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

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Nice short hike to lake sherwin and back. Took about 1.5 hrs out with some short stops and 50mins return.... downhill.

very nice trail

Maybe I was having an "off" hike. I found this trail to be very difficult to follow. I got to a point of the trail where the only option to go would have been to scale a very sandy and steep hill, I would've taken that route had I not been with my 60 lb dog. If that was the true route to go, I would not call this trail a dog-safe trail. Unfortunately we had to turn around.

I docked a star from my rating because the trail is so dang busy! I hiked it on June 10, 2018. Arrived around 8:00am and had plenty of parking spaces to choose from. We took our time (more of a stroll than a hike) stopping frequently to take photos. By mid - day there were hikers in view almost constantly. Many had dogs. Consequently there was no sign of any wildlife other than birds and ground squirrels.

As stated in the trail description, this trail is entirely above 10,000 ft. You will pass by many different lakes. The views are awesome and its almost impossible to take a bad picture. The only drawback is that this is a very popular trail head and parking can be a challenge so come early.

Short, but steep hike to a very pleasant lake. I would rate this as hard due to the steep grade. The lake itself is wonderful - a lot of people were swimming in the lake during my visit.

So beautiful. I got to go back! Got here too late.

beautiful scenery and so many lakes within relatively easy hike .

A beautiful area that is easy to navigate. Bugs are minimal at this time and the smoke from the fires was not in the valley the two nights we were there. Although we did have smoke haze on the 395 getting there. Afternoon thunderstorms gave us a variety of weather but nothing too major. Love coming here!

Amazing Views of Lake Mary, Lake George and at the end the lovely Lake Crystal.
This is a moderate hike with some great elevations, so if you are a beginner then consider this a hard hike ( not for distance , but only because of elevation and lots of curves )

Gorgeous hike! Pretty easy. The back area is no longer flooded. Just had to cross one little stream. We even saw a couple of dear.

Great views and very relaxing once at the lake

hiking
9 days ago

Beautiful hike. Moderate but challenging because of the altitude. A little smokey at the beginning because of the fires, but cleared up before we got to Crystal Lake. Cool, clear water with a few people jumping off rocks into it. Saw a few people with fishing poles too and they all said they weren't having any luck. Seemed to take about an hour and 15 minutes to get up there. This was with many stops and a really slow pace.

great day hike an easy-moderate trail, not too stip. Both lakes are amazing and so many different landscapes! great day

hiking
17 days ago

Great hike, very beautiful.

Beautiful!!

We did this with a group of about 20 friends ranging from 50 to 5 years of age all of us in different levels of fitness. It’s not as easy as Devils Postpile but it’s beautiful. The trails are steep and if your not used to the elevation can make it that much more challenging. We packed up a few poles in hopes to get a golden trout and a few brought swim wear. It was amazing but for a 38 y.o. Who does light waking a few times a week I was winded but my camelbak was my best friend and Motrin was my best friend the next day. Enjoy!!

hiking
19 days ago

Awesome hike. Well marked and worth going to the top to see Valentine Lake. 10.2 miles with 1925 feet of elevation. Not crowded and no smoke today.

FIVE STARS FIVE STARS!! The lake is absolutely stunning and the hike was very easy/moderate. It is also dog friendly so I would pack your pup, a lunch, and maybe even a couple beers and soak in the view for a while when you get up there! Gorgeous!

hiking
20 days ago

On our first afternoon camping at Lake Mary, we ventured up the trail to Crystal Lake. With hiking and meandering around the lake, we logged about five miles. The trail to the lake and back is shorter but a steep climb. The views of the Mammoth Lakes are increasingly rewarding the higher you go, especially at the crest when veering left before approaching the lake. Crystal Lake is pristine and worth the light hike around it, too. There was an abundance of wildflowers blooming, especially on the south end of the lake.

hiking
22 days ago

Harder for less experienced hikers, elevation gain can be intense. Took our two year old up in a carry pack and it was well worth the views! Beautiful views of George, Mary and a glimpse of Horseshoe Lake along the way. We found a spot on the rocks and the water was ice cold- perfect after the hike! My toddler loved eating her lunch here and then wading in the water. Worth it.

My favorite hike of our vacation. Beautiful scenery.

We arrived at 8 AM on a Thursday at the end of July and the parking lot was half full.

Amazing trail!! Really worth it. First part, up to sherwin lake is ok, I would say it’s easy and some beautiful views.
From Sherwin to Valentines is awesome!! Beautiful and variate landscapes!
The last part is tough! All way up to the hill (after a few miles hiking), but the price when you reach valentines lake, absolutely worth it.
I really recommend this hike!!
We readed that there were a lot of mosquitos. Fortunately we only saw a few, anyway, I recommend using some Mosquito repellent.
* Our gps watch marked 10.2 miles

(we did the hike on 21/07/2018)

backpacking
25 days ago

Bring a fishing pole! Trail is a bit longer than what is listed on AllTrails.

off road driving
25 days ago

Great trail. Be careful on the last hairpin switchback. I nosed in, reversed down the trail 150 feet or so to the next switchback which left me pointing forward again and did not require making a somewhat gnarly 3 point turn. Otherwise, the trail is pretty spectacular. I was in a stock 4x4 2018 tacoma and made it no problem. Did scrape my side predator side steps a couple times, but no big deal.

Such a beautiful trail! Well groomed! Beautiful wild flowers surrounding all over + the lovely sound of the rushing water. And then the most spectacular views at the lake! This is a must trail for all!

Took my 2 daughters, 9 and 10, and they were troopers and hiked up to Crystal Lake. We started around 1, took some rests, ate a snack at the lake, heard some thunder and watched some lightning on the way down, and it took us about 2 hours. If you go on a summer afternoon be prepared for thunderstorms! But it was a pretty hike, nice lake views along the way, and a beautiful destination.

Just got home after backpacking to Gem lake for the night. From the trailhead the elevation gain is just less than 1000, but the altitude will likely slow you down a bit. The flowers are spectacular, God had a wonderful palette of paint; purple, red, yellow, pink, white, orange. It is like an amazing garden of color. There are nice campsites at Gem lake and the mountain scenes are awesome. We got rain during dinner for about three hours. The thunder and lightening was a treat, far enough away not to be dangerous but breath taking. Had a wonderful morning and lunch filled with sunshine and birds singing. On our hike down it rained and we made a quit exit and drive to Mt Whitney restaurant in Lone Pine for a great burger and onion rings. Before our ride home on my Ninja. This is a must do hike, best if you can camp at Gem lake.

hiking
29 days ago

Great short hike with fantastic views. Lots of shaded areas to rest. Bring your swimsuit for the end!

Great trail! Easy with kids. Absolutely gorgeous views. We stopped along the way and our boys drank water from the stream, swam in the lakes and wadded in the streams. It was a great time.

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