Little Lakes Valley to Gem Lakes

MODERATE 83 reviews
#4 of 118 trails in

Little Lakes Valley to Gem Lakes is a 7.2 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
7.2 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
980 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

bugs

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
1 hour ago

We went up to Bishop for a night with our pup two weeks ago and decided to try our hand at this trail—glad we did. Every turn gave you a new breathtaking view of snow tipped mountains and several lakes. We even saw a few people playing ice hockey on a frozen lake! We aren’t experienced hikers, but the intensity of the trail was doable with a few breaks along the way. Due to a flare up of an old back injury, we turned around with a mile left before the turnaround, unfortunately. It took us about 4 hours for 5.5 miles and the views and experience were definitely worth putting in the miles!

26 days ago

This is a beautiful trail! It is very well maintained and our 5 year old and 9 year old hiked it fine.

Our only issue was initially finding the trail, as many websites hardly mention it.

“From Bishop go North on Highway 395 to Tom’s Place. Follow Rock Creek Road to Mosquito Flat to the end of the paved road where there is plenty of hiker parking.”


Those were the best direction I found. No distances listed.

hiking
1 month ago

Very scenic hike, slight incline the ap says it’s “easy” it’s a little harder then easy for beginners but the scenery is absolutely beautiful, the trees, rocks, lakes and mountains are just perfect. Worth your time.

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

Epic trail def want to start early

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

1 month ago

This hike was spectacular. Lots of great views. Because of poor planning, we ended up going over Morgan Pass and kept hiking for 2 extra miles. The sign that was SUPPOSED to be directing people to Morgan Pass vs gem lakes was MIA. This caused quite the confusion within our party. We then made our way over to gem lakes and decided to climb the ridge next to the upper lake. (YOLO) overall, great hike, great views, would rate 10/10.

hiking
1 month ago

2 months ago

Great vistas. Gorgeous sky, lakes, running streams. Perfect half day hike (we went on up to Morgan pass).

hiking
2 months ago

backpacking
2 months ago

We hiked the trail to Gem Lake this weekend. Temps were great during the day, nights were chilly. We camped and were very cozy in 20 degree bags with no problem. Snow was still present at Gem Lake (11,000 feet). Fish were small but fun to catch. The altitude in addition to our overweight packs kicked our buts and the kids succumbed to a few hours of altitude sickness. I would suggest a day of acclimation if your coming from sea level like we did before carrying 35 lbs up 1000 feet of elevation gains like I did. I was beat at the top. We saw two hikers turn around at the .5 mile mark because the first part is a bit steep if not acclimated. Views were spectacular, trail is beautifully well kept. Lake pristine. Lots of hikers in the first three miles....even Gem Lake at 3.5 miles in had a good number of campers. We had rain showers both days during late afternoon. 3-6 pm. 5 stars for the beauty of the trail. Lots of lakes and creeks to cross. Lots of dogs on trail on and off leash. All were friendly. No water at trailhead. Bring water / water filter device.

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

Follow Rock Creek Road from 395; it turns into a narrow gravel road, so just stay on the road to the trail head parking lot. Easy trails to nice lake and mountain vistas, so it's probably a good idea to get there early on a weekend. In minutes you get to view Mack Lake, then Heart Lake and Box Lake. Got to shoot pix of the lakes and plenty of wildflowers, which I didn't expect at the end of August. There were some mosquitoes near the lakes and toward dusk; overall a great quick alpine lake fix. Looks like there are plenty of campgrounds on the road into the trailhead.

2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

There are no signs either reaching the trail head or along the trail. You have to know that Little lakes valley trail head is called Mosquito flat trail head. There is no sign along the trail showing either direction or distance. The last mile from Long Lake to Gem lake is steep and difficult. There is no sign for the direction to Gem lakes (on the right). On busy days like Labor day, if you don't reach there by 8 am, you won't find parking. It took us 5 hours(about 3 hours to Gem lakes and 2 hours to come back) to complete the trail(including stopping for pictures), so plan properly. Gem lake is the 6th lake on the trail. although the maps says 7.2 miles, our app calculated 8.5 miles.

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

Hiked to Lower Morgan 1st then on way back made it to Gem Lakes. Well worth the trip! The turn off to Gem Lakes was moved further up the trail and not as on the recording. Mosquitoes early in the AM but not later in the morning.