Winnemucca Lake and Lost Cabin Mine Loop

Summary  Link to more information about summary

Difficulty 3 Intermediate
Length 6.3 miles round trip
8600 feet
+1400, -1500 feet
Navigation Road, marked trail, map and compass
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, Carson Pass and Caples Lake
Start Carson Pass Sno-Park on Highway 88.

Description   Link to more information about description

The features of this loop make it one of the author's favorites in the Carson Pass area. The loop allows you to cover miles of interesting terrain without retracing your tracks. Much of the route is through open areas that offer beautiful scenery. Also, part of the trip is in an area that is not frequently traveled.

Image of skier descending from Round Top Lake
Descending from Round Top Lake toward Black Butte

By the time you reach Round Top Lake, a landmark on this longer tour, you will have left most tourers behind and the best skiing is just ahead. To the north of Round Top Lake is prominent and beautiful cleaver-like Black Butte. This short ridge can't help but catch your eye. This tour will take you very near it.

The Winnemucca Lake and Woods Lake Loop is a shorter and easier loop in the same general area although both are rated intermediate. However, the tour described here is definitely more interesting.

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 - 0.5
Elevation change: +300, -50 feet

From Carson Pass Sno-Park (1) ski south into the trees and climb for approximately 0.5 mile until you reach more open and level terrain (2). Don't get discouraged — the first little bit is the most difficult.

Waypoint 2 to 3
Miles: 0.5 - 1.8
Elevation change: +250, -100 feet

Continue skiing south and traverse the open slopes on the west side of Elephant Back for 1.3 miles until you reach Winnemucca Lake (3), which lies in a depression below Round Top.

Waypoint 3 to 4
Miles: 1.8 - 2.5
Elevation change: +500, -100 feet

Cross the outlet creek at Winnemucca Lake and climb west up the barren slope for 0.7 mile until you reach the northwest spur of Round Top (4). Be aware that the steep slopes of Round Top are susceptible to avalanche.

Waypoint 4 to 5
Miles: 2.5 - 2.7
Elevation change: -50 feet

Descend southwest for 0.2 mile until you reach Round Top Lake (5).

Waypoint 5 to 6
Miles: 2.7 - 3.8
Elevation change: -750 feet

Follow the outlet drainage from Round Top Lake north for 1.1 miles until you reach a flat area to the east (right) of Black Butte (6).

Waypoint 6 to 7
Miles: 3.8 - 4.0
Elevation change: -150 feet

From the south end of the flat area, ski to its east side and drop down the short, steep, obvious route for a total of 0.2 mile until you reach Lost Cabin Mine (7). It is at most 0.1 mile from where you begin to drop until you reach the mine.

Waypoint 7 to 8
Miles: 4.0 - 4.6
Elevation change: -250 feet

Descend north and then east on a narrow, snow-covered road for a total of 0.6 mile until you intersect Woods Lake Road (8). Part way you enter a campground and the road may be difficult to discern. But Woods Lake Road will probably be well traveled. To the south (right) is nearby Woods Lake. You may want to make a short detour to see it.

Waypoint 8 to 9
Miles: 4.6 - 5.1
Elevation change: -50 feet

Turn north (left) onto Woods Lake Road and follow it for 0.5 mile until you reach a road junction (9). This junction may not be obvious.

Waypoint 9 to 10
Miles: 5.1 - 6.3
Elevation change: +350 feet

Turn east (right) and ascend along the road for 1.2 miles until you reach Highway 88 (10). At this point you are across the highway from the Meiss Sno-Park and 0.1 west of the Carson Pass Sno-Park. Carefully walk along the highway to your vehicle at Carson Pass.

Print version of map for tour