Special Places

Carson Pass Management Area

Trailhead information signing at Carson Pass trailhead

Due to the popularity of the Carson Pass Area, restrictions are now in effect to ensure your opportunities for solitude, a primitive recreational experience, and to protect popular camping destinations from overcrowding and heavy impacts.

As you plan your trip into the Carson Pass Management Area, consider the following:

  • Camping - Camping in the Carson Pass Management Area is allowed only in the designated sites at Winnemucca, Round Top, and Fourth of July Lakes. There are three sites at Winnemucca Lake, six sites at Round Top Lake, and six sites at Fourth of July Lake. Permits for camping in these sites will only be issued at the Carson Pass Information Station in the summer and the Amador Ranger Station at other times.
  • Frog Lake - Camping is not permitted in order to protect and promote the restoration of the shoreline. Winter camping is allowed once the snow pack is twelve inches deep.
  • Other Areas - Camping within 300 feet of Emigrant Lake is not permitted in order to protect and promote the restoration of the shorelines.
  • Winter - Snow camping is allowed if there is at least one foot of snow on the ground.
  • Stay Limit - From the Friday before Memorial Day through Labor Day weekend, an overnight stay limit will be in effect of 2 nights for Round Top and Winnemucca Lakes and 3 nights for the Fourth of July Lakes.
  • Campfires - Campfires are not allowed in the CPMA. Camp stoves are permissible. Open fires are prohibited above 8,000 feet throughout the rest of the wilderness.
  • Day Use Fee - During the summer a $5.00 day use fee is charged at the Carson Pass, Carson Pass Overflow, and Meiss trailheads. An Annual Forest Day Use Pass can be purchased for $20.00. The fees are used to fund "on the ground" maintenance, restoration, wilderness education, and protection projects in the Mokelumne Wilderness. During the winter, a Sno Park permit is required which costs $5.00.
    • NEW: Woods Lake Day Use and Trailhead areas are now under concession management. The new fee is $8.00. The Forest Day Use pass and America the Beautiful passes (Golden Age) do not apply to concession facilities with standard amenity fees. The concession will be developing its own Day Use pass for the facilities it operates. There is now a single concessionaire for the entire forest.


Additional details about the boundaries of the Carson Pass Management Area. Map of campsites in the CPMA.  More information about Carson Pass Management Area Map.