Explore the most popular waterfall 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.

Very nice leisurely walk with some great mountain views and a large lake that your dog can run around! Easy walk, if you're looking for any sort of challenge then this is not for you, if not then I recommend it!

on Heart Lake Trail

hiking
15 days ago

I don’t know why this is classified as easy - easy is something Grandma could do and this is most definitely NOT. It’s pretty steep - it’s all uphill until you get to the lake. The lake is pretty but there are better hikes in the area. But the views along the trail are amazing, the lake, IMO, is secondary

Trailhead was kind of confusing to find.You have to drive through a campground. There is a huge parking lot and you probably won’t have a hard time finding a place to park (hiked this over Fourth of July week and plenty of spaces). This is in the same parking lot as trailheads for the mine, duck and emerald lake. Go into the parking lot and go all the way around, almost to the exit - that’s where the heart lake trailhead is. Parking lot is a one way.

15 days ago

Nice trail, would rather ride horseback!

15 days ago

Nice trail, pretty easy with a great payoff — Postpile!

hiking
15 days ago

Beautiful lake, nice trail. Worth the extra side trek from Pacific Crest Trail. Near two shuttle stops. Very dry and dusty during summer.

hiking
18 days ago

Amazing views and very beautiful hike. However, I would call it moderate, not easy. To me, easy is okay for older folks and kids. Easy to me is okay with regular shoes not hiking boots. Kids had a hard time and a few older folks in our group only made it half way. The switchbacks do not feel like easy. We took about 3 hours including breaks, photos.
Another note, the cold water creek campsite has multiple trail heads. We went to 2 others before finding the heart lake trailhead, but once we found it it was easy to tell and navigate.
All in all, I highly recommend this hike. Many people who passed us easily went up and down this trail, but keep in mind your group’s fitness level!

Started late morning and definitely felt the lack of shade while hiking the uphill switchbacks. Didn’t climb up the tram/cable car tracks - looked a little sketchy. Lake at the top isn’t the most beautiful alpine lake I’ve ever seen, but we saw lots of wildflowers and a few small waterfalls on the way up that made it worth it.

hiking
23 days ago

I did this hike a few years back in the summer and it was amazing! Not a popular trail, so we pretty much have the entire place to ourselves.

Solid hike with plenty going on around you. Had an afternoon to fill in (late June). Left from the start of trail behind RV park at 4pm which turned out to be great timing as the shadow of the mountain was starting to cover the track (30 degrees celsius.) Not much tree shade so take sun protection if you are doing this of a hot day.
2 waterfalls seen. Also family of deer closer to RV park!
Although tempting to ignore signs and walk up tracks for power station trolley I would advise against as some of the tracks pass on very narrow passes and I also noticed some squashed grass on tracks that looked way too consistent to be from peoples feet so I think that the trolley is still active. I have seen some people complain of the power station at the outlet of Agnew lake but I loved this section!
Continued until I could see the dam wall of Gem Lake then turned back at 5.45pm, I was only carrying a light pack. Allow more time if carrying camping gear.
Next time I would continue up to Gem lake and beyond if time allowed it.

Great hike. Still plenty of snow all the way up the route starting about 11.5-12K but melting fast. No need for any technical gear as it can almost all be bypassed... 1-2 months ago likely not the case. Tons of scree/talus and was 80-100 degrees depending on altitude.

Great trail. It’s strenuous, but the views at the creek about midway and the lake are spectacular. I would bring bug repellent, the mosquitos were hungry (late June timeframe).

nature trips
1 month ago

Great hike. Not too hard for my 2 - 12 year old companions. Most of the trail was slag. The views around every corner was great. You pass a very ugly Agnew Lake. Keep going all the way to Gem Lake. It is worth the extra hiking

This hike was short and sweet. It was a beautiful hike .

hiking
1 month ago

Strenuous especially after the trail junction. Local maps say it is a 4.4 mile round trip hike. The day we went it was very, very windy. When we got to the lake we literally were almost blown over. But it was a gorgeous little cirque. Someday I’ll probably do it again.

Nice easy trail

Tried to go today instead of boarding and the main road was closed :(

Started at Lake Mary campground and walked to Mammoth Pass Trailhead. Hiked through patches of snow on the way up. Not much shade on the way down to Red's Meadow Resort. Trail on the map looked like it went to Red's Meadow Campground but takes you more towards the resort. Went via the pack trail down to Rainbow Falls and the Lower Falls. Hiked up to Devil's Postpile and back to Red's Meadow Campground (Closed). There was luckily water at the Red's Meadow Resort that we could fill up from because it was very hot.

Beautiful views. Loved it.

5/29/18 0700hrs - hiking boots highly recommended. Still considerable snowpack on the southwest slope, especially around the bridges. Much nicer to walk on the beach than sticking to the trail.

Did an out and back of 17 miles (to Owens Peak saddle). Loved the views and space, really recommend the walk. Was planning to try the saddle up the peak but the rain came and my tired legs voted to turn around instead!

nice and easy trail with beautiful views!

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.

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!

Very nice up the North Fork Trail. We hiked until the snow was too deep just before First Lake.

The hike begins at Reds Meadow Resort. It continues gradually downhill toward the San Joaquin river. You cross Boundary Creek a little over half way to the upper viewing area. We were there in October 2017, the lower viewing area was closed for repairs, but the views of Rainbow Falls and valley down stream are worth the walk. Enjoy!

5 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.

hiking
6 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
7 months ago

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

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