Explore the most popular birding trails in Inyo National Forest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

After reading about this hike, we were excited to visit this lake. The trail going up has a good view of Silver Lake, however, it also has a view of the road and cars on the way up. The trail itself has a lot of rocks, and a lot of scrub brush. There are very few trees therefore very little shade. Once we got to the lake, we were suprised to see a concrete dam and a power station. Not exactly the serene alpine views we were looking forward to. The lake was not pretty and the trees on one side were cut down for some reason. All in all, a pretty disappointing hike. With so many hikes in the Mammoth area, I can't recommend this hike at all.

Hiked to Jordan hot springs and camped overnight! My friend and I were the only ones there. The hot spring was nice and hot and perfect for soaking in. Hiked back up to the trailhead the next day. Not gonna lie.... it was a pretty tough hike back up. Wish I coulda stayed there one extra day. Overall, it was a great hike with lots of neat spots to go off trail and explore.

1 day ago

Although the path itself is not very pretty, you will get an epic view of Mount Conness and North Peak. Highly recommend for a day long stroll. Bring supplies for a picnic and lots of sunscreen!

4 days ago

Love this hike, it never gets old! We’ve hiked it a total of four times for a day hike, camping and on our way to thousand island. The trail is pretty steep up until you get to Agnew lake, but after that it’s not bad at all. My youngest son had just turned 5 the first time he went and didn’t complain once! Views are amazing. I suggest starting out early in the morning since there is not very much shade. There’s a nice cold stream as you make your way around Gem lake which is perfect to fill up your water bottle with if you’re camping there or if you just need it for the hike back down.

Don’t miss the view up past the lake! So tranquil. Lovely fall colors with the aspen grove were why we came back today.

I really enjoyed this hike! Offered a decent level of physical challenge, while also affording some better than average scenery! Very easily found the trail head and experienced no difficulty to Valentine Lake. Do be warned though, those with less-than a decent level of fitness may struggle to cope with the elevation and elevation gain

Did this as part of a loop, coming back along Duck Pass trail, Emeralds Lake trail and Coldwater George trail. Definitely felt the altitude when I set off but it got better. It was an overall steady climb up and no long strenuous sections. Started hailing and then snowing on the way down. Great views and worth the effort.

14 days ago

Amazing hike. The start of the trail at the campground is not well marked. Walk towards the fence line and there is a sign. Once past the campground you get great views of Silver Lake and as you climb you see the falls and the cable car tracks straight up. Agnew Lake is small. Gem Lake is beautiful and worth the extra distance. While eating lunch an afternoon storm moved in and the temperature dropped dramatically in a matter of minutes. We watched it snow at the far side of the lake as we put on our jackets and rain gear before heading back down the trail. We got to the car just as the rain started pouring down. Great fall colors in the Aspen trees.

beautiful aspens, distant waterfalls, this trail has it all. In spring, Wooley Mules Ears. Trail obviously used by pack team but its fairly easy although the elevation/rocky terrain makes it moderate. Its the journey, not the destination! Take some time to visit the mine relecks, so cool!

Absolutely magnificent hike, walked up and the reward was stunning, was able to comfortably trail-run down.

Great, fun hike! Pretty level throughout. Lots of rocks on the Western side, but the other side is a breeze! Will probably do it again sometime!

Short but a good to see in Mammoth.

Nice hike but dusty trail. We included the side hike to the earthquake fault and then picked up Mountain View trail. Way back via downtown trail which gets confusing with all the bike trails

Epic hike! Washout's were a bit tricky to navigate... lakes were fantastic.

Warning!! Not a good loop! Once you hit the ski runs turn around and take the same trail back to your car. We ended up walking down a steep downhill dusty road and then back along the main road through town. Would not recommend.

Short hike but very nice

1 month ago

This trail is a treat: seclusion, scenery, available water, and a good work-out due to elevation gain. It took us four and one-half hours to arrive a Grass Lake, and less than three hours to get back to Whitney Portal. Met a sole hiker on his way down the trail, and one family of four near Grass Lake. As others have stated, you get to hike a trail that is nearly void of other people. Beautiful scenery, too. I posted a few photos. One of my favorite day hikes, and no permit is required (unless you are an overnight visitor). Enjoy...

