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

ALL
TYT-PCT
SOUTH

Mokelumne Wilderness Backpacking Map

PCT
NORTH SECTION
MAP


Carson Pass
to
Echo Summit

PCT Maps
INDEX
SOUTH

Carson Pass
to
Ebbetts Pass
MILES
and
ELEVATIONS

Carson Pass
to
Ebbetts Pass

30 Minute
MAP

SOUTH

Echo Summit
to
Lake Alpine

7.5 Minute
MAP
SOUTH


Summit City Creek
to
Bee Gulch

7.5 Minute
MAP

NORTH

Carson Pass
to
Echo Summit

MILES
and
ELEVATIONS

 Carson Gap
to
Lake Alpine

 

Decision
at the
 Carson Gap

Tahoe
to
Yosemite
Trail

Carson Gap
to
Woods Lake

Pacific Crest Trail

Carson Gap
to
Carson Pass

 

Tahoe to Yosemite Trail

Road Map

 

 

ALL
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

Mapology

MAP NOTE
Those squares breaking the USGS maps up into grids are the Universal Transverse Mercator / Military Grid Reference System, otherwise commonly known as UTM.

What's important for our general reference purpose is that each side of a square is 1000 meters, or a Kilometer.

From my point of view that is 1093.6 yards or .62 of a mile.

Diagonal: 1414.22 meters, if my trig is correct.

That converts the diagonal distance into 4,639.8 feet or .88 of a mile.

Map Information All Map Symbols
Common Map Symbols
Online and Trail Maps Online Length Conversion


     

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 in and around the CPMA.

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. Which route we take depends on if we are on our way South down the PCT towards Ebbetts Pass on Highway 4, or South on the TYT to Lake Alpine on Highway 4, but about 15 miles down the West flank.

We've got two significant hiking route options from Highway 88 across the Mokelumne Wilderness South to Highway 4.

The TYT Option
Southbound Tahoe to Yosemite Trail hikers break Southwest off 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 a bit further South leading to the TYT route. If we're hiking the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail our most direct route from the Carson Gap to the top of Round Top and the Sisters is to take this first trail hiking down to and across Highway 88 West of the Carson Pass to directly approach, ascend, and cross over to the Southwestern flank of Round Top and The Sisters into Summit City Canyon.

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

Unmaintained Trail
TYT hikers cross over Round Top and the Sisters to descend their Southwestern flank into Summit City Canyon. Once on the floor of the canyon we follow a compass point bending us to the Southwest within this grand granite canyon for the next 13 miles hiking from the top of Round Top down to our fording point across 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 again after crossing the North Mokelumne River to begin the climb over Mount Reba to our resupply point at Lake Alpine on Highway 4.

Well, as of 2013 the unmaintained trail North of the North Fork of the Mokelumne had more trail 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 this maintained segment of trail has some pretty sketchy sections full of dense manzanita. It was not too bad during the Fall of 2013.

Read the latest we have and post up your recent experiences:

TYT
Unmaintained Trail Updates and Reports

The PCT Option
The Pacific Crest Trail hiker stays on the main "superhighway" trail hiking South through Carson Gap down to Carson Pass. The route and direction of the PCT hiker is bending Southeast to put the trail in position to basically skirt around the Eastern edge of the Carson Pass Management Area and the main body of the Round Top and The Sisters massif. The PCT is positioning itself to hike South along the Eastern flank of the Sierra to Ebbetts Pass. The TYT crosses the heart of the CPMA on its way over to the Southwestern Flank of Round Top and the Sisters.

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

The Southbound routes of the PCT and TYT coming South out of the Lake Tahoe Basin split like the diverging prongs of a wishbone from their common exit point through the Cason Gap. The PCT tracks to the Southeast along the Eastern edge of the Mokelumne Wilderness while the TYT fist turns Southwest, then hikes South along its Western flank. Both routes South across the Mokelumne Wilderness are on their different routes to the Southern boundary of the Mokelumne Wilderness along Highway 4. The PCT crosses Highway 4 at Ebbetts Pass about 14 miles East of Lake Alpine, where the TYT crosses Highway 4 near our resupply spot at the Lake Alpine Lodge. The route of the TYT crosses Highway 4 through the Bee Gulch Trailhead on the Northwest corner of Lake Alpine about .75 of a mile East of the Lake Alpine Lodge.

