Explore one of many alpine lakes in the Eastern Sierra Nevada Range and experience snow hiking in California.

When it's winter time, one of the best things you can do is experience the snow in the Eastern Sierra! If you've ever been hiking and/or backpacking in the Sierra, you know it's one of the most beautiful mountainous ranges in the US. 

Driving up the Hwy 395 North past Conway Summit, turn left on Virginia Lakes Rd heading to the uppermost Virginia Lake in the Hoover Wilderness. The trail leads the way from the trailhead parking lot, passing along Blue Lake and climbing up some steep terrain with beautiful views of Big Virginia Lake. You will pass an old mining cabin, if the snowpack hasn't covered it in the winter, before making the final push up to Cooney Lake. Cooney Lake sits high at 10,246 ft elevation.   

Pack List

  • The 10 Essentials
  • Water (at least 3L) & Snacks/Lunch
  • Trekking Poles
  • Gaiters
  • GPS and/or Personal Locator Beacon
  • Microspikes if needed
  • Sunscreen
  • Camera
  • Snowshoes
  • Appropriate snow gear attire 
Show More
RT Distance 3.5 Miles
Activities Photography, Snowshoeing, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Winter
Trail Type Loop
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly


Leave a Review

Overall rating:  Rate this Adventure

Have you done this adventure? Leave a review!

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Nearby Adventures

More Nearby Adventures

Backpack Virginia Lakes to Green Creek

52 Saves

Hike to the Waterfalls of Lundy Canyon

98 Saves

Backpack to Green Lake and Virginia Pass

20 Saves