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Carson Pass
KEYWORDS:   Mountain Trail, South Lake Tahoe, Sierras, Eldorado National Forest
This is probably the best-known wildflower extravaganza in the Tahoe area. The first mile of the hike features a modest palette of flowers. At the first intersection make a left and you will quickly find Frog Lake. If you circle the lake counter clock wise, enjoy the rock outcroppings a little less than half way around. With some rock scrambling, you will find many floral delights. Even if you are having a "bad flower day", you will certainly enjoy the views.

Return to the main trail and continue on to Winnemucca Lake which is another two plus miles. Along the way you will experience mountainsides painted in reds, yellows and blues. Enjoy several seeps where the flowers stand as tall as your waist and the vistas go on forever. When you reach the Lake, stop and admire Round Top Peak towering above you. (Tahoe CNPS)

DIRECTIONS:   From Lake Tahoe take Route 50 west from the South Lake area and turn left on Route 89 South to Markleeville/Jackson just past the Agriculture Inspection Station. Travel 12 miles crossing Luther Pass to Route 88. Turn right and travel another 8 plus miles to a high point of the pass with a clearly visible parking lot on the left complete with a small ranger station, and, yes, some toilets. (Tahoe CNPS)

If you are coming from the Sacramento/Placerville area traveling on Route 50 east, take Exit 60 and make a right onto Sly Park Road. Continue on Sly Park Rd. until you see a large lake/reservoir on the left and make a left onto Mormon Emigrant Trail at the next intersection. Follow the Trail until you come to Route 88 where you make a left turn. You are about 2 miles to the trail head when you pass Kirkwood Resort and Caples Lake. First you will see a large paved parking lot on your left (for Meiss Meadow) and then the Carson Pass Parking area on your right. (Tahoe CNPS)

  • Usually good from June till September. Now even longer season since snows are so light, but wildflower season will be shorter.
  • Visitors Center: A forest service cabin staffed by volunteers is available (209-258 8606). There are also pit toilets.
  • The best time to visit is July.
  • THREATS:   2015: A four-year drought is stressing the environment. Peak bloom is moving earlier with each new drought year.

    US Forest Service: Eldorado National Forest
    CNPS CHAPTER AREA: :   Tahoe

    AREA OF THE POLYGON::   270 acres
    DENSITY::   2.869 native species per acre
    Thanks to  Roger Rosenberger and Tahoe CNPS  for contributing this great place.