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:

Permits - Go to the Mokelumne Wilderness permit page for information on obtaining a permit for designated sites in the CPMA.

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 -

  • Concession Operated Wilderness related Day Use Areas:  $8.00 per vehicle per day.

    • Facilities include: The Woods Lake Day Use and Trailhead areas which are now under concession management by Royal Elk Park Managment.
      • The  interagency America the Beautiful passes (Golden Age) DO NOT APPLY to concession facilities with standard amenity fees (which are typically our day use sites).
      • The concession has developed its own Day Use pass for the facilities it operates. There is now a single concessionaire for the entire forest. 
  • Forest Service Operated Wilderness related Day Use Areas:  $5.00 per vehicle per day.

    • Facilities include: Carson Pass, Carson Pass Overflow and Meiss Trailheads. 
      • ​​Interagency Annual, Senior, and Access passes (America the Beautiful) ALLOW the holder to park for FREE at the Eagle Falls, Carson Pass, Carson Pass Overflow and Meiss Trailheads.
      • Winter months - From November to April 30, Carson Pass and Meiss trailheads  are operated as State Sno-Parks during the winter months. $5.oo day use.


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.