Inyo Craters Trail

EASY 26 reviews
#12 of 53 trails in

Inyo Craters Trail is a 1.3 mile lightly trafficked out and back 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
1.3 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
239 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dog friendly

kid friendly

hiking

nature trips

off road driving

snowshoeing

trail running

walking

cross country skiing

forest

lake

views

no dogs

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.

4 days ago

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

hiking
9 days ago

hiking
10 days ago

10 days ago

Would love to visit again

hiking
1 month ago

1 month ago

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
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

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
2 months ago

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!

2 months ago

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

hiking
4 months ago

Short, but pleasant.

snowshoeing
5 months ago

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
6 months ago

snowshoeing
7 months ago

hiking
9 months ago

9 months ago

walking
Wednesday, July 27, 2016

hiking
Saturday, July 23, 2016

hiking
Monday, July 18, 2016

Friday, March 25, 2016