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Frog Lake

Mokelumne Wilderness

October 22nd, 2006

2.0 miles
410 vertical feet
Total Time: 2:41

Rating: 7/10

Directions: From Kirkwood, drive east on Highway 88. At Kit Carson Pass, turn right into the large parking lot where there's a monument, pit toilets, and visitor's center. Parking (in 2006) is $3.   View Driving Map

The large parking lot was about half full as we prepared for this short hike. While a storm had passed through a week or two earlier, the weather today was perfect, clear, sunny, and about 70 degrees in late October.

The trail heads straight into the forest. There's a bit of a slight downhill at the start, but most of it is slightly uphill to the lake. There were patches of snow on the ground here and there, probably remnants from the recent storm. We encountered several hikers with dogs along the trail, some leashed some not, but the owners and dogs were pretty friendly (important when you're hiking with small children, as we were). While we did run into several hikers along the trail, it never felt too crowded.

One thing that detracts a little from the hike is that when you first start, you can hear cars zooming along nearby Highway 88. So you never quite get that wilderness feeling from this hike, despite the fact that you'll pass a sign as you enter the Mokelumne Wilderness on your way to the lake.

Frog Lake

The eastern edge of Frog Lake

As you get closer to the lake, you'll come out into the open and be rewarded with views of Round Top mountain. The trail then heads up and to the left. At the first trail intersection, take the left fork, which quickly descends down to beautiful Frog Lake. Red Lake Peak looms behind the lake to the north, and the lake appears to drop off into nothingness to the east. In retrospect, there are probably some nice views from that end of the lake, but I didn't get a chance to venture over there (it's not very far, so if you get a chance, I'd recommend you check it out). I imagine the views are probably similar to that of the view point along Highway 88 just west of the pass (a place I did stop at in a previous visit and got a nice photograph of Red Lake).

Red Lake Peak looming behind Frog Lake

After a picnic and long break by the lake, we headed back the way we came. A popular hike is to continue past Frog lake (on the right fork instead of the left) to Winnemucca Lake, and then perhaps on up to Round Top itself. In past trips I'd visited Winnemucca Lake, Round Top Lake, Fourth of July Lake, and Round Top (all starting from Woods Lake), and they're all highly recommended. On this trip, however, we simply headed back the way we came, back to the parking lot.

Round Top

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