Hilton Lakes Trail is a 12.1 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Mammoth Lakes, California that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and nature trips and is best used from July until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length12.1 miElevation gain2,152 ftRoute typeOut & back
Dogs on leashHikingNature tripsForestLakeRiverViewsWildflowersWildlifeRocky
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Reviews (65)
Photos (83)
Activities (52)
Completed (155)
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Suman S
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 27, 2020
HikingSnow

Well marked trail and no issue finding the lakes even with snow everywhere. Went beyond to Davis Lake actually - the view of the mountains is spectacular against the frozen lake.

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Justin Faustinos
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 26, 2020
Hiking
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Leah Robinson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 2, 2020
Running

Did this as a day hike Sunday, June 28, 2020 — it was incredibly windy and the trail was empty. Beware that there is an extraordinary amount of horse poop on the trail. You will step in it if you stick to the “leave no trace” principle of staying on trail. The incline is so gradual on the way up that you don’t really realize why it’s tiring until you’re coming back out and notice the decline (especially if you’re trail running, as I was). I took the trail to the second lake and Davis and they both seemed to have tons of space for overnight setups. But the wind was so intense that there were three-foot waves and 50-ft gusts of mist coming off the surface. Not surprised I didn’t see any backpackers. The third lake is the most picturesque (and most popular, it seems, as that was the only place I saw other people on the whole trail) with a creek that goes off the ledge and a view of the other lakes. Due to the wind, and, tbh, a late night the night before, I didn’t make it to the fourth lake, but heard there is a passable trail to make it up there.

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Matt Millett
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 1, 2020
HikingSnow

Great trail. Took my 3 boys (8, 10, 13) backpacking for three days. Caught (and released) 45 fish! Snowed the last night too. June 11-13. Steep portions but manageable with short breaks. Bring bug spray. LOTS OF MOSQUITOS

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Analiese Smith
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 22, 2020
HikingBugs

Backpacked to the third lake on June 20, and all snow along the trail was completely melted. Views were stunning, and the trail was very well-maintained. Saw very few people all weekend. Would recommend bringing bug spray - there were lots of mosquitos! Highly recommend for a nice, moderate trip into the backcountry.

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Matthew Aoto
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 8, 2020
Hiking

Hiked this in early June. Got to the 3rd lake and set up camp there, found a spot with decent wind coverage. Left our backpacks there to do a little more exploring. We followed the north/right side of the lake and got to the base of the peak that stood behind the lake. Ascended the boulders until we met the steep face. Going up was tiring but very doable, going down was more challenging as some of the rocks don't have the best footing and are prone to sliding. Night was cold but windy, but views were well worth it. No mosquitoes at this time.

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Jessica Wei
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMay 30, 2020
Hiking

Went to 2 lakes. After you hit the lakes hiking improves dramatically. Would trail run next time. The first few miles are a bit boring and flat

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Kristin Meredick
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 24, 2020
HikingSnow
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Valerie Urso
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 21, 2019
BackpackingRockyScramble

This was a tough one with a 45 lb. backpack but once we got to 2nd lake it was amazing spent the weekend their with 8 other friends had the lake to ourselves #GETSOME

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Tony Desire
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarOctober 5, 2019
HikingBugs

Nice moderate trail. Lots of bugs so wear layers. It gets really cold once the sun sets. Beautiful views of Rock Creek and Hilton lake

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John Scampone
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 29, 2019
Hiking

12.5 mile hike

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Charles Phinizy
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 19, 2019
Backpacking

Great backpacking trip. Went to and around Davis Lake for five nights. Day hiked to 2nd and third lakes. Hiked completely around Davis and 2nd Lakes. Getting around 2nd Lake requires some bouldering skills. All the lakes were full in mid September 2019 and bugs were not a big deal. Very few other campers but did see several day hikers who were going to 2nd and 3rd Lakes. Went with my Wife, two dogs and our cat. First camping trip for the cat and we still have Mosquito netting in our tent!

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Kristin Meredick
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 8, 2019
HikingOff trail

Great dog friendly trail with several gorgeous lakes! Initial climb is fairly easy but as you turn toward 2nd lake it’s a steep upward climb to lakes 2, 3 and 5. All trails map is slightly off in places (app tells you you’re off route despite you remaining on trail. Wildflowers still abundant, as are mosquitoes, though not too bad while you’re moving.

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Britt .
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 29, 2019
Hiking

06/08/19 - LOTS of snow left & very little trail visibility. GPS required. Experienced backcountry hiking recommended. That being said, it was a fun adventure! Bring your deet.

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Vera Urbanovich
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 21, 2019
HikingBugsMuddyRocky

The highest lake had the most amazing view! That said, the way to the first lake is very long and boring. Also, the part where you have to lose elevation and gain it right back is a bummer. Myriads of mosquitoes in the watery parts of the trail. Several horse packs went by, raising dust in the air and leaving smelly traces. Yet, amazing lakes!!! I'm happy i did this trail.

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Stacy Light
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJuly 16, 2019
HikingBugsMuddy

Did this hike yesterday, had to turn back at the five mile mark due to mosquitoes. Not just a few, swarms of them, hard to breath without inhaling mosquitoes. Trail is heavily used by pack teams, horse droppings litter the trail, smelly and lots of flies. Start early, little shade, very hot and sandy.

