The north-south Inyo Mountains comprise a high and vast desert range, and the isolated and pristine Wilderness that bears their name encompasses a large portion of this sheerly rugged terrain. The area reaches a high point on Keynot Peak, at about 11,000 feet, and separates the Owens Valley on the west from the Saline Valley on the east. Most of the eastern border is shared with Death Valley National Park. Year-round streams, some cascading over waterfalls, can be found in eight canyons on the rough east side. These steep-walled canyons offer challenges to rock climbers. In addition to Keynot Peak, the prominent summits of New York Butte and Mount Inyo provide tough, nontechnical hikes with splendid views as rewards. Creosote, shadscale scrub, and sagebrush proliferate at lower elevations. You'll find a lush riparian habitat in the moist canyons, and pinion-juniper woodlands on some of the slopes. Bristlecone and limber pine grow in the higher reaches. Inyo Mountains Wilderness lies partly on BLM land and partly within Inyo National Forest. A rich mining legacy has left a smattering of ruins to explore, and the towers that supported a men-and-salt-bearing tram from the Saline Valley salt mines to Owens Lake can still be seen on Cerro Gordo Peak. There are 103 miles of unmaintained trails, often difficult to follow, a holdover from historic use. Most of these trails are not shown on maps. From Reward, the old Lonesome Miner Trail (40 miles) will take you south through the highest country to Hunter Canyon. The chance for a solitude-rich Wilderness experience of a high order awaits the adventurous.

i hiked on November 21st and there were quite snow after second creek and i was happy that i had spike to make the hike easier.. in afternoon, there’s not much sunlight so you might want to hit it before midday. i didn’t find this hike “hard”. technical and trail is well tracked. just steady incline. i hike a lot, and took me 2.5hrs for return including short break.

Great views the entire way.
For someone who lives at sea level and doesn't do a ton of hiking, I found the elevation gain challenging.

I loved everything about this hike. It was a nice steep climb to a gorgeous lake. The views on the way were spectacular and you get to hear the sounds of the falls as you make the climb. Every switchback offers a beautiful view. This was a perfect way to end the weekend after we had completed Big Pine Lakes the day before. Try to get to the lake when the sun is up high, you'll have great reflections off of the lake.

Beautiful hike to the lake. Lots of small streams, at least in October. Make sure you allow enough time, or it will be a dark hike back. Headlamps or flashlights are a must.