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Cottonwood Lakes permit question #58291 01/13/2021 9:08 PM
by MikeH
Hi all,

On the page for the Cottonwood Lakes Trail, it says wilderness permits are required for overnight trips and that quotas are in effect from May 1 - through Nov 1. I understand this to mean that permits are required for any overnight stay but are limited to a certain number of permits during May 1- Nov 1.

My confusion is that permits are only available on, but there are no permits available for this weekend whereas other area (Convict, Bishop etc) show 99+ (seems to be a miscellaneous default number). Or are overnight permits only required during that quota period?

I've called (760) 873-2483 a couple times but when I press "0" to speak to the next person, it just rings a bunch of times and hangs up.

Additionally, it appears Horseshoe Meadow Rd is closed. I've heard this is a gate that is not far from the campgrounds/ trailheads. I assume one can still park on the side of the road before closure?
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Re: Cottonwood Lakes permit question #58292 Jan 13th a 10:16 PM
by bobpickering
Hi, Mike. I’m going to try to answer, but somebody may find it necessary to correct me.

I haven’t been in that area recently, but the Horseshoe Meadows road is typically closed many miles from the trailheads and campgrounds in the winter. You could theoretically hike up the road, but that just isn’t practical. I assume that this is why they don’t show any permits.

Many years ago, I did a lot of winter climbing. They never closed the dirt roads that lead to the unpaved trailheads along the eastern sierra. Taboose Pass, Shepherd Pass, Red Lake (Split Mountain), etc. were always open. They used to plow all the way to the Big Pine Creek trailheads, so those were always accessible. They only plowed part way to North Lake, South Lake, and Sabrina, so you had to hike up the road to get to the trailheads.
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