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T P
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 15, 2019
HikingBugs

Just got back from 2 nights up at 3rd Lake. Ma-Skee-Toes. Bad. Always mosquitoes in the mountains and the severity depends on the amount of snowfall. The more water, the more mosquitoes and the longer they will be around. Since we had a ton of snow this year, tons of mosquitoes more than likely for most of the summer. I used my bug net and used spray on exposed skin and thin clothing and tried to reach a zen state with the little bastards so as to enjoy this great area. The hike starts with a pretty decent incline for about 1/3 mile or so. After that for the next three or so miles is a very pleasant hike with lots of gradual up and down sections with a sandy trail, which I really like compared to a lot of rocky switchbacks. This was one of my favorite hikes ever. The trail meanders through a beautiful forest with lots of shade opportunities. Some great views along the way. About the 3 mile mark you'll start a big gradual incline, which isn't too bad due to the soft trail. Not really much in the way of rocky switchbacks. Then, as one trail description indicated, you give all the elevation gain back as you decline to the junction of Davis/2nd Lake and 3rd/4th Lakes at the 4.6 mile mark. We hiked to 2nd Lake and found it very windy where all the good campsites were and nobody was around. So we back tracked a bit and decided to take a chance that 3rd Lake would be better......great decision. It was less windy and just 3 other groups at the lake. We crossed the stream when we first got to the lake and made our way to the right side of the lake about 200 yards and found a really nice campsite near the water. It was a bit windy at night, but only seemed to effect the tree tops....our tents weren't really effected. Just a few patches of snow here and there. We fished a bit in the afternoon on the southeast side of the lake and found a little "honey hole" where we caught and released a number of smaller fish. Then I was able to catch a nice 10" fish which I was very proud of until my nephew caught a "14 incher 10 minutes later....rainbows I think. All the smaller fish were cutthroat. Great dinner. The next morning we made our way to 4th lake which is beautiful. We had soggy boots crossing a couple rivers at the beginning of the lake, but well worth it. Tons of fish and some beautiful campsites on the west side. We decided next time we would camp here. We caught about 20 fish each (Sierra Slammers - Grasshopper), all on the small side but fun exploring the lake and catching fish. We returned to 3rd lake and after a short nap fished with power bait on a little "lawn" to the side of the outlet. My nephew caught one 30 seconds after it hit the water. The next three took a little more effort but the four fish made another tasty dinner. I love this hike and these lakes! Next time we hope to make our way to Davis lake and some of the other lakes in the area. Highly recommended hike and I'll be back. If you can't handle mosquitoes, wait until the water is gone. If you can, enjoy!!!

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Ashley Sodergren
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 13, 2019
Hiking

Enjoyed the hike. Better for overnight hikers or starting really early in the morning. Never made it to the lakes, but it was nice. Views were minimal until about an hour into the hike. Very sandy and rocky trail. Some muddy areas but weren’t difficult to get around.

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Jared G
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 11, 2019
Hiking

Early June 2019 - had to do some significant route finding due to snow, but very rewarding, as we didn’t see another human on our day hike from Rock Creek to Crawley Pack Station. Great hike.

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Hee Lim
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 8, 2018
Backpacking

Nice and easy backpacking. But to many mosquitoes. Need more insect repellents.

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George Mellon
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJune 28, 2018
Hiking

From the trailhead to the 3rd Hilton lake it is ruined by the packers! Deep dish sand with heaps of donky doo. Why don't they require poop bags? After lake 3 it was sublime. I suggest waiting until Fall after some rain and the packers go home.

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Cindysue Compton
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 28, 2018
Hiking

Great hike. Goes from Rock Creek to Crowley Lake Campground BLM. Traffic was moderate on the trail and everyone was extremely friendly.

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Heather Frewin
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 6, 2017

Backpacked this trail last weekend 9/28/17. Beautiful trail and amazing lakes .

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Lindsey Jackson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 3, 2017

hiked all the way through from hilton lakes to crowley blm today. the trail was relatively easy, although wet and marshy at Davis Lake. lots of bugs. 2nd Lake and Davis Lake were beautiful. Had to cross a pretty deep stream on the Crowley side, it was a little sketchy but doable. Very fun adventure.

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Joseph Griffith
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 28, 2017
Backpacking

A group of us backpacked up to Davis Lake and 2nd lake. Fun hike. Lots of snow at the top ridge before you descend to the lakes. It made following the trail difficult. The views all around were gorgeous. There are several streams to cross on the trail in the first few miles. You'll be in and out of the shade of pines. It was real warm this weekend, even in areas with the snow. As a day hike it's nice to the ridge, but may be difficult to get to the Hilton lakes right now. The view or 2md lake was amazing. The fishing in Davis was great.

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David Enloe
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 16, 2014

A friend and I lost a dog up in the Hilton/Davis Lakes area on July 16th. If anyone notices any sign of a lost, 90lb, black/brindle (white chest) hound dog roaming around in the woods, please call David at 305-333-8681. Any sign of him, however uncertain, will be much appreciated. Thanks everyone!

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