Explore Inyo Hikes - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Inyo Hikes Map
7 days ago

The first time I did this hike, I was 10 years old and I never forgot it. It remains branded in my head. Now, I’m in my 50’s and its beauty hasn’t changed.

1 month ago

One of the most rewarding views ever!

Spent a rest day here. Beautiful area and great fishing.

Truly a "gem" of a hike - the views are spectacular! Starting at 10K, but not a lot of elevation gain in the hike. Did this over the summer, but created my account in January, so we did NOT go in the winter!

Great hike! The road to the trailhead is closed due to snow 1.3 miles short of the trailhead. Luckily others had hiked before us so the snow was slightly packed out. When my gps said we were .8 away from gem lake the footprints stopped. The snow was now too deep, in my opinion, to posthole for another mile and it was getting late so we turned around. Still a beautiful hike!

3 months ago

I’ve backpacked Thousand island lakes so many times it never gets old. The views and hike in and out are amazing.

We went up to Bishop for a night with our pup two weeks ago and decided to try our hand at this trail—glad we did. Every turn gave you a new breathtaking view of snow tipped mountains and several lakes. We even saw a few people playing ice hockey on a frozen lake! We aren’t experienced hikers, but the intensity of the trail was doable with a few breaks along the way. Due to a flare up of an old back injury, we turned around with a mile left before the turnaround, unfortunately. It took us about 4 hours for 5.5 miles and the views and experience were definitely worth putting in the miles!

the first mile is pretty much uphill on soft drift/sand. it starts of at low elevation and as you climb you get higher and higher. I only made it 1.53 miles in and had to turn around to meet a friend in town. but the last half mile made the first mile worth it!! some ice and snow on the ground. so watch your step.

4 months ago

One of the prettiest Alpine Lakes I've seen on the west coast. I went during the height of summer and expected a lot of traffic on the trail, because the town was packed however it was quiet and peaceful. I would recommend once getting near the lake to hike to a view point above the lake and take in a 360 view of the surrounding area. 6 hrs or so would be enough time for most people to hike and spend time by the lake swimming etc.

This is a beautiful trail! It is very well maintained and our 5 year old and 9 year old hiked it fine.

Our only issue was initially finding the trail, as many websites hardly mention it.

“From Bishop go North on Highway 395 to Tom’s Place. Follow Rock Creek Road to Mosquito Flat to the end of the paved road where there is plenty of hiker parking.”

Those were the best direction I found. No distances listed.

Beautiful hike. About 2” of snow on most of the trail after the log crossing as you pass the Fern Lake trail.

One star because you suck at the internet?

Very scenic hike, slight incline the ap says it’s “easy” it’s a little harder then easy for beginners but the scenery is absolutely beautiful, the trees, rocks, lakes and mountains are just perfect. Worth your time.

Epic trail def want to start early

5 months ago

Beautiful hike, back country camped right by the minaret lakes, no one around , the scenery and the gorgeous Minarets make this hike one of my favorites, it's better to camp and enjoy the shining moon on the lake, watch for mosquitoes they were way too aggressive throughout the whole hike !

This hike was spectacular. Lots of great views. Because of poor planning, we ended up going over Morgan Pass and kept hiking for 2 extra miles. The sign that was SUPPOSED to be directing people to Morgan Pass vs gem lakes was MIA. This caused quite the confusion within our party. We then made our way over to gem lakes and decided to climb the ridge next to the upper lake. (YOLO) overall, great hike, great views, would rate 10/10.

Great vistas. Gorgeous sky, lakes, running streams. Perfect half day hike (we went on up to Morgan pass).

From Silver Lake, following the Rush Creek trailhead it looks deceptive on the map. Do not be fooled. This is a relentless climb to the lake. If you are back packing I strongly suggest an early start. If they have closed the south route around Agnew you have hard climbing. I recommend spending the night at the larger of Clark Lake where you can also catch dinner.

There are two brutal switchbacks before Clark. They will help make up your mind whether to push on or camp.

Thousand Island is worth the pain to get there. If you are camping you are limited to the west side. We day holed from Clark so we swam around the islands. Great fun. The downside is that because of the spectacular scenery it is well travelled. You will not be alone.

