This backpacking trip was done in the Mokelumne Wilderness (South of Lake Tahoe). This is a great hike if you want to see some of the gorgeous high country and have it to yourself (only when you are hiking it at this time of year though). The trail takes you past 4 alpine lakes and allows some great views of Caples Lake. The trail is about 5 miles each way and starts out around 8500 ft and has a high point of 9400 ft. map
To get to the trailhead take 88 to the Carson Pass Summit. Park at the parking lot on the South side of highway 88 and the trailhead is at the western end of the parking area. In the summer you can obtain your wilderness permit from the cabin like structure here but other times of the year hit a ranger station on the way (or plan ahead and have it mailed to you). This picture was taken of Frog Lake on the way out. It was a little that day as you can see by the waves on the lake. After passing Frog Lake you come to a signed junction where I went right. You can make this a loop trail if you decide to extend this trip. You can get to Fourth of July Lake by going either way here but going right is shorter and easier. I have done the whole loop and my only bit of advice is to make sure that there is no snow or be prepared to cross some major steep snowfields.
There are some great views to be had on this trip. Both Winnemucca Lake and Round Top Lake are surrounded by sheer cliffs. The clear water of the lakes reflecting the dark peaks makes for quite a sight.There are a few campsites around these lakes but check when you get your permit to see if you can stay at them. This area was overused and there are restrictions now on which lake you can camp by.
Views like this make you realize how high up you are. The high point on this trip is Round Top Lake (9400 ft) but on the way you get views like this of Caples Lake. The trail here is cut out of a particularly steep section of trail. I did this hike one time early in the season and crossing snow here is quite treacherous.
Unfortunately I am writing this description a few months after I hiked it. I am not sure if this is Winnemucca Lake but I am pretty sure it is. There is a trail junction at both lakes. Just stay to the left. I haven't taken either of these trails. One goes to Woods Lake and the other to Lost Cabin Mine. Next time I do this trail I will have to check them out.
The trail is pretty much downhill after you reach Round Top Lake. You pass an old Wilderness Boundary sign on the way. The trail is steep but it is switch-backed which helps a bunch. They have started to number the site now at this lake so you get to pick a number when you get your permit. I picked #6. It was pretty open but it did offer some great stargazing in the cool fall night. If it would have been windy that night I might have had a different outlook on this site.
The next day out was as glorious as the first. A slight breeze and cool but that is the best weather for backpacking in my opinion.
This is a picture of Winnemucca Lake on the way out. I forgot to mention that I bumped into some hikers on the way out of Fourth of July Lake on the way in and they report good fishing at Fourth of July Lake. If you still have to pick a number when you do this hike then pick number 5. I camped there a few years ago (it was not labeled then) and that seemed to be the best spot. My GPS unit reported that this hike is actually 5.24 miles and it took me about 2 hours to get there and about 2 1/2 hours to get out. I think I was in a little more of a hurry to get there then to get back to the car. A great place to go but very popular on summer weekends.