Inyo Craters Trail

EASY 44 reviews
#11 of 64 trails in

Inyo Craters Trail is a 1 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Pinecrest, California that features a lake and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
1.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
177 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dog friendly

kid friendly

cross country skiing

hiking

nature trips

off road driving

snowshoeing

trail running

walking

forest

lake

views

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
20 days ago

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

26 days ago

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

hiking
1 month ago

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

1 month ago

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
1 month ago

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

snowshoeing
4 months ago

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.

8 months ago

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
9 months ago

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.

10 months ago

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

10 months ago

Would love to visit again

Monday, June 19, 2017

Snow melted! We could drive down to the parking lot on the access road which required careful navigating in our SUV to avoid the 3 R's: rocks, roots and ruts. Take a moment to read the informative sign before you go up. It is amazing to imagine their formation. Worth seeing if you are here.

hiking
Thursday, June 08, 2017

Snow piles on road prevented us from driving up to the trailhead, so we just walked up. Total distance was about 5 miles. Easy, lovely hike up to the craters. Ate lunch at the picnic table and had the place to ourselves. It was a very pleasant afternoon.

hiking
Sunday, June 04, 2017

Still unable to park at the trailhead as of today. Some pretty thick areas of snow preventing all vehicles from getting there. It's melting fast though!

The walk from where you park to the trailhead isn't the most glamorous but there are definitely quite a few other trails that start or link up throughout there.
There's plenty of roads/trails to explore down there. Great place for mountain bikes.

The beauty of the whole trail is when you finally make it to the Craters. There's a big crater and a smaller one. Both have lakes at their base and snow inside the crater. If you listen, you can hear all the frogs singing their hearts out. There is a trail that wraps around both Craters completely.

Got to see and get a few great pictures of some deer, butterflies, and these wonderfully funny orange and brown birds. Great area for birding as well as mountain biking, snowshoeing and XC. I see some of the more adventurous actually snowshoed down into the small crater!

Monday, May 29, 2017

Just hiked it this afternoon. About 1/3 of the trail covered in snow but still hikable.

hiking
Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Short, but pleasant.

snowshoeing
Friday, March 10, 2017

Had to park 1.5mi from trailhead, but that just made the hike longer & better. Peaceful and beautiful. Met a couple nice folks/dogs but mostly was alone.

hiking
Monday, June 30, 2014

Hike this with 4 adults and 7 children ranging from 3 years old to 12 years old. Other than the three year old being in a Kelty kids backpack, everyone was able to hike this trail with ease. It's a short loop to the first and second craters. Recommended for all experience levels.

hiking
Saturday, November 02, 2013

This was a fun time. Easy hike to the uppermost crater, until about 20 ft from the top. The ground is pumice and very slippery. Would be best with some climbing gear, alas, I'm a hiker only, not much of a climber! You can see for miles toward Mammoth and the White Mts.

hiking
Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Great day, last day of skiing on Mammoth Mountain, took this short hike to a couple of impressive turquoise water filled craters with some impressive views. Mammoth Lakes is a great area for hiking and exploring! Posting some pics.

hiking
13 days ago

hiking
15 days ago

hiking
1 month ago

snowshoeing
3 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

hiking
7 months ago

hiking
9 months ago

hiking
9 months ago

10 months ago

hiking
10 months ago

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