails.
[3] Wikipedia: Winnemucca Lake. (accessed July 20, 2014).

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