Earthquake Fault Trail

EASY 9 reviews
#57 of 113 trails in

Earthquake Fault Trail is a 0.3 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Mammoth Lakes, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is accessible year-round.

0.3 miles
45 feet

kid friendly



nature trips





wild flowers

A more appropriate name for the nearly straight fracture would be "Earthquake Fissure." Because the rocks on both sides have not moved much vertically of laterally relative to one another, it is not really a "fault." The fissure is up to 10 feet wide and 60 feet deep. The Earthquake Fault was formed by tectonic stresses in the earth's crust. The sides are jagged, un-eroded, and lack pumice fill, suggesting it is still very young in geologic time. The fissure runs north and south, and lines up with the dike that fed the Inyo Domes. Someday the magma might rise to the surface, but it is also possible that the fissure could just slowly fill up with debris. These are the unknowns of geology, and what makes studying this area so exciting. The snow from the winter months would sometimes last up to year round in the bottom of the fissure. Because of this the local Native Indians would store their food at the bottom of the fissure during the warmer months. A short walking trail surrounds this natural phenomenon. Majestic red fir and Jeffrey pine trees make this a nice spot for a picnic. Source: USDA Forest Service Inyo National Forest

6 hours ago

8 days ago

Not really a hike but a great stop.

14 days ago

Nice improvement from the old location by the side of the road...

15 days ago

Easy very short walk to the fault and I was surprised how deep and narrow the walls were. I though it was an interesting walk

1 month ago

2 months ago

Snow has melted, so we were able to park in the lot. Short walk to the fault. Interesting to see. Lots of erosion along the sides and the sign at the parking entrance is gone. Looks like some maintenance is needed.

2 months ago

Moderate snow. Enough to keep a two wheel drive from reaching the parking lot. Still, this was a nice hike, over the snowbanks and around the fenced-off fault (which I discovered is really a fissure).
Met another hiker who indicated that after the snow melts one can walk in the bottom of the fissure.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

One of the unique features of the Mammoth Lakes area, this earthquake fissure looks like a separated jigsaw puzzle because both sides look like they could be pushed back together. The fissure is about 10 feet wide and up to 60 feet deep. Caused by a glassy rhyolite lava flow from Mammoth Mountain maybe 200 years ago, the fault lines up with the Inyo-Mono Craters and lines up with the gradual widening of the Basin and Range region. The fissure runs north and south, and the short trail goes around both sides of the fault. Located a short ways up Minaret Road on the right after the junction with Hwy 203 (Main St) at the stop light. Worth the short stop to get out of the car and take a gander.

Friday, June 10, 2016