Fourth of July Peak is a relatively simple to reach mountain in the Mokelumne Wilderness. Located just west of Round Top Lake in Alpine County, California, it is easily accessible from either the Carson Pass or Woods Lake trailheads. Although not a towering peak, it offers wonderful views in a tremendously pristine area of the northern Sierra Nevada.
Fourth of July Peak is the namesake of nearby Fourth of July Lake, located just to the south, and accessible via a trail heading towards the lake.
From the summit, there are great views all around of the surrounding peaks. However, better views can be had by hiking another ¾ miles to the higher and more scenic Peak 9795.
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/early November, snow is likely to return. The area is just east of the Kirkwood Ski Resort.
There are two trailheads for this peak. 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 California, it is about 70 miles east of Jackson on Highway 88.
From Carson Pass at 8,650’ hike about 2.5 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.
The trail eventually becomes steep, sandy, and hard to follow. However, at that point, the summit is obvious, and close by.
The total round trip hiking distance from Carson Pass is about 9 miles. From Woods Lake it is about 7½ miles. Elevation gain from Carson Pass is about 1100’ and from Woods Lake is about 1500’.
During the summer a $5.00 day use fee is charged at the Carson Pass and Woods Lake trailheads.
Camping information for the area is provided on the Mokelumne Wilderness SP page and other SP pages in the Mokelumne Wilderness.