Horseshoe Meadows Area

Inyo National Forest - Wilderness Permits, CA

Cottonwood Lakes JM39


ICE and SNOW ALERT- Mountain elevations in this area traditionally have ice and snow until late June or early July.

Permit Availability

Entrance Description

Cottonwood Lakes are home to California's state fish, the golden trout. 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.

Know Before You Go:


Cottonwood Lakes Area:

  • No campfires in the Cottonwood Lakes basin or above 10,400 ft.
  • Bear containers are required for storage of food and trash.
  • Check the area map for the correct trail name. Trips going toward Cottonwood Pass are a different reservation.
  • Fishing season is open July 1 to November 15. Lakes 1
  • 4 and their tributaries are catch and release, barbless hooks; other lakes in the basin are bag limit of 5.
  • This area is near Bighorn Sheep habitat. Use of pack goats is not advised in order to protect the health of the wild sheep.
  • Not recommended for stock between lakes 1 and 2; or South Fork of Cottonwood Creek.
  • John Muir Wilderness regulations apply.
  • Sequoia and Kings Canyon wilderness regulations apply if entering the National Park. (includes, Cross Country permit to hike to Mt Langley; no night box permit pickup)
  • Deadline: Reservation will be canceled unless the permit pick up instructions are completed before the deadline. Instructions are in the confirmation letter.
  • Only the group leader or alternate leader may pick up the permit; the person picking up the permit must be going on the wilderness trip.
  • BE SURE YOUR DATES AND TRAIL ARE CORRECT - The entire group must start on the trail on the entry date listed. Reservations cannot be changed or transferred.

USFS Webpage for: Cottonwood Lakes.


A: Available for online reservation (click to book entry date)
L: Accepting Lottery Application (click to apply for the lottery)
W: Available at the Facility
R: Reserved
C: Closed
X: Not available
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