Cottonwood Lakes? | High Sierra Topix  

Cottonwood Lakes?

If you've been searching for the best source of information and stimulating discussion related to Spring/Summer/Fall backpacking, hiking and camping in the Sierra Nevada...look no further!
User avatar

Cottonwood Lakes?

Postby IncredibleHuck » Tue Aug 14, 2012 10:02 am

Hey guys. New to the site and also to backpacking.

One of my first trips here will be going to the Cottonwood Lakes. However my friend that i'm hiking with thinks that a Fri-Sat-Sun trip would not give us enough time for that area. How long of a hike is it from the trailhead back in to the lakes? 2-3 miles I think I read.

I figure if we would to leave Thursday night, stay the night in the parking lot and in the morning Hike to the lakes. That should give us plenty of time to set up camp that day, and fish Friday and Saturday.

Do you guys think this is a good hike for two rookies into Backpacking? I've hiked into the Little Lakes Valley just for day hikes, and that was no problem.



User avatar
IncredibleHuck
Topix Novice
 
Posts: 11
Joined: Wed Aug 08, 2012 10:23 am
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Cottonwood Lakes?

Postby markskor » Tue Aug 14, 2012 11:01 am

IncredibleHuck wrote:Hey guys. New to the site and also to backpacking.

One of my first trips here will be going to the Cottonwood Lakes. However my friend that i'm hiking with thinks that a Fri-Sat-Sun trip would not give us enough time for that area. How long of a hike is it from the trailhead back in to the lakes? 2-3 miles I think I read.


More like 6 miles from Horseshoe Meadows to the Cottonwoods...also, you are at altitude so allow 3+ hours HM to Cottonwoods... fairly level/all trail/not much altitude gained, but...


IncredibleHuck wrote:Do you guys think this is a good hike for two rookies into Backpacking?

Nice intro hike...dynamic scenery and the possibilitly of good fishing prospects. BTW, there are specific fishing regs at the Cottonwoods...all barb-less only and only at one lake of the 5 (varies each year which one... check the regs for this year?) can you keep a 5-fish limit.
Mountainman who swims with trout
User avatar
markskor
Founding Member & Forums Administrator
Founding Member & Forums Administrator
 
Posts: 2047
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2005 5:41 pm
Location: Mammoth Lakes
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Cottonwood Lakes?

Postby IncredibleHuck » Tue Aug 14, 2012 11:09 am

markskor wrote:
IncredibleHuck wrote:Hey guys. New to the site and also to backpacking.

One of my first trips here will be going to the Cottonwood Lakes. However my friend that i'm hiking with thinks that a Fri-Sat-Sun trip would not give us enough time for that area. How long of a hike is it from the trailhead back in to the lakes? 2-3 miles I think I read.


More like 6 miles from Horseshoe Meadows to the Cottonwoods...also, you are at altitude so allow 3+ hours HM to Cottonwoods... fairly level/not much altitude gained, but...


IncredibleHuck wrote:Do you guys think this is a good hike for two rookies into Backpacking?

Nice intro hike...dynamic scenery and the possibilitly of good fishing prospects. BTW, there are specific fishing regs at the Cottonwoods...all barb-less only and only at one lake (varies each year which one... check the regs for this year?) can you keep a 5-fish limit.



Thank you for the quick reply! We are primarily C&R guys, who may keep 1 or 2 for dinner if they aren't releasable. Is the terrain similar to the Little Lakes Valley?

We've been checking the regs, and will be sure to be changing hooks out to single barbless or to grind the barbs down on the jigs or flys that i'll be tossing.
User avatar
IncredibleHuck
Topix Novice
 
Posts: 11
Joined: Wed Aug 08, 2012 10:23 am
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Cottonwood Lakes?

Postby Jimr » Tue Aug 14, 2012 12:32 pm

100_4153.JPG

100_4155.JPG

100_4157.JPG

100_4159.JPG
What?!
User avatar
Jimr
Topix Fanatic
 
Posts: 1122
Joined: Fri Jul 31, 2009 2:14 pm
Location: Redondo Beach
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Cottonwood Lakes?

Postby richlong8 » Thu Aug 16, 2012 11:07 am

I think Cottonwood Lakes is a little more "east side Sierra arid" than Little Lakes Valley. It is a little more elevation gain, but not that steep. A couple of the lakes are pretty good sized, and fishing can be good, though the lower lakes get some fishing pressure.

Image
User avatar
richlong8
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 687
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2008 6:02 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Cottonwood Lakes?

