Best trails in Inyo National Forest, California

9,961 Reviews
Looking for a great trail in Inyo National Forest, California? AllTrails has 127 great hiking trails, trail running trails, mountain biking trails and more, with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers, and nature lovers like you. Ready for some activity? There are 57 moderate trails in Inyo National Forest ranging from 1.5 to 42.6 miles and from 3,782 to 11,581 feet above sea level. Start checking them out and you'll be out on the trail in no time!
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Map of trails in Inyo National Forest, California
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Top trails (127)
#1 - Mount Whitney Trail
Inyo National Forest
hardYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow Star(1668)
Length: 22.5 mi • Est. Multi-day
This is a long and strenuous out-and-back trek that summits Mt. Whitney, the highest point in the contiguous United States. The trail averages 550' of elevation gain per mile and features two designated campsites along the way, the generally uncrowded Outpost Camp (10,360'), which is situated in a nicely sheltered meadow beside some running streams, and the much more popular Trail Camp (12,039'), an exposed, rocky field at the base of the infamous "97 switchbacks." At 6 miles from the trailhead and the highest possible place to camp, Trail Camp is considered the best site to acclimate to the altitude for overnight hikers. It is also popular to hike Mt. Whitney out-and-back in one day, but given the rigor and the length of the trail, a very early start from about 2-4am is recommended, as well as significant prior training for the long day. From May-Oct., the trail is permit-only (apply to the lottery by Feb. 15) and requests far exceed available permits. Alternatively, try the daily lottery at the Lone Pine ranger station for last minute openings. Dogs are actually allowed on this trail up to Trail Crest (13,777'), but they may not be your best friend after the 97 switchbacks! Hiking poles are strongly recommended, as are multiple layers with at least one being wind- and waterproof, and definitely be prepared to purify or filter water along the way. The hike is strenuous, long, and the effects of the altitude can become intense (spend time acclimating before heading to the trail and be sure to eat / drink consistently throughout the day), but the rewards are a panoramic, jaw-dropping view that stretches as far as the eye can see, as well as the joy of having achieved a true hiking milestone. As far as trails go in the lower 48, this is one for the books! In Spring and into early Summer, expect snow and ice on the trail which makes for more technical conditions often requiring microspikes and potentially crampons and ice axes (with knowledge of how to use them.)Show more
#2 - Crystal Lake Trail
Inyo National Forest
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(800)
Length: 3.1 mi • Est. 1 h 49 m
#3 - Mount Whitney Portal to Lone Pine Lake
Inyo National Forest
hardYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow Star(795)
Length: 6.5 mi • Est. 3 h 36 m
No permits required for hikers going no further than Lone Pine Lake. Day hikers going beyond require a day-use permit, obtained from the Mount Whitney Ranger Station in Lone Pine. Overnight hikers require a wilderness permit. Hikers bound for the top of Mount Whitney are controlled by a strict quota system and need to reserve a space far in advance. Fantastic views of Mount Whitney!Show more
#4 - Convict Lake Loop Trail
Inyo National Forest
easyYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(526)
Length: 2.5 mi • Est. 1 h 1 m
#5 - Minaret Lake
Inyo National Forest
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow Star(140)
Length: 13.4 mi • Est. 7 h 3 m
#6 - Fern Lake Trail
Inyo National Forest
hardYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(270)
Length: 3.1 mi • Est. 2 h 18 m
#7 - Barney Lake Trail
Inyo National Forest
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow Star(300)
Length: 5.4 mi • Est. 2 h 58 m
#8 - McLeod Lake Trail
Inyo National Forest
easyYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(233)
Length: 1.8 mi • Est. 58 m
Perfect little hike with incredible views. If you're looking for something fun to do in a short time, we highly suggest this hike!Show more
#9 - Twenty Lakes Basin and Saddlebag Lake Loop
Inyo National Forest
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(136)
Length: 7.7 mi • Est. 3 h 43 m
A day hike around beautiful lakes in the eastern Sierra, just outside the east entrance to Yosemite on Tioga pass. This alpine basin studded with lakes and ringed by spectacular mountains appeals to hikers seeking exceptional scenery without the stiff elevation gains required of most lakes in northern Yosemite Twenty Lakes Loop is a beautiful hike that starts from the Saddlebag lake (10,000ft) and takes you around some of the most amazing alpine lakes. You get great views of the near by peaks: North Peak and Mt. Conness. This is an easy hike if you are acclimatized to the altitude. You might feel short of breath if you just arrived and started hiking, since the trail head is at 10,000ft. The section of trail between Shamrock Lake and Lake Helen is often covered with snow into late season. Be prepared to climb down a steep rock near the lower crossing of Mill Creek. The hike is about 9 miles but if you take the water taxi across the saddlebag lake, you can cut down a couple of miles, allowing small children to enjoy a short segment of the hike. The Saddlebag Lake Resort boat taxi operates July through early September. Wear sturdy shoes as this is a rocky hike.Show more
#10 - Methuselah Trail
Inyo National Forest
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(246)
Length: 4.0 mi • Est. 1 h 36 m
Please note that the visitor center closes seasonally in Winter.Show more
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