We hiked the trail to Gem Lake this weekend. Temps were great during the day, nights were chilly. We camped and were very cozy in 20 degree bags with no problem. Snow was still present at Gem Lake (11,000 feet). Fish were small but fun to catch. The altitude in addition to our overweight packs kicked our buts and the kids succumbed to a few hours of altitude sickness. I would suggest a day of acclimation if your coming from sea level like we did before carrying 35 lbs up 1000 feet of elevation gains like I did. I was beat at the top. We saw two hikers turn around at the .5 mile mark because the first part is a bit steep if not acclimated. Views were spectacular, trail is beautifully well kept. Lake pristine. Lots of hikers in the first three miles....even Gem Lake at 3.5 miles in had a good number of campers. We had rain showers both days during late afternoon. 3-6 pm. 5 stars for the beauty of the trail. Lots of lakes and creeks to cross. Lots of dogs on trail on and off leash. All were friendly. No water at trailhead. Bring water / water filter device.

6 months ago

Great hike but didn't quite make it to Minaret Lake. Probably spent to much time enjoying the meadows, creeks etc and didn't leave enough time to make it to the lake. It's the journey not the destination that counts and it was a great journey.

6 months ago

I've hiked 1,000 miles of the PCT and JMT and I would rate this trail as difficult. There is a closure around Agnew lake because of dam repair so you have to take the north side detour which adds about 4 miles. It's a full day to get to 1,000 island. Enjoy!

Follow Rock Creek Road from 395; it turns into a narrow gravel road, so just stay on the road to the trail head parking lot. Easy trails to nice lake and mountain vistas, so it's probably a good idea to get there early on a weekend. In minutes you get to view Mack Lake, then Heart Lake and Box Lake. Got to shoot pix of the lakes and plenty of wildflowers, which I didn't expect at the end of August. There were some mosquitoes near the lakes and toward dusk; overall a great quick alpine lake fix. Looks like there are plenty of campgrounds on the road into the trailhead.

It's 3.3 miles from My Whitney Portal and 2.8 miles going down. it was a beautiful hike, good use of trekking poles, Rocky, and a lot of switch backs, dogs are able to use this trail.

There are no signs either reaching the trail head or along the trail. You have to know that Little lakes valley trail head is called Mosquito flat trail head. There is no sign along the trail showing either direction or distance. The last mile from Long Lake to Gem lake is steep and difficult. There is no sign for the direction to Gem lakes (on the right). On busy days like Labor day, if you don't reach there by 8 am, you won't find parking. It took us 5 hours(about 3 hours to Gem lakes and 2 hours to come back) to complete the trail(including stopping for pictures), so plan properly. Gem lake is the 6th lake on the trail. although the maps says 7.2 miles, our app calculated 8.5 miles.

trail is closed as of June 30th where it turns into spooky meadow trail. The detour adds about 5 miles

Very nice hike with amazing views. We had good weather except for a brief rain shower but the other than that beautiful. Would not mind getting back out and doing it again. We didn't go over the pass to Tully's lake but would like to do it sometime.

6 months ago

This was a spectacular trail and we LOVED camping on the peninsula. Bring lots of bug spray and nets.

Hiked to Lower Morgan 1st then on way back made it to Gem Lakes. Well worth the trip! The turn off to Gem Lakes was moved further up the trail and not as on the recording. Mosquitoes early in the AM but not later in the morning.

6 months ago

A really wonderful hike with great selection of different scenery. I took a small side ridge to get a view of the flowers in bloom. Definitely worthwhile. Left early to avoid crowds .. and allowed to take my dog off leash

Got bit in excess of a dozen times. The mosquitoes bit through my clothes! But areas sprayed with DEET were left alone. A mosquito head net is a good idea. Altitude is definitely a factor, but this affects people differently. If you know you're sensitive, you may want to allow time to acclimate.

There were A LOT of people on this trail. It got really busy by 12p. If you want to get away from crowds, this won't be the hike for you. There's a stream crossing where the trail got washed out. You can either hop on the rocks, some of which are wobbly, or just wade through the shallow-ish water. The trail is wet in other spots, too but easily negotiated.

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