Chamberlain Basin

Chamberlain Basin

Know before you go!


Please don’t cut switchbacks! It causes erosion, destroys vegetation, and ruins the trail. This trail has many switchbacks, please use them!


Fires are allowed ONLY at Upper and Lower Chamberlain Lakes. There are no fires allowed above 8800' in the White Clouds Wilderness. Consider bringing a camp stove to prepare food you were planning to cook.


Due to the high use and lack of natural soil, packing out human waste is strongly recommended here. Help protect our water quality and fragile alpine ecosystems by using wag bags. 


Store your food in a bear hang or bear proof container. A fed bear IS a dead bear. Help keep our wildlife wild.


This trail enters wilderness. Make sure you are all aware of the wilderness regulations and sign in at the trailhead.



Trailhead: Chamberlain Basin can be accessed from several different trailheads including 4th of July, Three Cabins, Germania, and Washington Basin. The most common entry points are 4th of July and Three Cabins.

Round trip: 16.8 mi from 4th of July; 14 mi from Three Cabins.

Elevation gain: 2560 ft from 4th of July, 1900 ft from Three Cabins. 



From 4th of July trailhead, hike past 4th of July Lake to Washington Lake. Continue down along Washington Creek to the junction with trail 047 to the Chamberlain Divide. Continue left towards the Chamberlain Lakes at the next junction with the Germania Creek Trail. The trail climbs through a burn to the Chamberlain Divide at 9800 feet, then descends into the Chamberlain Basin. There are three main lakes and countless smaller lakes and ponds to explore beneath towering Castle Peak–the tallest peak in the SNRA at 11,815 feet. 

From Three Cabins trailhead, follow the trail along Three Cabins Creek to the junction with Washington Creek about 1.3 miles in. Follow signage towards Chamberlain Lakes, hiking along Washington Creek to another signed junction. Follow the trail to the right for another mile before connecting with the trail to Washington Lake.

This hike is strenuous and is best suited for an overnight backpacking trip. You can bike to the wilderness boundary at the Chamberlain Divide, but the trail is pretty rocky.