OverviewMelissa Coray Peak and Peak 9795 are two summits in the Mokelumne Wilderness located west of Round Top 10,335’. They are located four-tenths of a mile apart, and share a saddle at 9693’. Thus they warrant a shared page.
At 9,763’, Melissa Coray Peak is actually a sub-peak of Peak 9795. It is perhaps named because it is a prominent peak directly south above Emigrant Lake with a small electric tower on top. Peak 9795 is a more prominent bump on the southeast side of the lake. It has a prominence of just over 500' between it and Thimble Peak 9,805'.
Both peaks are easily accessible via the Carson Pass or Woods Lake trailheads. From the summits, there are great views all around of the surrounding peaks, including Round Top and The Sisters.
However, there are also great views to the south, with High Sierra Peaks in view in the Northern Yosemite area.
The best time to hike in this area is late June through October. The area gets lots of snow in spring, making for excellent waterfalls along the trail in June and July, but plenty of snow on the ground in June. By late October, snow is likely to return. The area is just east of the Kirkwood Ski Resort.
Getting ThereThere are two trailheads for these peaks. The first is Carson Pass, and the second is Woods Lake. Getting to Carson Pass is easy. From Highway 395 south of Carson City, Nevada, head to Minden, Nevada. Just before entering town, take Highway 88 as it winds south towards Carson Pass in California. It is about 28 miles from the 395/88 junction in Minden to Carson Pass. To get to Woods Lake, go past Carson Pass for 1.7 miles west, and a paved road is on your left. The paved road heads shortly to a parking lot.
From Carson Pass at 8,650’ hike about 1.5 miles to Winnemucca Lake, and follow another mile to Round Top Lake, 9,350’.
From the Woods Lake Trailhead at just over 8,200’, take the road on the right which leads to a trail. The trail soon splits ahead, with one trail heading to Winnemucca Lake, and the other Round Top Lake. Follow the trail to Round Top Lake. There are other trails along the way that head down to Woods Lake. Avoid these, and stay on the main trail, which steadily ascends up to Round Top Lake in about 2.5 miles.
Once at Round Top Lake, a trail post points the way to Fourth of July Lake. Take the trail for just about 2/3rds of a mile, and a spur trail heads up Fourth of July Peak. You can skirt Fourth of July Peak to the right, but it is better to just head to the summit. From here you can see a straightforward way over to Peak 9795.
Peak 9795 is about ¾ miles away from Fourth of July Peak. Stay at the top of the ridge on the right. Once on Peak 9795, you must climb over rocks towards the summit. It is pretty much class 2 scrambling. There are basically two summits right across from each other, both basically the same height.
Once on the summit of Peak 9795, Melissa Coray is the obvious peak just to the west with the small electric tower. Melissa Coray Peak actually only rises 70 feet above the saddle it shares with Peak 9795. It is an easy four-tenths of a mile walk further.
Once on Melissa Coray Peak, you can see Thimble Peak 9,805’ to the northwest. This is also a worthy peak if you have time. It is about 1.3 miles further. There is no clear trail connecting the two peaks, however, it is pretty straightforward. The only issue is that approaching Thimble Peak from this side will probably involve difficult rock climbing; although Class III approaches are likely with good route finding.
The total round trip hiking distance from Carson Pass and Woods Lake are basically the same. It is about 8 2/3rd miles. Elevation gain from Carson Pass is about 1,650’ (assuming you summit Fourth of July Peak on the way) and from Woods Lake it is about 2,050’.
Alternate Route from Emigrant Lake
Another way to climb up Peak 9795 and Melissa Coray Peak is from the Caples Lake Trailhead at about 7800'. The Trailhead is accessed on the west side of Caples Lake, about 4 1/2 miles past the Carson Pass trailhead.
A trail leads just over 4 miles to Emigrant Lake at 8582'. From the lake there are any number of class 2 to class 4 routes you can take up to either peak. The trail also veers west of Emigrant Lake and heads directly up towards Covered Wagon Peak and Melissa Coray. In general hiking up to Emigrant Lake or utilizing Emigrant Pass the round trip hiking distance will be about 9 or 10 miles, depending on which route is taken, with an elevation gain of about 2,000'. The trail winds around Caples Lake, which make this trailhead option that much more enticing.
Red TapeDuring the summer a $5.00 day use fee is charged at the Carson Pass and Woods Lake trailheads.
CampingCamping information for the area is provided on the Mokelumne Wilderness SP page and others SP pages in the Mokelumne Wilderness.
External LinksCarson Pass Management Area