Little Lakes Valley to Gem Lakes

MODERATE 71 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
1230 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.

4 days ago

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

hiking
7 days ago

backpacking
10 days 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
13 days ago

hiking
16 days 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.

17 days ago

hiking
18 days 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
18 days ago

hiking
23 days 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.

29 days ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month 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
1 month 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 in "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
1 month ago

1 month 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
1 month ago