Hi all - long time lurker, first time poster. I have a permit for Cottonwood lakes starting next week. Super excited, never been to the Golden Trout Wilderness before. Road department website says the road is open, but Inyo Rangers say a gate is closed.
Can someone tell me how far the gate they are referencing is from the trailhead?
Has anyone parked their car at the gate and hiked up?
Special considerations to take into account if we do decide to leave the truck at the gate?
Grateful for this forum! Thanks in advance and happy hiking.
The gate is less than half a mile from the trail heads. Park along the road -- you won't be the only one.
Cottonwood Lakes is quite a difference from the rest of the Sierra. Beautiful area. And you start at and stay at a high altitudes.
If the gate is closed, I recommend taking the shortcut trail located at 36.46012N, 118.16225W.
Thank you all for the quick responses. Looking forward to exploring this area of the Sierra, been on my list for a while now. Me and a friend have a plan to do the Trail Pass to Cottonwood Lakes Loop, but going in a CCW direction to hit Langley on fresh legs. Hope to hit the summit there also if condition permit. Ill try to post some pictures when we get back in two weeks. Thanks again!
Resurrecting this post after a week. I’m currently thru-hiking the PCT and looking to resupply in our beloved Lone Pine. From what I understand, it sounds like the road is open but some of the THs are closed?
Would a PCT hiker exiting have to walk much further to possibly hitch into town? I should be there in about two weeks. Currently in Tehachapi.
I’ve tried researching online, but it’s challenging w/ a mobile device. Thought I’d turn to my trusty WZ folks!
On 5/8 I was fishing up off the Horseshoe Meadow Road. The gate was closed a half mile below trailhead parking. At the gate I spoke to a group of 2 and a group of 4. By text messages they were able to hire a ride for 6 to Lone Pine -20 miles- for $90. Good cell coverage should be available a few miles below the trailhead. There were no more than half a dozen cars parked below the gate. I then drove over to the Portal Store for a burger before closing.
I expect there will be much more traffic when the gate is open but I've heard no promise about when that will be.
Dale B. Dalrymple
Golden trout were still present in the stream south of the parking area even in reaches that were totally dry at the end of last summer.
I was up at Horseshoe Meadows road about the same time at Dale. True in what he said about the road. I would suspect that by Monday, the last gate should be open. there is literally no reason for the gate to be closed.
As for rides, I also was at Onion Valley on May 7th.... just hiking around. When I got back to my car, there were close to 10 PCT hikers looking for rides, not into Indepenance but Bishop. There was a shuttle Van there picking up 5 hikers. I made the offer for 2 hikers, but ended up taking 3 down to town where they were going to thumb a ride to Bishop. When we got down to Independance, at the Post Office (one hiker had a package there, but was closed because of Saturday). Across the street there was a PCT hiker thumbing. I made a comment to the hikers in my car, and to my surprise, the hiker across the street was a close friend. Well, I said, today is your luckey day and drove all 4 to Bishop. No I must tell you this, it wasn't easy since my car was already full, and with my dog. They didn't care and off we went.
They intended to catch the Eastern Sierra shuttle on Monday back to Independance and start their hike.
So when do plan on being at Horseshoe Meadows?
I am heading back up on Monday for a week of day hiking.
Paul, so good of you to give the hikers the ride to Bishop. They are always a fun bunch to talk with to hear their experiences.
Oh, without a doubt, they are interesting. This time around, one was from Germany, an electrician by day and handyman by night to earn money to do the PCT. Another guy was from Manchester England. Great English accent. the other two were from the US.
I asked about Forester since I have hiked it over two dozen times over the years. They said that they made the mistake of tackling the Pass mid day and paid the price pf post-holing. I then asked how they maneavered around the lake below the Pass. They said that they just walked across the lake. Now I am no autority on ice on a lake, but wow. They did say there was a foot of ice (they dug a hole with their ice axe).
Hi all - I've returned. The gate at the trailhead is open, was opened the day we got there 5/12. All trails are open and conditions were perfect weather wise. We turned around at the top of new army pass as snow and ice were covering the trail from about 50ft below the ridgeline. We didnt risk going over without ice axes and more experience. We turned around and explored the entirety of the cottonwood lakes basin and had a blast. It seemed perople were going up old army from the foot traffic around CW lake 3 early in the am. Id imagine conditions would be worse on that trail. Fishing was awesome as well, caught about 10 nice goldens. Horseshoe meadows road is in great shape, no concerns in getting to the trailhead. Hopefully I can post some pictures later.
Can confirm, gate is open! I rolled in around 3:30 pm after a 21 mile day. Traffic was slow (Tuesday), but I got a hitch into LP. Cooling my heels at the Portal Hostel and Pizza Factory!