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Duck Pass and Pika Lake Trail

MODERATE 262 reviews
#3 of 61 trails in

Duck Pass and Pika Lake Trail is a 9.5 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Mammoth Lakes, California that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from July until October. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 9.5 miles Elevation Gain: 2,132 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dog friendly

backpacking

camping

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

walking

bird watching

running

forest

lake

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

rocky

This large, grand, austere mountain lake is close enough for a day hike from Mammoth Lakes, but far enough that it still offers solitude to those who want it. Wilderness permit required for overnight use.

hiking
rocky
scramble
15 days ago

Rocky. Put ur rocky insoles in.

hiking
16 days ago

Really nice hike with rewarding views. Hard to believe there are alpine lakes that big! There were some bugs at lower elevations. Dog loved it.

hiking
16 days ago

Amazing

hiking
rocky
18 days ago

Established trail, shady, but steep & rocky and at altitude so stopped often, being from sea level. Drive through Coldwater campground to get to trail.

hiking
19 days ago

Beautiful lakes all through this hike!

hiking
rocky
22 days ago

hiking
22 days ago

We decided to get to Duck Lake after feeling great after visiting Barney lake. The last 1.5 mile climb was definitely worth the views at duck lake. Just make sure to take your time and bring plenty of water and snacks!

hiking
no shade
rocky
23 days ago

did a two night but had to stop at Barney the first night due to altitude sickness. the trail was in great condition. went to pika but it was covered by skeeters. went back to Duck lake and found a perfect camping spot that gave an amazing view of Duck lake. take it slow and have plenty of water. bugs weren't bad coming up or while at Duck.

hiking
24 days ago

My friends and I did this is a day hike which was definitely a great option. The trail is easy to follow with lots of smaller lakes to stop at if you’d like a break for lunch. Once you start to really head upwards the views become more and more breathtaking! Take your time, stay hydrated, and bring lots of snacks. We ended up at Duck Lake and passed on going to pika. Duck lake was the spot and we stayed there for a couple hours. Some of us drew, some of us explored, some of us napped or ate snacks. This lake is a true testament to hike with rewards. You really feel like you’re up high in the sky at 11,000ft next to a cold snow melt body of water. Even if it’s hot out, pack a down jacket and even a hat because the wind can be quite brisk and to best enjoy your time, you’re going to want to be comfortable.

hiking
bugs
27 days ago

backpacking
bugs
27 days ago

Did this with a small group - we stayed one night at Duck lake (permit required) then came back the next morning. The plan was to go all the way to Pika lake, but due to injury and altitude sickness for some of the group members we stopped a bit earlier, totaling 8.5 miles roundtrip. We had absolutely gorgeous weather for the trip, and were armed to the teeth with sunscreen and bug spray (not as many bugs as expected due to the reviews, but it still came in handy as the mosquitoes munched on us quite a bit). Plenty of parking at the trailhead. We started at 1:40pm and it took us 4 hours 20 minutes to get to Duck lake (slow and steady). Most of the elevation gain was the last 1 1/2 miles getting over the highest point - a ton of switchbacks with no shade. We picked a spot a ways from the trail to set up and camp. The views and night sky were spectacular. Bear canisters were required for all food and scented items. I also had to string up some extra food that didn’t fit. We each had 3L hydration reservoirs and went through that easily the first day. I brought along my platypus gravity filter and we refilled the next morning with the crystal lake water. On the way back the next day we started at 10:45am and made it back to the car around 1:30pm.

backpacking
bugs
29 days ago

Absolutely beautiful! Did this as a one day weekend trip and it was really nice. The views were stunning and the weather was perfect. Bugs weren't horrible for us but still there! There were some brutal parts of the trail too. we were a group of 4 and it took us 4 hours. one person had a prior knee injury and the uphill was just too much for him, but it was still doable.

hiking
bugs
no shade
rocky
29 days ago

Tough trail in the way up and for the first part of the way back. Be prepared for no shade the last 1.5+ as you do the steep section of very rocky switchbacks. Being mosquito stuff as they are out in force-regardless of the time of day. Also be prepared to watch for horse crap from end to end of the trail. Beautiful views along the trail and don’t cheat yourself by stopping at the Duck Lake overlook. Once you reach the top of the switchbacks after Barney lake definitely go down the mountain on the other side to get closer to the lake. The meadows are wonderfully beautiful and it you stop at the top near the Pika Trail sign you’ll miss out on the most glorious part. Pack plenty of water and give yourself time if you haven’t hiked in altitude before.

hiking
29 days ago

The view along the way is very awesome!

An absolutely beautiful trail - lotsa bugs in certain places but if you have a slight breeze (or good bug spray) they’re not an issue.

Beautiful hike! 9 miles round trip. Or stop at any of the other lakes for a shorter hike.

hiking
bugs
rocky
1 month ago

Incredible!

hiking
1 month ago

This was the most amazing hike. First 3 miles was a good steady climb. Pass by 8 lakes. Well maintained trail. Lots of switchbacks. Definitely worth the last mile to Pika lake. Best part of the entire hike.

hiking
bugs
rocky
1 month ago

The trail head starts out with many switchbacks with a decent elevation gain to start. It eventually flattens out to Arrowhead Lake and Skelton Lake, before returning to that elevation gain. However the views back towards Mammoth Lakes are absolutely gorgeous. Bring that insect repellent, as the mosquitos are thriving during the summer. Once you reach the peak, you’ll see Duck Lake! Work your way down towards Pika Lake. You’ll walk along Duck Lake and it’s crystal clear water. There are meadows just off the trail with streams. A mile further, you’ll reach the end of the trail at Pika Lake. Bring your backpack, hammock, jet-boiler, and a tent. This is a perfect place to camp for a night.

hiking
bugs
rocky
1 month ago

Absolutely beautiful hike. We did this on 8/3 - no more snow on the trail, but lots of bugs. Started the hike mid-Sat morning and saw very few people on the way up. In the early afternoon, we encountered many more hikers on the way down.

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

Great trail and well marked! Very little snow, the mosquitoes at Duck and Pika lakes were minimal until 6pm. Beautiful views!

hiking
bugs
rocky
1 month ago

Hiked the weekend of August 2, 2019. Great conditions and no snow on the trail. Some bugs when you get close all lakes and even more mosquitoes at Pika and Duck lake. Water is chilly but refreshing. Fish were hard to come by but caught some smaller trout at Pika. Overall a great hike as out is way harder than back. Enjoy the views!

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