Cottonwood Lakes, John Muir Wilderness, CA

  Cottonwood Lakes

Cottonwood Lakes and Mount Langley

Camping around Cottonwood Lakes

Cirque Peak, John Muir Wilderness, CA

Cirque Peak

Finding a suitable campsite around Cottonwood Lakes is easy. Some campers choose open gravel areas while others prefer to be tucked in among the trees. Our map shows several camping areas, but almost everywhere around the lakes are nice spots. Campfires are not permitted. Sometimes wind is an issue.


Cottonwood Lakes' golden trout attract many anglers. Only artificial lures with barbless hooks are allowed and lakes 1-4 and in Cottonwood Creek. Those same lakes are catch and release as are parts of Cottonwood Creek. Check the California Freshwater Sport Fishing Regulations for more information.

Cottonwood Lakea, John Muir Wilderness, CA

Explore the Area

With so many lakes in the area, a day of hiking might not be enough to visit them all. From the upper Cottonwood Lakes you can look up at the old Army Pass route, now abandoned as a maintained trail. The hike up New Army Pass offers views into Sequoia National Park.

Mount Langley

Hiking to the summit of 14,042-foot Mount Langley is a popular day trip for many camped at Cottonwood Lakes. A trail from the top of New Army Pass leads 3 miles along the crest of the peaks to the summit of Mount Langley. For routes to other nearby peaks, see R. J. Secor's The High Sierra: Peaks, Passes, and Trails.