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Inyo Craters Trail is a 1.6 mile heavily trafficked loop 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, nature trips, and snowshoeing and is best used from May until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 1.6 miles Elevation Gain: 295 feet Route Type: Loop

dog friendly

kid friendly

hiking

nature trips

snowshoeing

walking

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

Note: Roads in the forest are subject to closure due to weather. Check the Stanislaus Forest website for information on current conditions. If the short road leading to the trailhead is closed, hikers will have to park on the main road and hike in, which adds about a mile each way to the trip. Short hike to two impressive craters filled with water in Inyo National Forest Mammoth Lakes Ranger district. The hike to the first two craters is a short scenic trail heavily shaded by a steady canopy of trees. The trail skirts the perimeter of the first crater, where you can step down to an observation area to take in the intense views of the turquoise water set against the backdrop of Mammoth Mountain. Continue following the trail as it makes a slight climb up to the second crater, which holds a smaller darker lake and is more obstructed by trees. Retrace your steps to return to the parking lot. These craters are the most recently active eruptive centers of the Long Valley Caldera, dating from about 500 to 600 years ago. There are three main craters-North, South, and the crater at the summit of Deer Mountain.

hiking
6 months ago

Well worth a stop on the drive out of Mammoth. Had a blast driving the Jeep through the dirt roads in the area, and the hike out to the craters is nice and easy. The view of the surrounding snowy mountains was spectacular!

hiking
6 months ago

Great trail for a family. We did it with a 2 and 6 year old and they enjoyed it.

hiking
7 months ago

Although short, parts of the rim trail were quite steep with loose rock making parts moderate.

hiking
8 months ago

Road to get out here is one-lane, lumpy, entirely dirt and gravel and punctuated by tree roots. Not pleasant but doable for most cars I think. The trailhead itself is somewhat confusing as there are a couple different trails off the parking lot, most of which are unlabeled. We found the right one and followed it to the first crater. Easy hike, nice view into the crater basin and its weird turquoise water at the bottom. Not much else to see though, plus the route to the next crater was unclear, so we turned back. On the way back we ended up taking a completely different route without realizing it, but still ended up back at the car, so all’s well.

hiking
off trail
over grown
8 months ago

Beautiful views, but there was no discernable trail around one rim, so we had to turn back. Greater than 1 mile.

8 months ago

It was an easy hike, good for the kids and dog. Also interesting to read about the history with the kids.

hiking
rocky
scramble
9 months ago

No need to hike around the west & northern perimeter of the craters, as this map suggests - the sides are very steep, and the top crater (with the darker lake and trees) has rocky, steep slopes and no guard rails like the other lake. Hard to follow the trail in spots, too, so it just didn't make a lot of sense. Follow the dotted lines as per the map, instead of the red line loop. Easy for acclimation, and kids should be able to do this no problem. Turquoise water in the southern crater makes this short hike worthwhile. Definitely lots of other hikes in the area that are more scenic/challenging, but this one is easy and quick.

hiking
9 months ago

Easy hike to the top. Beautiful views!

hiking
9 months ago

Very enjoyable informative with great views of the craters. Expect to get a little winded if you have not acclimated to this elevation. Go fast and make it a workout. Go slower and enjoy every step. ✌

hiking
10 months ago

Yawn. Like other reviewer said...not enough reward but am easy hike for little kids. IMHO there are much better hikes in the lakes area if you are staying in town.

hiking
blowdown
bugs
10 months ago

Meat quick hike to some craters.

hiking
10 months ago

This was a little disappointing. Easy to hike up and good walk for the dog but not that scenic. Maybe better in winter snowshoeing.

hiking
10 months ago

Easy trail shaded trail with interesting views at the end.

hiking
11 months ago

Easy hike for beginners through pines and firs. The craters are an interesting example of recent volcanic activity (around 500 years old) with beautiful turquoise water at the bottom.

hiking
11 months ago

We had to park just of SR203 as the road was closed. Snowshoes were not necessary but sticks were helpful

Sun Oct 14 2018

S

hiking
Sun Jun 03 2018

Hiked up to the top of the third crater and the view was amazing!

Mon May 28 2018

main trail is easy to miss. entrance is just before the parking lot

hiking
Mon May 21 2018

Nice and simple trail, crater was a cool lime green color surrounded by some trees.

Sun May 06 2018

Pretty nice, we did it in the snow so it took a bit longer. 1 question why do people pick up their dog poop, but then leave the damn plastic bag? Retards.

hiking
Mon Apr 30 2018

It's an ok hike through a nice pine forrest, but the craters aren't that great. Nothing much else to see.

snowshoeing
Sat Mar 10 2018

Very cool snowshoe/hike. It’s worth the trek, especially when you stop to make snow angels along the way.

snowshoeing
Sat Feb 03 2018

Was a really gorgeous, but we missed the trail and went straight at the end of the parking lot and had a hard time finding the trail to the Craters. Go left at the end of the parking lot and follow the blue markers all the way up! The Craters are frozen right now so no bright blue water but still really pretty.

Fri Oct 20 2017

Nice trail. Craters aren't anything special. Big holes in the ground with some brown water. The smaller one is ringed with trees. Makes for a nice photo or two.

hiking
Tue Sep 19 2017

Short hike with fairly steep incline, but once at the top the crater is breathtaking, don't forget there are 2 craters up there, one does not have a barrier so be careful.

Sun Aug 13 2017

Nice little hike. No signage off main road so I was glad to have this app to navigate us to the trail head.

Mon Aug 07 2017

Would love to visit again

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