No bikes on Pacific Crest Trail segment. Exhilarating but demanding hike quickly leading users away from civilization. Views of the Sierra Crest are reminiscent of a scaled down Yosemite (without the crowds). Cliffs, massive rock formations, or sculpted outcrops, and fragile flowers rival for attention. Many have tried this hike into the lake and back in one day; few have made it. On your way in, pause for this break: Once you’ve finally topped the first dominant ridge onto a broad, open expanse, veer uphill to the left along the backbone of the wide-open ridge and scramble to the first knob. From here the view of the backside of Castle Peak will make you glad you brought your camera. Or back at the Warren Lake Trail, follow the users’ trail in the opposite direction to the right (east) to the top of a more dominant knob. Scramble carefully through the rocks to peek down to Frog Lake or east across Stampede Reservoir to the Verdi Mountains and the Nevada border. Or soak in the view to the south along the spine of the Sierra Crest to Tinker’s Knob. This open ridge with these views can be destinations worthy of their own hike. Some hikers will turn around here and not continue farther north. Lahontan cutthroat trout have been planted (2000) in Warren Lake to reestablish this fishery. From Warren Lake, Devils Oven Lake (elevation 7874') lies a hearty cross-country scramble to an upper basin to the southwest of Warren Lake. Devils Oven was stocked with Brookies in 1999; fishing is usually judged to be fairly good. Directions to Devils Oven Lake from Warren Lake: to avoid the cliffs above Warren, backtrack (south) on Warren Lake Trail to the first dominant ridge. Scramble right (west) up that ridge 0.6 miles. Options: to get to Devils Oven Lake without continuing to drop into the Warren Lake Basin, turn right (west) on the prominent ridge just before the trail dives down into the canyon and Warren Lake. For a more adventuresome trek, see Castle Peak Cross-country.
|7||7220’-8540’-7860’-8260’-7210' at lake||
Topographic maps: Norden, Independence Lake. From Trailhead follow the connecting trail to the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), turn left, and follow it under I-80. Shortly after passing through the tunnel, at the signed intersection, veer to (right) leaving the PCT and heading east. After 1.2 miles take signed junction to left at the Summit Lake Trail intersection. Follow the Warren Lake Trail north and up, then up some more, then down, then up, then way-y down to Warren Lake.
The destination as an overnight backpacking trip is one of the best. The mid-point to the Frog Lake Overlook ridge is the best part of the dayhike and worth it. But steep at one stretch.