Explore the most popular lake 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.

Amazing Hiking and swimming

I have spent time on several sections of the pct the section between Kennedy meadows campground and mt. Whitney is absolutely beautiful.

All I can say is wow! This Trail starts off at a nice gentle slope for about 1 mile, after that be prepared for some serious altitude gain. I did this hike in May 2018 and the mountains surrounding the trail were still covered in snow. there was a small river running across the trail which require waterproof boots and some careful footing. If you're looking for a real leg workout about halfway up you will come across a set of railroad tracks that were used for a pulley car to haul supplies up to the dam. You can take this track up to the dam but your legs better be in excellent shape. I measured a 37 degree incline.
I continued on to Gem Lake and it was worth the extra time and effort.

hiking
6 days ago

Amazing Hike! Completely worth it. Beautiful view of Lone Pine peak. Lots of snow still getting up to the lake. Not too difficult.

This trail leads up by Horsetail Falls which was an awesome sight to see! It crosses a smaller waterfall/stream so waterproof shoes would come in handy. The last ascent to Gem Lake is very steep with lots of loose rocks. It's kind of a gnarly hike to be rated moderate but I loved it! The views are amazing! Also, bring a hat as there is no shade!

on Meysan Trail

12 days ago

Easy trail to follow pretty views and worth it

hiking
19 days ago

Walk down from the Visitor Center via paved paths to a closer view of Mono Lake. The VC is very interesting and worth a stop. Drive out to the east side for some up close and personal interaction with the tufas.

Great day or overnite hike.

Walked on a lot of stinky sand. Lots of flies. Couldn’t see any huge tufas you have to be on a boat for those.

scenic driving
3 months ago

Been to Laurel Lake 44 times! Always 4x4! (mine is a Jeep TJ standard) Talk to a Forest Ranger in Mammoth Lakes--Sometimes they have new updates on trail. Arrive at trail beginning "early" say sunrise up to 11:00 a.m. Then enjoy the drive and peninsula on lake. Peninsula is highest place to legally have a campfire! Wonderful fly fishing here! 7 wonderful hikes around & above lake. When driving back down never, ever leave till 2:00 p.m. ! ! WHY? Road is narrow...just a bit winder than your vehicle! No head on meeting! Very difficult to dive backwards with steep drop offs. Only 2 areas to pass each other and far apart. My Activity: 4x4, fishing, photography, hiking, walking.
Best months to go up: no snow. Saturday can be to crowded---new visitors unaware of narrow road!

hiking
3 months ago

Great hike even in February. Several lakes at the top.

backpacking
3 months ago

I go backpacking around here almost every year, and the Pine Creek Trailhead is one of the less crowded trails in the area. The first part of the hike is steep, with a quick elevation gain and a lot of switchbacks. It can get really hot and there's not much shade on the initial portion, so it's a good idea to bring a lot of water and start early. Once you get to about 10,000ft it's a pretty easy hike to Honeymoon lake. From Honeymoon, you can go on to Pine Creek, Italy pass, or a number of other lakes in the area!

3 months ago

One of the most rewarding views ever!

I have hiked this trail 5 or 6 times. The trail is fairly steep at times, and narrow in a few spots. The last time I did this hike was in 2014 with my wife and son. I was excited to show them the mine shaft and all the other mining equipment. I was disapointed when I saw that the shaft had been collapsed or collapsed on its own. It is still a gorgeous hike, and one I hope to take a few more times.

This place is breathtaking. Seems almost unreal. I will come back again and again - hiked in October of ‘17

hiking
4 months ago

The strenuous hike up to Fern Lake is very rewarding. Fern Lake is extremely beautiful all year round, with beautiful mountains surrounding the lake and several great beach spots to relax and have a snack/meal. The trail is a constant incline until you get to the Yost-Fern fork, after that it is extremely steep. Trekking poles and good boots are highly recommended. Dogs are great for this trail if they are trail trained.

hiking
5 months ago

Great trail, not too steep but not flat. At the end you will find a beautiful frozen lake. Best part is there is very light traffic.

hiking
5 months ago

great hike! and great views of June lake area. I will have to come back when the lakes not frozen.

Hike is so worth the constant switchbacks (which did seem like forever but it ends I swear!)

6 months ago

Great views on the way up with both Lava Tube and Seven Lakes Point for rest stops. It gets really windy at the top and there were a couple of areas where I got nervous about the narrow trail/cliff edges. Alternate option down is to loop around the Seven Lakes Trail.

hiking
6 months ago

One of the prettiest Alpine Lakes I've seen on the west coast. I went during the height of summer and expected a lot of traffic on the trail, because the town was packed however it was quiet and peaceful. I would recommend once getting near the lake to hike to a view point above the lake and take in a 360 view of the surrounding area. 6 hrs or so would be enough time for most people to hike and spend time by the lake swimming etc.

The trail is amazing when it snows

Perfect day for a perfect long hike (note: We continued to the far side of Gem Lake, 5 miles in from the trailhead and 5 miles back.......but if this hike isn’t rated “Hard”, I can’t imagine what would be. So to call it "Moderate" is a bit of an understatement, IMHO. However to think of it or categorize it as “Hard" might scare away a few hikers, and in truth this climb is do-able by most. Lots of loose rocks and scree. Hiking shoes or boots highly recommended. Advice: When in doubt the trails goes UP, (except on the way back, LOL)

great hike! you get to see a few Lakes great views but stay hydrated at the end of the day you'll be tired

this trail should be rated as hard it's pretty steep hike up to the lake but I would do it again great views

hiking
6 months ago

Hiked about 2 miles past Sherwin Lakes. We used this hike to acclimate to the area before doing a much longer hike the next day. It was a beautiful hike on this Fall day.

hiking
6 months ago

This trail presented a tough climb up & a difficult stream crossing due to the snow melt. The views at the top of Gem lake & Agnew lake were well worth the effort. Crowds thinned out once you crossed the falls. Start of trail was a bit confusing from the campground, but you can continue on the road for about 5oo yards to reconnect to the trail head as the signs at the campground said the trail was closed due to flooding.

Beautiful hike. About 2” of snow on most of the trail after the log crossing as you pass the Fern Lake trail.

hiking
7 months ago

Very nice hike thru woods, the incline is a little tough for beginners a lot of switchbacks but just keep going the views of the lakes are magnificent it’ll be well worth it.

The road to the trailhead requires a high clearance vehicle. Driving a Honda Civic, the closest that I could get to trailhead was a good 4.3 miles away! (End of asphalt in Fuller road). I could never figure out the start of the trail and hence just climbed the hill till I saw something that resembled a trail. I again lost the trail after the small pond. Nonetheless it made the hike that much more interesting. Did it on Oct 14th as a day hike.
There are too many use trails after Red lake to get to Split mountain. On the way back you will see the good ones :-)
Just remember to come back to the correct ridge. There are use trails from the top which take you further down to the lake on the left (looking down) and possibly to the ridge on the left fork (looking down). We want to be on the right fork.

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