Postby windknot » Thu Aug 16, 2012 2:26 pm

Agree with Mark, though the distance is closer to 4.5 miles than 6 (I hiked from the largest CW lakes back to the trailhead in an hour and 15 minutes, moving quickly but not jogging).

This is a great destination for C&R fishermen looking to get into goldens and also trying out backpacking for the first time.
A few backcountry fishing pictures: http://wanderswithtrout.wordpress.com/
User avatar
windknot
Topix Fanatic
 
Posts: 1348
Joined: Wed Aug 16, 2006 10:07 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Cottonwood Lakes?

Postby IncredibleHuck » Mon Aug 20, 2012 11:57 pm

Thanks for all the replies guys. How hard is it to get a permit for this area at this time of year? What about Labor Day weekend?
User avatar
IncredibleHuck
Topix Novice
 
Posts: 11
Joined: Wed Aug 08, 2012 10:23 am
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Cottonwood Lakes?

Postby motox155 » Tue Aug 21, 2012 10:39 am

Actually, the wife and I just did this one last week.

It was her first real "backpacking" trip. We camped near Lake 3. I wanted to pick somewhere that was far enough away to feel like you were actually backpacking but not so far away or tough to totally turn her off. She loved it and wants to go again.

According to my GPS it was about 5 mi from the parking lot to our campsite...but I did a few detours as well.

Compared to LLV it's a little more effort required...but not much. I took the wife to LLV a couple times just dayhiking. Went back as far as Chickenfoot.

I didn't fish too much but did manage a couple from Lake 3 & 4.

You may have a tough time getting a permit over the holiday.
User avatar
motox155
Topix Newbie
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2012 2:56 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Cottonwood Lakes?

Postby rileySB » Sat Aug 25, 2012 1:34 am

I actually did the Cottonwood lakes loop earlier this summer in June for my first ever backpacking trip, solo with my 1.5 year old lab. It was a bit scary but also exciting to get out there and do it on my own. I acclimated one night at the Horseshoe Meadows campground and headed out the next morning around 730am, got up to the beginning of the basin at about 10ish. I am by no means in good shape, and had a pack that weigh approx 40lbs. I made it all the way up to lakes 5 and 6, then tried to find a suitable spot (there were some great sheltered spots behind a large rock outcropping by Lake 4) and ended up at South Fork Lake. Overall, I thought it was a great 1st trip for a rookie. The wind was howling all day and night which made the trip memorable (because I hardly slept) but the scenery was beautiful and there were surprisingly very few people out there (even though the base camp was full when I left). Total mileage was about 15 miles (from all the walking around I did) and very minimal elevation gain. I made it back to Horseshoe Meadows from South Fork Lake in about 2 hours. Lots of creek crossing to fill up for water which made it nice. It may be tough to get a permit over the holidays because they issue it for the TH which is used as access for other trips into the backcountry.
User avatar
rileySB
Topix Novice
 
Posts: 16
Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2012 4:11 am
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Cottonwood Lakes?

Postby Ianb » Wed Aug 29, 2012 2:40 pm

Just as an FYI, Fires arent allowed at cottonwood lakes and it can get cold up there so bring some good insulation!
User avatar
Ianb
Topix Newbie
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Aug 29, 2012 2:11 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Cottonwood Lakes?

Postby shampeon » Fri Aug 31, 2012 3:49 pm

I'm planning to do a short backpacking trip to Cottonwood Lakes starting September 13. All the online reservations are filled. If I get to Lone Pine Thursday afternoon, what are the chances the rest of the quota will be filled?

Also, anything in particular I should be aware of for a mid-September trip up there? I expect the nights to be pretty cold.
User avatar
shampeon
Topix Newbie
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Aug 31, 2012 3:41 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Cottonwood Lakes?

Postby SweetSierra » Fri Aug 31, 2012 4:16 pm

Usually permits are easier to obtain after the Labor Day holiday when the Sierra virtually empties (compared to the summer), so I would say you'd probably have good luck getting a permit. Mid-September can be fairly mild--usually there isn't as much thunderstorm activity. It's not that much chillier than August, generally speaking. I would say bring a down jacket or fleece jacket and a good warm sleeping bag (warmer than 30 degrees). I sleep cold so bring my 0 degree bag throughout the summer. That's been overkill at times but I'd rather be too warm than too cold.
User avatar
SweetSierra
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 223
Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 12:23 pm
Location: Nothern California
Experience: N/A

Next

Return to Backpacking / Hiking / Camping



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 8 guests

cron