Emerald Lake Trail

EASY 111 reviews
#12 of 121 trails in

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, trail running, and nature trips and is best used from June until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 1.7 miles Elevation Gain: 393 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dog friendly

kid friendly

hiking

nature trips

walking

running

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

hiking
1 month ago

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.

hiking
rocky
4 months ago

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

hiking
4 months ago

Nice hike with friends

hiking
5 months ago

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.

hiking
5 months ago

Beautiful with some mosquitos

hiking
bugs
5 months ago

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.

hiking
bugs
6 months ago

Awesome hike it’s very pretty. Downside is that there was a million mosquitos so we headed right back when we got there.

recorded Emerald Lake Trail

6 months ago

Steep t o thirds then flattens out.

hiking
6 months ago

Very easy hike today. Great for a family with young kids. The lake is small. There was a little bit of snow on the back side of the lake but you can still scramble around the entire lake. My kids swam a little and there were plenty of fish. There were also mosquitoes.

hiking
6 months ago

The creek was flowing beautifully, and the views are spectacular. California Hiking says there's a meadow after the lake, but we couldn't find it, I assume because of the snow this year. A lot of the hike was scrabbling through snow and wet, boggy conditions. We got a cell phone signal at the edge of the lake - useful because our cabin had nothing. Highly recommended.

hiking
6 months ago

Beautiful little hike! Definitely a climb compared to other “easy” hikes we’ve done in the area, but we managed fine with our 6 and 9 year old. It’s nice to be near the water the whole time. Pretty views.

hiking
snow
6 months ago

Not sure what the other person was talking about regarding not being able to find the trail. It is clear as day. The hike up is a bit dreary, with Coldwater Creek visible at some points on your right. Do yourself a favor and follow the creek on the way down with the trail just to the right of the bank. Eventually it gets hard to pass, at which point just hike 100ft up to your right to catch the main trail again. The lake is a bit small and shallow, but decent payoff for the hike up. Fly fishing looks good on Coldwater for half a mile underneath emerald lake, then it gets a bit fast.

hiking
6 months ago

beautiful hike yesterday, some snow patches but well traveled. good hammock spots and rock walls to climb!

hiking
snow
washed out
6 months ago

We do this hike every year and decided to go for it despite the snow pack. The trail is not easy to see and we ended up making our own path up the mountain following the stream. We would occasionally get glimpses of the trail and were reassured we were still going the right way. We were able to make it to Emerald lake. We attempted to continue up to Skelton via Duck Pass but there was no way. Too much snow and too steep. There was another couple hikers that went up past us and didn’t come back down so apparently they made it up! I wanted to post this so others will know the current conditions.. we saw plenty of other hikers too so this ones a go!

8 months ago

beautiful lake easy hike

Tue Nov 20 2018

Just amazing.

hiking
Tue Nov 20 2018

Great short hike we did with the family. Easy hike with a stream flowing from the lake a long the hike. We did this in Mid November with the lake and stream party frozen.

hiking
Thu Nov 01 2018

Beautiful short hike, the lake is stunning with its emerald color and I had the hike and lake all to myself when I went on 30 October 2018. I definitely recommend doing this hike if you're in the Mammoth Lakes area. One of the most beautiful lakes I have seen.

Tue Oct 30 2018

Fantastic!

hiking
Thu Oct 25 2018

Just beautiful!

hiking
Fri Sep 14 2018

Ugh...HATED this hike. We went on a weekday morning in early September and came across SIXTEEN PEOPLE in the first .2 miles, and turned around and left and hiked Fern Lake instead. This trail was BUSY. AllTrails rates it as the #1 hike in the Inyo Forest, and it seems the word is out. SO MANY PEOPLE on the trail. I guess some folks like hiking in huge crowds. We hike to ESCAPE the crowds, and this was the Times Square on NYE equivalent of Mammoth Mountain lake hikes, so be forewarned!

hiking
Sun Aug 12 2018

Very nice stream running next to the trail. I was rather disappointed with the condition of the lake. It has been stagnant for quite some time and it not ideal for swimming.

hiking
Fri Aug 10 2018

Great hike beautiful lake!

Mon Aug 06 2018

The elevation gain happens fast. And the lake is at 9800 feet, so prepare to be winded.

hiking
Sun Aug 05 2018

For starters you have to drive all the way through Coldwater Campground for parking. Restrooms are available. make sure to go early because parking does fill up quickly. Beautiful short hike with small side trails to walk along the creek. Hike is about .75 miles both ways (1.5 miles). Dog Friendly as well.

Sat Jul 28 2018

Beautiful hiking trail parallel to a small stream, with wildflowers next to the bank, that was running in late July.  Trail has a lot of rocks and tree roots, and is a good climb uphill that I don't know if it ever really leveled off. At the halfway point, there is a fork in the path off to the right to hike to Lake George. Once you arrive at Emerald Lake, if you walk a little bit farther up the path, there is a trail sign pointing to another trail off to the right to a meadow that is only 1/4 mile up the trail. This trail is along the stream, again with many wildflowers.

hiking
Sat Jul 28 2018

beautiful little hike with wildflowers

hiking
Tue Jul 24 2018

A short but sweet hike with a nice lake at the top, I'd recommend continuing onto Sky Meadow if you feel up to adding another 2 miles!

hiking
Sun Jul 15 2018

Starting out from Coldwater Campground, we climbed along the stream for a few, and then the path leveled out. It was moderately busy, but it’s a very doable hike for all ages. Everyone warned us of the mosquitoes at the lake, but they weren’t too bad.

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