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Winnemucca Lake and Elephant's Back

Intermediate

Trail

6.8 mile 11.0 kilometer loop
Intermediate

Elevation

Ascent: 1,112' 339 m
Descent: -1,111' -339 m
High: 9,570' 2,917 m
Low: 8,554' 2,607 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 6% (4°)
Max Grade: 41% (22°)

Dogs

Leashed
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Trail shared by Donna Endacott

In winter, bring snowshoes or cross country skis to climb to stunning views at the top of the Sierras.

Donna Endacott

Features Lake · Views

Overview

If you want to see the top of the world, or at least the Sierra Nevada range, this is the hike. Several lakes and several peaks can be accessed from the trailhead.

Need to Know

Parking requires a Sno-Park pass during the winter. The lot is small, so arrive early.

Description

This year-round hike begins easily, on a fairly level trail which climbs at various places. Some sections of the narrow trail wind under scattered stands of pine before opening to broad vistas of treeline meadows or ridge-top sky views. Winnemucca Lake offers many lunch sites with comfortable boulder seating.

From there hikers can opt to climb to Elephant's Back or to Round Top Lake on the Elephant's Back Route Spur. This short out-and-back add-on will treat you to more impressive views. Once you are done enjoying the scenery, simply retrace your steps and head back to the way you came.

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Family Friendly, ADA Accessible, Flora & Fauna, History & Background

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Check-Ins

Oct 22, 2019
Jennifer H
Easy hike with a beautiful lake at the end. However, the trail to Elephant's Back was non existent. We headed to Round Top Lake instead. 10.3mi — 5h 25m
Jun 30, 2018
Jake Swisher

Trail Ratings

  3.7 from 3 votes

#1

in Carson Pass

#3834

Overall
  3.7 from 3 votes
5 Star
0%
4 Star
67%
3 Star
33%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
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Hike Rankings

#1

in Carson Pass

#571

in California

#3,834

Overall
21 Views Last Month
1,035 Since Apr 16, 2018
Intermediate

0%
33%
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67%
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Photos

Destination Round Top etched and Lake Winnecucca covered by April's snow.
Apr 16, 2018 near South L…, CA
View to north from top of Elephant Back.
Apr 16, 2018 near South L…, CA
Dropping our snowshoes and hiking to the ridge of Elephant Back ridge.
Apr 16, 2018 near South L…, CA
The midmorning sun lights up the branches of an old snag, one of a few along this trail.
Apr 16, 2018 near South L…, CA
Lake Winnemucca, covered in ice and snow, makes a beautiful lunch spot.
Apr 16, 2018 near South L…, CA
Late April snow nearly buried the sign at the beginning of the trail.
Apr 16, 2018 near South L…, CA

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