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COTTONWOOD LAKES


INYO NATIONAL FOREST


The Cottonwood Lakes Trail provides access to the southern portion of the John Muir Wilderness and Sequoia National Park. The Cottonwood Lakes are home to the beautiful Golden Trout, California's state fish. The trail marks the beginning of a longer but much less traveled route to the peak of Mount Whitney, the highest point in the lower 48 states, than the Mount Whitney Trail.

THE COTTONWOOD PASS TRAIL also provides access to the Pacific Crest Trail and the northern portion of the Golden Trout Wilderness and Kern Plateau. This area is characterized by rolling terrain with lovely sub alpine meadows. The trailhead for Cottonwood Lakes and the exit point at Whitney Portal are more than 30 miles apart, so arrange a car shuttle before lighting out if you chose that route.

TRAIL SUMMARY
TRAILHEAD ELEVATION - 10,040 feet
HIGHEST ELEVATION - LAKE BASIN - 11,008 ft. at Cottonwood Lake #1
HIGHEST ELEVATION - NEW ARMY PASS - 12,385 ft.
TRAIL DIFFICULTY: Moderate to the lake basin; strenuous over New Army Pass Trail. Especially to those not acclimated to high altitude, as altitude sickness can be a problem.
SEASON: Normally, the trail is free of snow from early July to early October

HORSESHOE MEADOW TRAILHEAD
The trailhead is located 24 miles from Lone Pine. To reach the trailhead from Lone Pine, drive three miles west on Whitney Portal Road to Horseshoe Meadow Road and turn left. Continue about 20 miles up this precipitous two-lane to the signed parking area for the section of Cottonwood Lakes Trail leading to New Army Pass. The hike begins at 10,090 feet, so expect a headache if you haven't acclimated properly. The paved road is usually open late May to late October. To reach Horseshoe Meadow Road, turn west on Whitney Portal Road at the traffic signal in the center of Lone Pine. Drive 3.5 miles and turn south (left) on Horseshoe Meadow Road. Continue 20 miles to the road end.

WEATHER - Unpredictable
Summer days may be quite warm, but night temperatures often drop to freezing or below even in summer. Afternoon thunderstorms are common. Snowstorms may occur at anytime.

EQUIPMENT
Raingear, good boots, and warm clothes are essential. Sunglasses, and sunscreen (factor 10 or more), a hat and mosquito repellent are advisable.

WATER
Water is available near the trail as far as High Lake. Carry water if you will be traveling over New Army Pass, as there is no consistent source of water. Giardiasis is a serious problem. Boil or filter all drinking water.

TRAILHEAD FACILITIES
PARKING: Hiker and equestrian parking facilities are provided. Follow the road signs. Toilets and piped water available.

  Elevation Miles
Trailhead 10,090
Cottonwood Lake # 1 11,005 4.5
Cottonwood Lake # 5 11,185 5.8
Long Lake 11,135 5.5
New Army Pass 11,475 7.2
Rock Creek 9,525 14.5
Crabtree Meadow 10,320 21.3
Trail Crest 13,590 27.5
Whitney Portal Trailhead 8,365 42.0


COTTONWOOD LAKES TRAIL REGULATIONS


Laws are enforced. Violation subject to citation
.
A wilderness permit is required for all overnight hikes.

THE FOLLOWING AREAS ARE CLOSED TO FIRES YEAR ROUND
Cottonwood Lakes Basin including Cirque and South Fork Lakes. Any area within 1/4 mile (400 yds.) of Chicken Spring Lake. Sequoia National Park above 11,200'. Rocky Basin Lakes.

Discharging of firearms in the wilderness is permitted only for taking of wildlife as allowed by state law. Hunting is prohibited in the National Park.

Pets and firearms are NOT allowed in Sequoia National Park.

Yield the right-of-way to pack and saddle stock on tails. Stand quietly, well off the trail in full view until stock has passed.

LEARN TO CAMP WITHOUT A TRACE
Every visitor shares the responsibility to keep the wilderness unspoiled and undamaged. For more information on minimum impact camping, write the Ranger Station.

ALL WOOD GATHERING IS PROHIBITED IN THIS AREA TO PROTECT NATURAL AND HISTORIC VALUES.
If you must have a wood fire bring firewood or purchase it at the Pack Station.

SPECIAL FISHING REGULATIONS
A California State Fishing License is required for fishing. State fishing regulations apply in the John Muir Wilderness and Sequoia National Park backcountry.

Season: July 1 - October 31.
COTTONWOOD LAKES 1 - 4 AND THEIR TRIBUTARIES ARE CLOSED TO FISHING.

Tackle:
Only single artificial lures or flies with barb-less hooks.
Limit:
5 trout.

FOR MORE INFORMATION
Mt. Whitney Ranger District
P.O. Box 8,
Lone Pine, CA 93545
760-876-6200

Convict Lake Resort
2000 Convict Lake Road
Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546
800-992-2260

Kittredge Sports
3218 Main Street
Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546
760-934-7566

Reel Mammoth Adventures
Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546
760-924-0438

Performance Guide Service
26 Old Mammoth Road
Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546
760-924-2181

Kevin Peterson's Fly Fishing Adventures
Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546
760-924-8177

The Troutfitter
Shell Mart Center
Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546
760-924-3676

Sierra Drifters Guide Services
Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546
760-935-4250

Rick's Sports Center
3241 Main Street
Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546
760-934-3416




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