If you’re looking for a challenging hike, specifically towards the end to reach the peak, the hike from Carson Pass trailhead to Round Top Peak could be just what you need. Round Top Peak is at an elevation of 10,381 feet and located in the Carson Wilderness high above Lake Winnemucca. Starting at the Carson Pass Trailhead will give you about a nine mile round trip hike with an elevation gain of about 1,821 feet. From the peak you can see a vast wilderness with Kirkwood ski lifts to the southwest and Caples Lake to the west.
You’ll start at the Carson Pass trailhead initially going through firs and hemlocks. Not far into the hike you will see Frog Lake on the left. After passing the lake on the left, you’ll continue a bit further down the trail heading south past Elephant’s Back. The trail starts to open up with beautiful wildflowers and you’ll see Winnemucca Lake on the left. It’s a smaller, but absolutely gorgeous lake below the peak of Round Top. From there, the peak looks a bit intimidating. You will continue forward starting to gain some elevation now and pass Round Top Lake on the right. Once you pass Round Top Lake, the steepness starts to increase drastically. There’s an initial steep section of small loose rock which can be dangerous to the saddle. After you reach the saddle, it is a scramble to the top of the peak with loose rock so be extremely careful. It’s steep!
A few of my friends and I hiked to Round Top Peak this past summer. What a great experience! Below are some pictures. Enjoy!
It was a super fun and challenging hike towards the end near the peak. It is totally worth it and easy to get to as well! So, from South Lake Tahoe you’ll want to take 89/Luther Pass and make a right onto 88/Carson Pass. Continue down 88 until you reach the Sno-Park parking lot on the left. To park you will need to pay $3/vehicle. Below is a map of the area and the trailhead. In the map, the trail starts at 7. You’ll go 7 to 5, 5 to 3, and 3 to 4 which is Round Top Peak.
The hike can actually be done in the winter as well, and from what I hear is a great advanced ski/snowboard descent. Unfortunately, I’ve currently only experienced it in the summer, but maybe next winter I’ll get out and give it a try! With that said, the views and overall experience make this a great hike, so get outside and do it this summer! If you’ve tackled Round Top Peak or experienced other hikes around that area make a comment below! Also, follow me on twitter @sberei!