McGee Creek to Horsetail Creek

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Inyo National Forest

McGee Creek to Horsetail Creek is a 5.8 kilometer moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Mammoth Lakes, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, running, fishing, and horses and is best used from May until September. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 5.8 km Elevation Gain: 219 m Route Type: Out & Back

dog friendly

fishing

hiking

horseback riding

running

views

wild flowers

wildlife

Directions from : Off US Highway 395 take the first exit after Crowley Lake, the McGee Creek exit, and proceed 2 miles south up the paved McGee Creek Road.

hiking
3 days ago

Great hike. It starts in the meadow and then heads upriver to the lake. Amazing views of the surrounding mountains. The terrain is gravel and loose rock which was a little tough on our dogs paws. We will do this one again.

hiking
25 days ago

Beautiful canyon views. Snowmelt is surging the river. Had to turn back at around 2.5 miles at a dangerous river crossing.

hiking
7 months ago

The first part of the description is incorrect. The trailhead is not at the campground, you pass the campground and shortly the pavement ends, continue on, less than a mile to a paved parking lot. This is an exceptional hike, great, easy access to stunning beauty.

hiking
7 months ago

This is one of the most beautiful fall hikes we’ve encountered. This is our second time out and it didn’t disappoint. The beginning of the hike is across a meadow about a mile into the canyon. The trees get even more beautiful once you get inside Canyon. You’ve got to cross the creek which appears to be washed out but it’s not. There are two crossings: one made of trees which is easier to climb out of, and one with a bridge which is difficult to crawl out of but easier to cross back. The next section is beautiful, you’ll pass what looks Like is used to be a lake but now is an amazing display of beaver dams. Finally you’ll reach another creek crossing with easy bridge. This is a good stopping point around 3.5-4 miles. Or, you climb up a steep set of switchbacks another 1-1.5 miles to a beautiful serene mountain lake. I made the trek last year but got altitude sickness and decided not to this year. It’s about 10,000 feet elevation. Well worth it if you’re fit.

hiking
7 months ago

Stunningly beautiful trail in the fall. Very cold in the early morning (wear layers and bring water). Parking lot can get full. Arrive early!!!

hiking
bridge out
7 months ago

hiking
8 months ago

Lake isn’t there. Tough to find spot to cross creek. Beautiful though.

hiking
8 months ago

Fabulous fall colors! We went as far as the 4 mile mark. Crossing the river was interesting as the bridge was down. Very enjoyable hike!

hiking
8 months ago

Beautiful fall colors!! Wind made it more difficult but worth it!

hiking
snow
9 months ago

This is a 22 mile hike.

hiking
bridge out
9 months ago

hiking
9 months ago

Beautiful out and back trail. The view keeps getting better as you walk back into the bowl. Most of the trail is very exposed, so wear sunscreen and a hat. A trekking pole makes the creek crossings easier.

hiking
9 months ago

Amazing wildflowers in every color! Gorgeous views everywhere you turn. We did have to cross water a couple times because the trail was washed out- didn't bother me but my mom was in tennis shoes and got soaked. We also turned back a bit early because the mosquitoes were really bad once you get closer to the water. Wear that bug spray and you should be ok (we forgot ours)!

hiking
bridge out
bugs
11 months ago

Hiked to the main creek crossing on 6/29. The foot bridge is out. Not passable in my mind. Great hike though. Still amazing flowers, snow in the mountains and a well kept trail. Two small creek crossings before the main foot bridge. Lots of sun as you start the trail so a hat is in order. Easy to moderate up the canyon and easy hike out.

walking
11 months ago

Today we hiked McGee Creek for the second year. Amazing views and endless Wild Flowers. Absolutely one of our favorites!

hiking
11 months ago

Hiked up McGee canyon for about 1 1/2 miles to the first water crossing. Beautiful wildflowers in full bloom today. First time hiking in the canyon and really enjoyed it. Trail is easy to moderate with not too many rocks. Not much shade but my dog enjoyed cooling off in the creek. Saw many other hikers. Will be back late September for the fall colors.

hiking
Thu Oct 18 2018

Easy and fun hike that provides ample fall colors! The further you hike, the prettier it gets! Make sure to bring enough water and a headlamp if you plan on doing the whole hike!

hiking
Sun Oct 07 2018

beautiful fall colors today, good hike to river, not too strenuous to bridge over river

hiking
Mon Sep 03 2018

So pretty! The hike starts out of McGee Creek parking lot. It’s gradual no shade until you start to incline. The trail can take you pass several lakes, depending how long you would like to hike. We did 9 miles. The higher you go up the more amazing it gets. We have a 31 foot RV and was able to park at the lot, just pulled up the middle spots. There are nice restrooms at the parking lot as well.

hiking
Wed Jun 27 2018

No day use parking in camp ground.

hiking
Wed Sep 27 2017

7-28-17 Awesome trail. I went past the turnaround point on this map. I went about a 1/4 mile past the 2nd big water crossing (8.2 miles round trip) past the body of water on the map, starting at around 7800 feet finishing around 9184 ft, it gradually climbs with a few rest (flat) area's. Most of the trail is open (No shade), and you walk through some aspen groves. The snow melt is insane now and the water crossings are epic. The first 2 are easy and not to deep if you decide to forge the water, but easily kept dry by staying on the rocks. The big water crossing isn't bad, but the bridge is washed out, still passable with a small log at the end to get you across. A mile or so after that will get you to the big beaver dam. There is a 2nd big water crossing with half the bridge washed out (1 of 2 logs left). There is a small tree trunk someone has placed to help you get across. It is slippery but not impossible to cross. Water is cold, deep and flowing fast, so cross at your own risk. The trail mostly consists of dirt, gravel, and rocks. BRING SOME TYPE OF BUG REPELLANT! The mosquitoes are insane! I was eaten alive! There are pack mules on this trail so be aware of "road apples". Bring lots of water and lunch and it's a great hike!

Thu Sep 21 2017

Easy after lunch hike with amazing scenery. Trail goes on as far and high as you want.

hiking
Tue Jul 18 2017

The valley is fairly dry as of mid-July, but I would guess that this hike is amazing in June when the flowers are much more vibrant. If you're looking for an easier hike, this is a good option.

hiking
Tue May 30 2017

There's not much shade along this trail so best times are probably earlier in the morning or later in the evening. My dogs really enjoyed this trail particularly the creek and running water at the end of the trail. There's still snow when we did this hike (end of May) which was beautiful to see on the mountain tops as well as at the end creek. There are also plenty of wildflowers along the way. Not too much of a crowd which is always nice.

Mon Oct 10 2016

this was the most beautiful sight you could see in the fall so many beautiful colors of the trees and leaves and I was a little bit harder but not bad I'm new at hiking and I was able to do it

backpacking
Mon Aug 29 2016

The hike to the beaver pond is moderate. My Fitbit had the mileage at 5.6 miles which is a bit further than the map indicates. First part of the hike is exposed and hot but then you get into the Aspens and pines and it is nice. The pond has amazing fishing!

horseback riding
Thu Jul 21 2016

We went horseback riding through the area and it was a perfect day. The trail was a bit sandy and the gravel was loose and there were areas the horses seemed to want to go slower in but great vistas!

hiking
Sat Nov 02 2013

Soo gorgeous! The creek was flowing quickly, the entire McGee creek 'valley' is a stunning site. Easy day hike.

hiking
Thu Jun 13 2013

Beautiful hike in June as wildflowers are blooming along the trail. This hike is totally exposed so be prepared if hot. Beaver Pond is amazing as it's more of a lake than pond and the dam I'd quite large. Views to the east.

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