Little Lakes Valley to Gem Lakes

MODERATE 60 reviews
#4 of 113 trails in

Little Lakes Valley to Gem Lakes is a 6.9 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Bishop, California that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
6.9 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1177 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly

backpacking

birding

camping

fly fishing

hiking

trail running

walking

horseback riding

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

snow

A day hike from the Mosquito Flat trailhead through the Little lakes valley to Morgan Pass. Little lakes valley hike is a beautiful day hike in the eastern sierra that takes you through scenic lakes formed by snow melt. It is a moderately strenuous hike, not due of the elevation gain, but because of being above 10000ft. The trail starts from the Mosquito flat trail head, located at the end of Rock Creek Road, about 10 miles from Hwy 395. The trail head is at an elevation of 10000+ft, so acclimatization at high altitudes will definitely help.

hiking
2 days ago

hiking
2 days ago

hiking
4 days ago

hiking
5 days ago

hiking
5 days ago

Got bit in excess of a dozen times. The mosquitoes bit through my clothes! But areas sprayed with DEET were left alone. A mosquito head net is a good idea. Altitude is definitely a factor, but this affects people differently. If you know you're sensitive, you may want to allow time to acclimate.

There were A LOT of people on this trail. It got really busy by 12p. If you want to get away from crowds, this won't be the hike for you. There's a stream crossing where the trail got washed out. You can either hop on the rocks, some of which are wobbly, or just wade through the shallow-ish water. The trail is wet in other spots, too but easily negotiated.

backpacking
6 days ago

This is one of the most beautiful hikes anywhere. The lakes and streams combined with the high granite peaks make a creative statement. Enjoy a day a "God's Cathedral"!
My boys and I have been backpacking in this valley for years together. We love exploring the lakes beyond the trail. But beware the mosquitoes are fierce this year!

hiking
10 days ago

15 days ago

By far the most beautiful hike I've ever done. Elevation is serious so be prepared and acclimated. However there are so many beautiful lakes and views to enjoy no matter how far you go up.

backpacking
17 days ago

hiking
20 days ago

hiking
26 days ago

Best hike of the week.
Getting to Gem Lake was difficult to find with the snow still at the turn to the lake.
This was actually a 8.25 mile hike with the additional hiking to the little lakes.
Awesome photo taking.

hiking
28 days ago

hiking
29 days ago

hiking
1 month ago

So many beautiful lakes, streams, meadows, and wildflowers that you start to become desensitized to them. This is only a five-star hike if you go all the way to the last (and best) Gem Lake, which requires some off trail excursions across snow and overflowing creeks. We definitely needed GPS for the last half-mile. The hike is easy and therefore a bit overcrowded for the first two miles from the parking lot. Make sure you bring LOTS of bug repellent if you start early. The mosquitoes were more manageable when we returned at 11am.

hiking
1 month ago

Gorgeous hike. The river crossing between Box and Long Lakes was difficult especially without poles and after crossing and reaching Long lake the trail is under snow sloping to the lake for a a section. We turned back, crossed back over and took the trail leading to the right which also goes to a nice area on the shore of Long Lake.

hiking
1 month ago

An absolutely beautiful trail with stunning mountain, river and lake views at practically every step. While the elevation gain isn't too bad along the trail, you do start at around 10K ft. Be prepared for the mosquitoes that will greet you as soon as you arrive in the parking lot, then tag along as you hike. Extremely popular with both humans and dogs.

backpacking
1 month ago

Great backpacking trip to Long lake. Original goal was Gem but we were not comfortable with the river crossing between Box and Long lakes. Saw a few people attempt and fall in the water (moving very fast right now). Still lots of snow past Box lake. We tried to navigate around Long Lake back to the trail but were not comfortable with the snow bridges (lots of water underneath and soft snow). Road is open now to the trail head, which means lots of day hikers :(. But we pretty much had Long Lake to ourselves as most day hikers turn around at Box. We found a campsite up on a ledge on the SW side of the lake, facing Morgan pass. Lake refroze overnight, but really perfect temperatures for early summer hiking!

hiking
1 month ago

This is a truly beautiful trail. Day hiked it with some friends last November, slung the hammock up back by Long Lake and threw some lines in, while the wife and dog explored a bit . The brook trout were hitting hard, and I pulled out one after the other, all pan sized. The lake was half frozen already, but it was dead silent and we had the whole thing to ourselves. For a heavily trafficked trail, we were lucky to be able to get that serenity and solitude that we typically have to go deep into the wilderness to get. Perfect day. I'm really excited to come back and do a long weekend backpack trip to gem lakes, but by the looks of the last few reports and pictures, we probably need to give it a month or so.

hiking
1 month ago

backpacking
2 months ago

Amazing trail. My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Temperature was 25F at 9am and warmed to near 55F at 4pm. Road from Rock Creek to Mosquito Flats Parking Lot was still closed with around 2 feet of ice mounds blocking. Trail was mostly covered with the same amount of melting ice and some deeper pockets beginning at Long Lake. Most of the interior lakes were still frozen over, though the streams were gushing with ice cold drinking water. Easy to wander off of the trail after Box Lake due to snow the night before, but relatively easy to know where you are.