This is a beautiful hike with a small destination lake in 4th of July Lake. The lake has a beautiful cliff backdrop and lays at an elevation of about 8,100 feet. This is actually several feet below the elevation halfway into the hike as 4th of July Lake is set down a steep trail. The hike is about 10 miles round trip with beautiful views of Round Top Peak, several lakes and pretty wildflowers in the summer.
I hiked to 4th of July Lake with several of my friends in early August this summer. We got a pretty late start around 10am. The hike starts at Carson Pass where there is a trailhead next to the Ranger Station. So, we started on the path a little over a mile into the hike and you’ll see Frog Lake on the left. It’s a very small lake and the first mile or so is a gradual climb. You’ll continue to climb gradually on the hike until you come to where you can go left towards Elephant’s Back. Make sure to keep straight there and you will run into Winnemucca Lake. From there look straight ahead and Round Top Peak sores above you. I’ve hiked to Round Top Peak in the past and it’s quite a strenuous hike. You can find more information on that hike in one of my previous posts here. Check out some pictures of the first half of our hike!
From Winnemucca Lake follow the path up the open trail towards Round Top Lake. Make sure to bring sun screen as the sun can beam down pretty hard on you in this section. It wasn’t too terribly hot for our day however. You’ll gain a decent amount of elevation until you reach Round Top Lake. If you were to go left here that would take you to Round Top Peak. If you were to go right, that would take you to Woods Lake. The lake expressed some seriously sweet colors. It was this blue green color that amazed all of us! Check out some more pictures.
After Round Top Lake, follow the trail straight where it flattens for a bit and we actually saw a few patches of snow. As we went further in, probably around 4 miles in at this point, the trail steeply drops off towards 4th of July Lake. It actually drops from about 9,200 feet to lake level around 8,100 feet, so it’s quite the hike back up once you reach the lake. We made it to the lake which is surrounded by mountains and cliffs on all sides except to the South where it drops 1,000 feet into Summit City Canyon. Below are more pictures!
Getting to the trailhead is simple a little ways outside of the Lake Tahoe Basin towards Kirkwood. From Nevada or South Lake Tahoe, travel towards the “Y” and make a left towards Meyers. Continue until just before Echo Pass, where you will make a left onto Highway 89/Luther Pass. Follow that until the “T” and make a right onto Highway 88/Carson Pass. Travel up past Red Lake and Blue Lakes and you will see a Ranger Station and parking lot on the left. Pull in and parking will cost $3.
Hiking and camping at 4th of July Lake is pretty popular in the summer for anyone willing to hike the 5 miles to the lake. Whether it’s just for the day or you plan to spend a night or two, the lake is gorgeous and I’d suggest anyone with an open summer day to make the trek. Have you hiked to Winnemucca, Round Top or 4th of July Lakes? If so, make a comment below! Also, follow me on twitter @sberei!