Emigrant Lake

Summary  Link to more information about summary

Difficulty 3 Intermediate
Length 7.4 miles round trip
7800 feet
+800, -800 feet
Navigation Map
Time Full day
Season Late December through April
Snowmobiles Use Not permitted [Please report illegal use of snowmobiles in this area.]
USGS Topo 7.5' series, Caples Lake
Start Dam at west end of Caples Lake on Highway 88. The parking here is minimal at best. As an alternative you can begin this tour at Kirkwood Cross Country and Snowshoe Center at Kirkwood Meadows. Ask at the Center if there is a fee for parking.

Description   Link to more information about description

Emigrant Lake, located in a cirque, is an opportunity to get away from the large number of people found in the Carson Pass area. The tour to the lake is an extension of the Caples Lake tour. Unlike the Caples Lake tour, the extension to Emigrant Lake climbs steadily through dense trees but the climb is not steep.

You can create an interesting one-way tour by ending the Emigrant Lake tour with a ski to Kirkwood Meadows. Refer to the Caples Lake to Kirkwood tour for details on this route.

The starting point for the Emigrant Lake tour is the western-most dam that forms Caples Lake. You will need to ski to here if you begin at Kirkwood Cross Country and Snowshoe Center. There are two ways to do this.

North side of Highway 88
From the Center ski 0.4 mile east along the north side of the highway, gaining 100 feet, until you are opposite the dam and then cross the highway to the dam. Be very careful when crossing the highway. It is not safe to walk this 0.4-mile section of road because the narrow road is often icy and vehicles can lose control as they make the turn at the dam. This alternative is of beginner-intermediate difficulty.

South side of Highway 88
This is the safest route by which to ski from the Center to the dam because it crosses the highway in a straight, level section. However, this route is of intermediate technical difficulty. This route begins by crossing the highway at the Center, climbing and then descending (approximately +200, -100 feet) in 0.4 mile as you ski east to the dam.

Be aware that it is never safe to ski on Caples Lake.

Mileage Log   Link to more information about mileage log
Numbers in parentheses
correspond to mileage points on map

Waypoint 1 to 2
Miles: 0.0 - 2.2
Elevation change: Nil

From the dam (1) ski southeast along the shore of Caples Lake for 2.2 miles until you reach the southern tip of the lake (2).

Waypoint 2 to 3
Miles: 2.2 - 3.7
Elevation change: +800 feet

Turn south (right) before crossing the creek and begin by ascending along the west (right) side of the creek for 1.5 miles until you reach Emigrant Lake (3). The creek runs through dense woods and you can cross back and forth across the creek if you find this advantageous. Do not ski under the steep cliffs at Emigrant Lake.

Return to trailhead
Miles: 3.7 - 7.4
Elevation change: -800 feet

Retrace the route for 3.7 miles back to the dam (1).

Print version of map for tour