Emerald Lake Trail is a 1.7 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Mammoth Lakes, California that features a lake and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, running, and nature trips and is best used from June until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Length1.7 miElevation gain393 ftRoute typeOut & back
Kid friendlyHikingNature tripsWalkingRunningDog friendlyForestLakeViewsWildflowersWildlifeRocky
Waypoints (0)
Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (170)
Photos (211)
Activities (152)
Completed (653)
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shannon myers
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Hiking

Great trail! It’s a must do hike with your loved ones

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Tony Moses
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 4, 2020
Hiking

Great trail. Did a day hike. Recommend start early so can spend time at lakes. Looks to be popular backpacking trail. Several groups going to Purple lake 1-2 miles past duck lake and a few going to Pika lake. Just past duck lake. All the way to the mouth of Duck Pass lake round trip approximately 10 miles. (Started my recording upon our return so incomplete) 90% is up hill. Going in and 90% is downhill going out. Came from San Jose. Zero elevation. (Escaping smoke from fires) Bring lots of water or water filter. One of guys said our elevation gain was 1700 + feet. It felt like it. Views are amazing. Truly worth the work you put in. Hope to backpack here some day and really enjoy the lakes!

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AllTrails User
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 3, 2020
Hiking

Lake is so beautiful. What ruins this trail is horse crap all over the trail. It smells like horse crap all the way there. Why do horses get to use the trails and not pick up after themselves.

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Sarah Harrington
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Hiking

Really enjoyed this trail on a Sunday afternoon. Went clockwise and it’s a bit of a climb but nothing too crazy. No bugs at all.

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Marika Wagle
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HikingRocky

So beautiful! One of my favorite hikes ever. Stunning views, lots of lakes to dip into. First section and last section of the hike are tough but so worth it.

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Katrina Devick
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 25, 2020
Hiking

Beautiful trail! I would call it moderate, with the last push to duck lake being moderate to hard. Work the extra effort at the end!

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Melissa Jenkins
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Hiking
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jessie o
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Mountain biking
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jessie o
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Mountain biking
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andrew Mcguire
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 18, 2020
Hiking

Started on the emerald lake trail connecting to duck pass finished at pika lake at 5.6 miles. Took 3.5 hrs to get there with a stop for snacks half way take it slow the incline can be tough

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Gustavo Pinto
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Hiking
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Ryan Lewis
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Hiking

Easy short hike up to Emerald Lake. It was perfect for a picnic lunch and letting the kids play in the water. I went for a quick swim since the water wasn’t as cold as other alpine lakes we’ve visited. Most people were wearing masks or trying to social distance. The trail is fairly wide - making social distancing possible. Google Maps was a bit confusing - directing us to drive up a one way street at the campground. Just drive through the campground on the right side and you will reach the parking lot. Trail head is by the bathroom.

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Mona Chung
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 10, 2020
Hiking

It’s a touch harder than easy of an incline all the way to the Lake. You can hear and see (at some points) a lovely stream along the trail.

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eric rittershofer
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Hiking
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Larissa Kasnick
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Hiking

Great trail, tons of options to follow the river

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Noah Kokkinias
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Hiking

Great hike for the family to do! Very well maintained trail and lots of shade! There are some steeper parts to it, but nothing outrageous. The views or both emerald and Skelton lake are absolutely stunning!

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J Vincent
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 19, 2020
Hiking

We got a late start and had to wait awhile for parking. The hike up to Emerald was busy both directions. It’s a nice hike with steady but doable uphill. Slow and steady. My 5 year old handled it with ease. Emerald was crowded all around the small lake. It is gorgeous especially when the sun makes all the greenery around it radiate vibrantly. We headed off past Emerald to a meadow that is past it. The trail follows the stream most of the way and is absolutely stunning! We did not see another person on this stretch of trail. We pulled off to the side and ate lunch. We never made it to the meadow. Next year!

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Sydney Leigh
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Hiking

Really lovely trail. There is a pretty cool abandoned mine that is early on in the hike. The trail has a creek with some small waterfalls on the way up and lots of interesting fallen trees. The views of Emerald Lake are just stunning. It is surrounded by a beautiful green meadow one side, great view of the mountain peaks behind it, and lots of cool looking rocky terrain on the other side. Great photo ops. On a mid-summer Wednesday afternoon I only encountered a few other people. Such a peaceful hike!

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Katie Bartholomew
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 15, 2020
Hiking

To access the trailhead, drive all the way through the campground, there’s a parking lot with plenty of space there. The trail is nice and shaded. Uphill but doable. Very quiet on a Tuesday morning. If you are doing this hike, it is very much worth your while to continue up the trail to the meadow, even just for a little bit. You walk right beside the stream and it was one of the most enjoyable parts of my entire day (hiked 8-9 miles in this area). Very scenic and serene.

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Sara Chamberlain
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 4, 2020
Hiking

After following the emerald Lake trail to Skeleton lake, hug the lake instead of going up duck trail. It’s an I maintained trail but there is enough of a path to easily follow. Once you get past skeleton lake you will cross over a river to continue, no bridge but many ways to get across. Once your in the other side the path follows the stream and then up rocks to have a view above the lake.

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Caleb Fleckenstein
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HikingBugsRocky

Amazing hike

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Matt Ayers
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 28, 2020
Hiking

The trailhead is at the end of Coldwater lake campground. Very clearly marked with lots of parking. Trail is short and up all the way but well worth it and amazing view at the lake! And yes the lake is emerald green.

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Matt Ayers
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 28, 2020
Hiking

Emerald lake trailhead is at the end of Coldwater lake campground. Drive all the way through the campground for the trailhead at the end. Short trail and up the whole way but the view at the end is amazing and the lake is emerald green

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Matthew Kolb
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Hiking

Great view and likely a frozen lake depending on the time of year. It was about 1.5” and unsafe for skating when we were there, but others have said that it freezes over at certain times of the season. It was frozen enough to do some hockey passing and stickhandling along the shoreline.

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Kinsey Marie Carney
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HikingRocky

Beautiful morning hike. Not a lot of foot traffic for a Wednesday.

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Mark B
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Hiking

Nice hike with friends

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DoctorofaCertainSize .
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarAugust 15, 2019
Hiking

I would characterize this as a pond, not a lake. We didn’t let our dogs swim or drink in it. The view of the mountains behind the lake is incredible, it is worth the hike. Easy hike good for families and kids. (If you keep going past the pond and take duck pass you can get to the much more spectacular Skelton lake, but it’s a steep haul for a half mile). Very very buggy.

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Dave Precht
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Hiking

Beautiful with some mosquitos

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Samantha W
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 30, 2019
HikingBugs

Nice doable hike with incline, families and dogs around late morning. 10-15 min walk from the free summer shuttle stop at the bottom of Coldwater campground. Clear and still water of this small lake is beautiful for photos. A good amount of mosquitos though.

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