The Tahoe to Yosemite Trail
Exiting the Tahoe Basin
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 first along a dirt road to the paved road to Woods Lake. Approaching Woods Lake we have two possible routes that can take us up to Round Top, the footbridge route to the East of Woods Lake or the Lost Cabin Mine route climbing around and above Woods Lake's Western shore.

After getting down to an abandoned trailhead along the North side of Highway 88 we will see a dirt road next to a utility building over on the South side of the highway, a corrugated garage painted black. Crossing Highway 88 and looking East up the dirt road towards Carson Pass we see that this dirt road from Carson Pass to Woods Lake parallels Highway 88 coming West down from Carson Pass, which sits to our Southbound hiking left, to our East. We follow this road to the Right, for about a half-mile to where this dirt road connects up with the short paved road South 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 the two most interesting and direct 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 out 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 sitting on 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 leads us to 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 our TYT trail option coming South from Carson Pass, and these unified trails turn West for the short climb up to the Round Top Lake trail junction.

I made a video describing these three routes from the Carson Gap to the Round Top Lake trail junction. The video gives us an overview of the terrain covered by the map above, and points out the location of the three routes from the Carson Gap up to the Round Top Lake trail junction.

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 from Woods Lake. We can either follow this "central" trail route across the footbridge up to Round Top via Winnemucca Lake, or take the shorter but steeper Western 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 if we are going down for a break at Woods Lake before crossing the footbridge. We quickly encounter the Woods Lake federal car campground off to our right.  Enter the camp through the main entrance, and at the top of the paved campground loop road we find a trail cutting up between the top two campsites to the old jeep road leading left, South 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. That's clicking the red dots on the marked routes.

The Lost Cabin Mine Trail intersects with the trail up from Winnemucca Lake at the Round Top Lake trail junction. The Round Top Lake trail junction is where all Tahoe to Yosemite Trail backpackers who hiked the 3 various routes up to Round Top Lake come together for the remainder of the hike South through the Mokelumne Wilderness to Lake Alpine.

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, staring at the lake sitting under the shadow of Round Top and The Sisters. This are a bunch of real nice place to sit and observe up on the Round Top and The Sisters Massif.

Down the Backside
Past the Round Top Lake trail junction the trail bends South and West taking 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 into Summit City Canyon opens up and we soon begin our descend down into Summit City Canyon. 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 Massif about halfway down to Summit City Creek. Fourth of July Lake is situated in a nice place to take another break from the impact of backpacking down the steep backside of Round Top.

Into Summit City Canyon
Below Fourth of July Lake we can see that Summit City Creek flows through its namesake massive glacial-cut granite canyon bending a grand arc to the Southwest on its way 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 bottom of Summit City 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.

Into the Heart of Darkness
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. See the map above for details.

Blue Lakes and Forestdale Divide
If we decided to take a left and trace out the line of 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 we can continue East up Summit City Creek to the trailhead at Upper Blue Lake.
Hiking out the Upper Blue Lake Trailhead we find the end of the dirt Forestdale Divide Road out from Highway 88 linking up with the end of the paved Blue Lakes Road, also out from Highway 88, meeting on 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.

There are no trails connecting the TYT and PCT once we get South of the Summit City Canyon trail junction on the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail.

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 essentially 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 the unique character across their very divergent routes. 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 top of Jack Main Canyon just within the most Northwestern corner of 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 to the East of Carson Pass.

East Flank Authority
An imaginary boundary follows the Sierra Crest South from the bottom of the Lake Tahoe Basin. East of this line we find the Toiyabe National Forest administers about everything South to Highway 120, all the 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 National Forest 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 the Carson Gap 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 NF 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 will now remain within the Stanislaus National Forest all the way down to Yosemite.

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 onto Highway 4 at the Northeastern corner of the shore of Lake Alpine.
Crossing Highway 4 Southbound brings us into the Stanislaus NF administered Carson-Iceberg Wilderness.

Well, it will as we hike South away from the Highway and facilities around Lake Alpine. Here we are once again on an island of civilization amidst the seas of mountain 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 to 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

Common Map Symbols

All Map Symbols

Carson Pass Trail Guide Page
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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