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We really enjoyed this trail. If you're not in a hurry stop at all the lakes along the way, it's well worth it. We didn't find it too strenuous but we were only packed for a day hike.

Wonderful hike! Moderate uphill climb to the lakes, about 5.5 miles (11-12 total). Heavily shaded in most areas. We were plenty prepared with food and water, although, we did drink from the stream at vigorous areas and were fine. Ton of fish in the lakes. The first two lakes were gorgeous and barely anyone around! We did this hike Labor Day weekend and expected it to be heavily trafficked. We want to go back and get an overnight pass—absolutely breathtaking.

hiking
7 days ago

Loved this hike as well. My husband and I hiked with two kids in backpacks (ages 1.5 + 3.5) - 2nd lake was our lunch and turn-around spot. Everyone loved it and had a great time. We clocked 12 miles in our RT and it was 4 up for our crew and a pretty quick 2 down. Definitely take a filter for more water if you take littles. For perspective - we are in good shape and live at 6000k, pack weights were probably 30 and 50 lbs respectively. It was a big day - but so worth it.

One of my favorite hikes I’ve ever done! The beginning is a little rough because of how exposed you are, so I’d start early! I hiked it alone and felt totally comfortable! I cannot wait to go back and do the loop again! I would say it’s 14 miles.

Just beautiful! I think the mileage for this loop may be seriously off. We only went to the 2nd Lake and turned back around to return to Glacier Lodge but recorded over 12 miles in doing just that. I recommend lots of sunscreen and taking a water filter. If you run out of water, there’s tons of water along the way. I would love to return and backpack the lakes.

Awesome! The first 3 lakes are the most beautiful with the blue green color. The black lake was also really nice and peaceful. If you have the time and energy, I think it’s worth it to do the whole loop, because at the end you get a really nice view of the first and second lakes. We made it an all day adventure, and spent 10 hours on the trail taking nice breaks and napping. Next time I’d get an overnight permit and camp up there!

Moderate is a fair rating for this trail. Decent inclines but spectacular views. Not too crowded and plenty of water around if you have a filter.

Did this hike for the 3rd time. Trail wasn't crowded. It's the first time I've done it without snow on switchbacks. It's my favorite Mammoth hike, safe for solo.

hiking
13 days ago

Amazing views the entire time your on this trail. Keep your head up though there are horses on this trail.

hiking
14 days ago

Absolutely gorgeous hike. We hiked this yesterday and didn’t start until noon. We only got to the second lake and turned back because rain was expected and we wanted to make it down before it got dark and started raining. The incline was steady and moderate. There is lots of water along the trail so you can refill your bottle. Can’t wait to go back.

nice easy hike. we just hiked to the first 2 lakes. it was well worth it.

I was looking forward to making Telescope peak... It's not reachable by a sedan car - very washed out right now, we couldn't make it to Charcoal kilns, there was 1.4 miles left when we turned around. Haven't passed even half a mile on the unpaved road...

hiking
17 days ago

Awesome hike! Hiked this trail on Monday, 8/27/18. Great weather! The views are unreal! Switch backs are a bit tough but well worth it.

backpacking
21 days ago

It was beautiful!! The switch backs were pretty intense.

hiking
21 days ago

Trail hiked on August 27, 2018, the projected weather for this location was said to be sunny with haze, 64-72 degrees @ 8000 feet of elevation and up. A wind and gust projection of 24 mph with zero rain. I experienced no haze, but the wind and gusts never let up.
I arrived to the parking loop at approximately 0550 hours with very few vehicles there already. I officially began recording the trek at 0615 hours. The first mile was definitely a heart pumper and warm up for me, the only reason I didn't break a sweat was because my face and hands were frozen from the cool temperature! There seemed to be endless stairs in the first mile to gain some elevation. I was far too consumed in snapping photos that I almost lost track of time and later realized i spent 40 minutes in the first mile. The 2nd mile was a nice break from endless stairs and horse droppings (in part I think the fresh droppings occasionally served a purpose in providing warmth, it was everywhere), if i would have got there any earlier I would have walked through the steam of it! At that early hour I was able to hear a creek, and caught sight of some very jaw dropping lakes- so beautiful! At around the 2.6 mile hiking down into the Barney Lake area, I was very much surprised by a Black Bear as much as I surprised it. Fortunately the bear was trained better than I was- it ran away! I froze and then proceeded to do everything backwards by snapping a photo, recording it and then yelling. I then thought it would be a smart idea as to not disrupt it again and thought tiptoeing through that area was much smarter- NOT!
Hiking into mile number 3, the terrain change was immediate. Everything became rock, unstable footing, caught poles, rolling ankles, and then I was too afraid of running into big horn sheep so I kept making myself dizzy looking everywhere at once. I felt like a bobble head! Mile 3 also consisted of just about all the switchbacks you'll encounter on this trail; the switchbacks were short, rocky and many! As you approach the pass, get ready to see a stunning sight. I personally thought it looked sexy! The different shades of blue in the water, a few white caps, the backdrop of grey and meadows. Dear God it was heaven a very sexy heaven!!!! At that moment I couldn't wait to get down to the water, but was quickly grounded by the change in terrain again, the trail becomes thin, too thin. I needed to use a chopping motion with my poles to move the shrubs, and branches out of the way! The trail literally had me cat walking it was so thin. At approximately mile marker 4.4 don't miss the mine shaft, (i think that's what it is) it's boarded, chained and locked, but I'd love the hear the story on that one! Duck lake is incredibly large, and Pika lake was just too pretty to not take off a few layers and sun bath out there. I dipped in the water and immediately regretted my decisions in life- I thought my heart stopped! I never experienced a nuisance with insects of any kind, if you fish, keep in mind there are fish in those waters! I regret not taking my fishing rod. I truly hope you give this moderate hike a chance to prove to you that even the easier ones are worth your time. This one bumped up to my favorite so far.

hiking
23 days ago

hiking
23 days ago

backpacking
27 days ago

One of the best backpacking trips I've done in CA. Was only 5.5 miles to lake 2 but the elevation made it tougher than i expected.