1 month ago

Took the trail early July. BEAUTIFUL! Not room crowded. Fished Skelton on the way. Barney was crystal clear and beautiful. Great hike!

We just finished the trail and just about completed the whole loop. The track down from ski lift wasn’t great but offered some more great views from a different angle. We finished with a very short stretch of road as wanted to go back via shop! Following gps was good advice

One of the most beautiful hikes I’ve ever done. Steep and challenging on the way up but I stopped and really took it all in along the way. Steep to start and after about 45 minutes-hour you get to Sherwin Lake, I didn’t stay here long but it is quite lovely. At some point you will walk through a grove of Redwoods, aside from the lake itself I think this was my favorite part. After that you hit a few streams. One of the pools from the streams definitely has some thermo activity, light bubbling coming up through the ice cold water. I stuck my hand in and it felt warm by the bubbles. So rad!
When you get to the steep river you hit some steep switchbacks and then you finally come out to a scenery like you’ve never experienced. Valentine Lake was picture perfect. I hiked on a hot day so since I was alone I ditched the clothing and jumped in.... and then right out since the water is ice cold. But if weather permits then I still strongly suggest it.

So this hike. Do it!
Leave no trace please <3

1 month ago

Hard uphill for first 30 min. Gorgeous trail that comes out to June Lake mid ski lodge. Wanted to do loop so put on GPS. Easy to follow map. Goes down road. Would recommend in and out hike for the beauty.

Easy, informative, and several trail lengths to accommodate. Very interesting history

Trail was hard for us to follow, became lost a couple of times. We are beginners so might chalk it up to that. Overall great hike though the elevation got to us a bit.

1 month ago

This is a great hike, but be warned it is strenuous at times with a few steep switchbacks.

1 month ago

Not a maintained little trail. BEAUTIFUL, but not maintained. Easy walk around the lake if strictly walking. There is no "hike" to this trail, muddy areas, down pine trees, narrow trail, and overgrown shrubs make the trail a little difficult to navigate through, but the views are priceless. One of my absolute favorite lakes in the Mono County!

1 month ago

Pretty hike, several switchbacks along the face. The hike is prettier than the destination of Lake Agnew though. Recommend going in morning if hot weather as the rocks can get pretty warm

Beautiful trail with lots of wildflowers in the summer and fall colors after September

The initial climb overlooking Silver Lake to your left was very beautiful and rewarding. After some switchback, you'll get to Agnew Lake (2 mile), keep going another 0.9 mile and you'll reach Gem Lake (2.9 mile). Gem Lake was definitely more impressive than Agnew Lake, but I would suggest further continue to the west end of Gem Lake, which is even more picturesque and has an access to the serene beach (4.4 mile). It was a perfect lunch spot for us, and my husband enjoyed a dip and swim in this beautiful cold water before lunch. No single soul around us. Great thing is that from this corner of the lake, the man-made structure was out of site (both Agnew Lake and Gem Lake are reservoirs supplying water to LA).
We started the trail head at 10:30, reached Gem Lake at 12:30, then the western end at 1:00, ate lunch and relaxed for an hour at the lake and headed back down at 2:00 pm, returned to the trail head at a little after 4 pm. A beautiful rewarding day hike. Highly recommend.

It was definitely a good work out. There were some nice scenery but nothing that I felt captured by.

Getting to the lake seemed less intuitive towards the end (after the “lake Agnew access” sign), but keep going and there’s a bridge on the left.

The trail is beautiful but be advised that the Casa Vieja backpackers campground is on a meadow that is frequented by herds of cattle. They moo loudly all night long and defecate near the creek. If you can plan on camping at the hot spring it is a better choice. The hot spring and nearby campground is beautiful and well-maintained. From Casa Vieja to the hot spring the trail is steep but worth it.

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