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Every Kid in a Park. Initiative that gives every U.S. 4th grader and his or her family free access to 2000+ federally managed lands and waters. Educators can also participate.
Cottonwood Creek/Cottonwood Lakes - Site # 60
Cottonwood Creek winds through high-elevation pines, bordered by a willow-lined wet meadow. Excellent summer views here of California's state fish, the colorful golden trout. Creekside trails offer views of wild trout, brown creepers, mountain bluebirds, and other songbirds. Watch for golden mantled ground squirrels, yellow- bellied marmots, even snowshoe hares. Golden eagles are common.
SeasonalSeasonal - these sites have high wildlife values during certain seasons, though they may have recreational value year-round.

Background: Cottonwood Lakes are home to California's state fish, the golden trout. California Department of Fish & Wildlife spawns wild fish at Cottonwood Lakes, a 5-mile hike from the trailhead; most of the eggs are packed out on mules to rearing facilities. Located near Horseshoe Meadows, the Cottonwood Lakes Basin has many pristine lakes and creeks located between Mount Langley and Cirque Peak. Side trails branch to Muir Lake, Hidden Lake, South Fork Lakes, Cirque Lake, Long Lake and High Lake. Climbing over New Army Pass provides access to the southern portion of Sequoia National Park.

The Habitat: Located near Horseshoe Meadows, the Cottonwood Lakes Basin has many pristine lakes and creeks located between Mount Langley and Cirque Peak. Side trails branch to Muir Lake, Hidden Lake, South Fork Lakes, Cirque Lake, Long Lake and High Lake. Climbing over New Army Pass provides access to the southern portion of Sequoia National Park.

Viewing Tips: Watch spawning in lakes from May through June. Birds of prey, songbirds, and small mammals are seen summer and fall. Occasional black bears. Horseshoe Meadows Trailhead, with camping, horse corrals and handicap accessible restrooms near site.

Site Notes: A permit may be booked in advance for a $5 fee or obtained the day of the hike for free at the nearby ranger station in Lone Pine (or one of the other permit offices in the Inyo National Forest). For the Golden Trout Wilderness permits are required year-round for all overnight visits. Two established campgrounds at trail heads -- Cottonwood Pass Backpacker Camp and Cottonwood Lakes Backpacker Camp, walk-in, first come, first serve. No trailers. Maximum one-night stay. Bear boxes available.

Nearby Viewing Sites: Mount Whitney and Black Rock hatcheries
Haiwee Deer Winter Range
Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest

Festivals & Events: Owens Lake Bird Festival, Lone Pine

Visitor Information: Lone Pine Chamber of Commerce - (760) 876-4444 - http://www.lonepinechamber.org
Viewing Site Hours of Operation are:
Staff On-site: No
Open: Seasonal access
Hours: 
Year Round: No
Seasonal: Road is impassable in winter and into spring months depending on snow fall.

Road Information:   Paved. 
Road Hazards: ROADS IMPASSABLE WINTER AND SPRING.
 Number of Parking Spaces: 12
Parking Fee: No
Proximity to viewing area:
 Pull-Through Parking: No
Parking Notes: Plenty of parking for all trail heads. Parking loops are paved.

Special Tips: The USFS visitor center is located at the Junction of Hwy 395 and State Route 136. The center provides information on Inyo, Mono and Kern counties. Open daily except Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Check online at www.Recreation.gov for more information.

How to Get There: From Highway 395 in central Lone Pine, go west on Whitney Portal Road for 3 miles. Turn south on Horseshoe Mountain Road, drive about 18 miles to Horseshoe Meadow Camping Area. Cottonwood Lakes Trailhead nearby. For information, stop at the Eastern Sierra Interagency Visitor Center. If heading into wilderness areas, inquire about wilderness permits.
 

Contact Information
Managing Agency: USDA Forest Service - Eastern Sierra Interagency
Agency Site URL: http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/inyo/recarea/?recid=20698
Physical Address:100 - SR 136
Lone Pine, 93545
Agency 2:
,
Manager Phone:(760) 873-2483 permits
Site Phone:(760) 876-6200 visitor center
County: Inyo
Addition Website:  https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/inyo/recarea/?recid=21878