The majority of the hike is uphill with some shaded switchbacks to start and then it is pretty exposed for the next 2 miles which includes more switchbacks.

Weather was perfect and there were no mosquitos!

Camped at lake 2 but also day hiked to lake 3. I thought lake 2 was prettier.

hiking
29 days ago

This hike is very pretty. I only made it to First Lake because it started to rain pretty heavily at that point and I was only wearing shorts and a tank top. Definitely be sure to bring a sweater (even if the weather is hot when you start the hike). Also, I was told the hike was only 3.8 miles to first lake... which definitely made me wonder if it was the altitude alone that made the hike seem so long. I gave this trail a 4 star rating because horses are allowed on the trail and you can pay $100 to ride a horse to third Lake. The path is narrow at some points which makes it difficult to avoid horse droppings in some locations (and the mess/smell the droppings made after being reconstituted by the rain was not entirely pleasant).
I’d definitely recommend bringing extra sunscreen (and wearing a hat and/or long sleeves). I’m very fair skinned and the first 2.5 miles or so don’t have much shade.

hiking
29 days ago

I did this hike out and back in under 4 hours. My Garmin registered 8 miles. Warning... if you are looking for peace and solitude don’t go on this hike. 8/20/18 Monday was too crowded and noisy. People please keep your voices down...
The first 1.5-2 miles are very dusty. The best part about this hike- getting to the Duck pass. It’s challenging and fun.

hiking
29 days ago

Great trail, very interesting the whole way. We parked at the backpackers lot and had to walk a bit down the road since we were told by the ranger not to use the pack trail. A lot of people disregarded that rule, but this is the route we did. This trail is scenic pretty much the whole way. Its pretty steep and hot in the first few miles but once you're past the first series of switchbacks beside second falls, it starts to flatten out. It stays pretty flat until a little bit after Lon Chaneys cabin (~1/2 way to 2nd lake). The second set of switchbacks wasn't as bad as the first and you'll start to see the turquoise water of 1st lake through the trees. We went to second lake and camped there for a couple nights, spent the days exploring the other lakes. We had thunderstorms every day between 2-6 like clockwork. This is what we called our afternoon thunderstorm nap time. On the last day after the thunderstorm we were greeted with a double rainbow!!! It was insanely beautiful! When it was time to go, it only took about an hour to get back down...I would do this trail again, even as a day hike although it is so beautiful you don't want to leave. Ever.

hiking
29 days ago

So pretty. Loved all the lakes and creeks you pass along the way. The beginning is a bit strenuous and when you hit the rocks it’s also tough. The views are worth it tho! A little smoke was coming in so we didn’t stay at Duck Lake for long. But it was nice to put our feet in the water and cool down. On the way back, stopped by the smaller lakes and took our time heading back. Started at 830am and got to the car by 3pm (includes stops for resting) Such a beautiful day and did run into people quite often on the way up and back down. It’s tiring tho. I tracked in my phone over 11miles total. Bring lots of water (or filtration) and snacks. Bugs weren’t too bad. Although something stung me on the back of my arm but was just a small welt and went away. The shaded parts were nice too.

One of the most beautiful hikes/places Iv seen. It’s a must do, I recommend starting the hike no later than 6am. You’ll see sunrise and avoid any heat!

backpacking
1 month ago

Gorgeous!

hiking
1 month ago

The first couple of miles on this trail are fully exposed with little or no shade. Therefore, I suggest starting as early as possible to avoid the heat of the day. The lakes themselves are amazing - definitely worth the effort.

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful hike! Easy+/Moderate. Views are stunning both ways. Hit a thunder and lightening storm, rain and sleet at Duck Lake. Saw horses and dogs on the trail, everyone friendly. Several lakes along the way to have a snack or cool your feet. Many places along the route to filter water. Mosquitos not too bad.

Started at 730am and finished the whole loop and were back to the car by 2:30pm. We took our time and had lunch at Black Lake. We went counter clockwise around the loop and saved the best for last but it was all so beautiful! Not an easy hike, especially in one day but totally worth it! Much warmer temps in the beginning and is cooler around the lakes. Lots of water and stunning views! Cant wait to go back and hike in and camp!

backpacking
1 month ago

My attempt at this trail ended with me returning before the lakes. Started late around 2pm and returned to the trail head by 8:30pm for a total of 1900+ feet elevation gain. My fault for not having altitude training before hand.

The trail is well defined and has spectacular views, this trail makes for a very nice swim location and starting point for the Palisades Peak.

One of the best day trail hikes in eastern Sierra

Very nice hike! This is our 2nd time and it was just as pretty as the first. There is a lot of smoke in the area due to the Lions fire but there was none on this hike, which was a real plus. The first mile is some work and the switchbacks leading to the top of the pass are challenging but doable. Go on this one, you won’t be disappointed!

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