Cottonwood Pass and Chicken Spring Lake

Distance: 7.4 - 9.0 miles (round trip)

Golden Trout Wilderness, Inyo National Forest, near Lone Pine in California's Southeastern Sierra

Chicken Spring Lake

Chicken Spring Lake


Fine views of Horseshoe Meadows and the Great Western Divide greet hikers at the top of Cottonwood Pass. Scenic Chicken Spring Lake is less than a mile beyond and makes for a nice day hike or first night destination for backpacking trips into Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park.
See Trail Detail/Full Description

  • Distance: 7.4 miles (round trip) to Cottonwood Pass
    9.0 miles (round trip) to Chicken Spring Lake
  • Elevation: 9,940-ft. at Trailhead
    11,140-ft. at Cottonwood Pass
    11,242-ft. at Chicken Spring Lake
  • Elevation Gain: 1,200-ft. to Cottonwood Pass
    1,302-ft. to Chicken Spring Lake
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • More Hikes in:
    Lone Pine / Bishop / California's Southeastern Sierra

Why Hike Cottonwood Pass and Chicken Spring Lake

The hike to Chicken Spring Lake travels through lodgepole pines along the northern edge of the vast, 10,000-ft. high Horseshoe Meadow and then climbs to Cottonwood Pass (11,140-ft.). From the pass views extend east to the peaks and ridges surrounding Horseshoe Meadow and, in the distance, the Inyo Mountains. To the west are nice views of the Great Western Divide. Beyond the pass an ascending traverse leads to scenic Chicken Spring Lake, set amid sheer granite cliffs and rocky meadows with scattered gnarled foxtail pines.

The trail to the lake is popular with day hikers, fishermen and backpackers. Backpackers use the lake as an overnight stop on the way to Rock Creek, Lower Soldier Lake, Mt. Whitney and other destinations in Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park.

Elevation Profile

Cottonwood Pass and Chicken Spring Lake Elevation profile

Trail Resources

Trail Detail/Full Description / Trail Photo Gallery / Trail Map

Basecamp(s) Information:
Lone Pine / Bishop

Region Information:
California's Southeastern Sierra

Other Hiking Regions in: