Explore ToDo - 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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hiking
22 hours 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.

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.

I logged 3.4 miles in and 3.2 miles out. this is not 5 miles round trip like it shows. I was closer to the trailhead than where this track is actually located, so if anything it should have been shorted. the hike was pretty easy. I had about 30-40 pounds in my pack. didn't have problems with the elevation until I got to the top and sat down. Started getting light headed and dizzy. the hike up is beautiful and the view at the top is gorgeous. next time up there I am planning to camp overnight.

beautiful blue skies, gorgeous views, great escape from hot hazy valley below. took some effort to follow trail markers from Blue to Donkey and even tougher from Donkey to Baboon, but that was the icing on the cake

beautiful views. blue to Donkey took a little hunting for markers and even tougher to go beyond to Baboon lakes, but they were the icing on the cake. super vistas with nice blue sky and mild temperature, while valley by Bishop was exceedingly hot and v hazy

The hike is amazing shadow lake is nice but it doesn’t compare to Ediza. The trail is flat for most of it just rocky parts of gravel and rock a some steep inclines. Once you get to Ediza u won’t be disappointed you get a beautiful view of mount Ritter and banner peak even tho for me there was smoke that day

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!

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.

backpacking
4 days ago

Gorgeous!

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.

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.

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!

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!

backpacking
9 days 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.

The trail from Lake Sabrina to Blue Lake is fairly arduous, especially with heavy packs though the scenery is spectacular. The trail from Donkey Lake to Blue Lake is sometimes hard to follow since it’s not well marked.

Beautiful hike! The trail is nice in that it has some switch backs that are spread throughout some meandering paths. Lots of water with at least one waterfall and stunning views of Sabrina.

Definitely need to stay hydrated - even though much of the hike is in the trees it is draining. Blue Lake is over 10,000 feet, so be careful if you are not ready for the altitude.

hiking
19 days ago

Amazing. AMAZING. Moderately tough hike but not overly difficult. Adjusting to the elevation is probably what makes it hard. Started hike a little after 7am and reached the first and second Lakes around 9:15. The first and second lake are right next to each other. We decided to head back after that and only took us one hour to get down to the trailhead. Pretty quick hike but on the way up we had a steady pace. I recommend starting early (needless to say). It makes going up through the switchbacks way easier when the sun isn’t beating down on you. Weather was perfect. Great visibility for us, however, on the way down smoke from the Ferguson fire was blowing through. 100% recommend this hike :)))) absolutely breathtaking.

Jaw dropping trail. One of the bests I have ever done, but I would start the loop counter clockwise, as to know, from the black lake first, this way the scenery is going to keep been better and better every time as my favourite lakes where the 1st and 2nd lakes.

Hiked this today with two friends. Our total distance was 15.37 miles as we did a full circuit of Ediza lake, before retracing our steps to the trailhead. Beautiful area of lakes, rivers, waterfalls and all that hiking in the Sierras has to offer. Visibility was reduced a fair bit by smoke from a fire burning about 5 miles away.

backpacking
24 days ago

Breathtaking views all around. We camped at the Second Lake and the view of Temple Crag from our tent was everything. There were some mad thunderstorms in the afternoon and we had to hunker down in our tent. But then as the skies opened up, we were greeted by a double rainbow. We will definitely be back very soon!

Best hike I've been on! The views are absolutely incredible!

backpacking
28 days ago

Best trail we’ve even been on! We went July 15, pretty hot but luckily there’s a creek/ waterfall next to you the entire time. My dog loved getting his dips in to cool off here and there. Wildflowers were blooming this time of year. We set up our tent by lake 2 and enjoyed the most amazing views! By far the best place I’ve visited.

backpacking
28 days ago

The first ~1.5 miles are relatively exposed and hot, but it provides nice views of the river to your left. Then it is into the trees (pine, aspen, birch) that provide tons of shade and beauty. The trail is well traveled, even during the week, with day hikers. Once you get past Second Lake there are fewer folks on the trail. We set up camp at Third Lake and camped a couple of nights. The hike up to Palisades Glacier is well worth the ~3 mile RT. Beautiful views of the glacier and river that drains the valley. We had thundershowers all three days there. But by 6 pm, the skies cleared and we could watch the sunlight off the tall peaks around. First rate Eastern Sierra hike.

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.

This was our second hike in the Mammoth Lakes area (Duck Lake was our first) and we were very happy we chose this for our 2nd day and we were more a bit more acclimatized to the altitude.

Highlight:
- This hike is one of THE MOST BEAUTIFUL river-side hikes we’ve ever done. Really a STUNNING river all the way up with lots of changes in size, speed, falls, etc. I think this hike is all about the river - don’t get me wrong the lakes are beautiful too but the river is stunning!

Hike description:
- It starts flat and then downhill to Shadow Creek. Then the trail ascends up to Shadow Lake with beautiful switchbacks and little shade. Beautiful river and waterfalls. Shadow Lake is half-way point to Ediza and great spot for a stop and snack. Shadow Lake to Ediza includes beautiful river-side shaded trails and also another steep and exposed (but shorter) climb toward Ediza.
- Between the two switchback sections the trail meanders along-side the river in many covered areas with stunning wildflowers, green growth and shade. Beautiful hiking!
- At Ediza there are at least two options. The official bridge is washed out so 1) stay on the right side of Ediza and enjoy the lake from that side - you’ll need to stay on the trail on the right of the river - enjoy some light bouldering - and you’ll get there easily. We found a nice breeze (and few bugs) there so we really enjoyed it. Or 2) you can cross the river and hike to the left side of Ediza - we didn’t cross but looks like the most shallow crossing is about 0.25 down-river (backtrack) from the broken bridge along the river (which is off the main trail).
- We started at 8:30am and finished at 3:45pm (back to parking lot). About 13 miles in 7 hours at comfortable pace with many short stops and one longer lunch stop.

Other:
- The drive to the trailhead can be a bit confusing. Officially you can drive and park at the trailhead only before 7am (and after 7am you’re supposed to park at the Mammoth Adventure Center and take a shuttle to the trailhead). We drove in around 8am on a weekday and were able to find spots at the trailhead. It was a bit of a risk since the trailhead does fill up which would have meant driving back up to the Adventure Center and taking the shuttle (which would have cost us at least 30 extra minutes depending on the shuttle schedule). Obviously it was nice to have our car at the trailhead when we finished.
- We started at 8:30am and the mosquitoes were fierce all the way to Ediza. My partner wound up with 50+ bites. Highly recommend you wear LOOSE clothing (so bugs don’t bike through clothing) and lots of repellent.
- Due to the mosquitoes we didn’t find the hike as relaxing - we had to keep moving all the way to Ediza. Although that probably helped us keep a good pace, it would have been nice to be able to stop and enjoy here and there.

Overall a stunning hike! Highly recommended, especially if you get lucky with the season and don’t have to deal with the mosquitos.

Didn't know it was a difficult trail until now. I struggled but I can say I did it. Went all the way to Gem Lake. Gorgeous!

Great easy hike! So many lakes and great views. You have to make it to the end at Gem Lakes

Amazing, went last month. Still a lot of snow on the ground up by iceberg lake and we did not have crampons so we couldn’t make it to the other lakes past that. But iceberg lake was incredible. Mostly still frozen over at the time. Less mosquitos up there as well.

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