Earthquake Fault Trail is a 0.3 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Riverkern, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is accessible year-round.
A more appropriate name for the nearly straight fracture would be "Earthquake Fissure." Because the rocks on both sides have not moved much vertically of laterally relative to one another, it is not really a "fault." The fissure is up to 10 feet wide and 60 feet deep. The Earthquake Fault was formed by tectonic stresses in the earth's crust. The sides are jagged, un-eroded, and lack pumice fill, suggesting it is still very young in geologic time. The fissure runs north and south, and lines up with the dike that fed the Inyo Domes. Someday the magma might rise to the surface, but it is also possible that the fissure could just slowly fill up with debris. These are the unknowns of geology, and what makes studying this area so exciting. The snow from the winter months would sometimes last up to year round in the bottom of the fissure. Because of this the local Native Indians would store their food at the bottom of the fissure during the warmer months. A short walking trail surrounds this natural phenomenon. Majestic red fir and Jeffrey pine trees make this a nice spot for a picnic. Source: USDA Forest Service Inyo National Forest
One of the unique features of the Mammoth Lakes area, this earthquake fissure looks like a separated jigsaw puzzle because both sides look like they could be pushed back together. The fissure is about 10 feet wide and up to 60 feet deep. Caused by a glassy rhyolite lava flow from Mammoth Mountain maybe 200 years ago, the fault lines up with the Inyo-Mono Craters and lines up with the gradual widening of the Basin and Range region. The fissure runs north and south, and the short trail goes around both sides of the fault. Located a short ways up Minaret Road on the right after the junction with Hwy 203 (Main St) at the stop light. Worth the short stop to get out of the car and take a gander.