Panum Crater Trail is a 3.5 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Lee Vining, CA that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is accessible year-round.
Hands down the best place to see a hill of solid obsidian - beautiful black glass - although it just looks like rock until you break it open - don't remove it (it is sharp and will cut you). Wear good shoes (this is a rocky mound up to 300 ft high from parking lot. Hike up a gravel hill to the right and come to some switchbacks up to the top of the crater, giving you a great view of the eastern Sierras and Mono Lake as well. See cool evidence of the volcanic activity. From Highway 395 and Highway 203 in Mammoth Lakes, head north 20.3 miles on U.S 395 towards Lee Vining and Mono Lake. Take a right on 120-E for 3.1 miles [continuation of Tioga Road if coming from Yosemite and the same road you’d take to the South Tufa trail on Mono Lake], and then take a left at the Panum Crater sign, which takes you about a mile to the trailhead. Nice parking area with a geology hut. Great description here: http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/volcanoes/long_valley/field_guides_panum_crater.html - Coordinates: 37°55.537' N, 119°02.923' W (hand held gps); Elevation: 6,830 ft.
Don’t miss this one!
Awesome hike both around the rim trail and into the plug. Amazing views in from the high points. Suggest counter clockwise on the rim trail.
Great place to visit a little volcano with very interesting rocks.
Great place to visit. Very easy to get to and a great little hike. There's so much here to see. A very enjoyable experience for my whole family.
Super fun easy hike. Great to take pictures holding big pieces of pumice.
Panum Crater is awesome. Just outside Lee Vining on some dirt roads is the crater, which is made of obsidian and pumice. Due to the obsidian, I highly recommend wearing shoes that won't let material in because the obsidian can cut you feet! The hike is really short but fun with sweet views of the eastern sierras and Mono Lake. Plus you can take awesome pictures of you holding a "boulder" above your head since the pumice is so light.
A short hike at Mono Lake. The crater is unique in that the view from the plug is better than the rim trail.
Great Place. I love all the Obsidian there. When the sun hits just right it is Beautiful.