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Mono Pass from Mosquito Flat Trailhead

MODERATE 64 reviews
#14 of 63 trails in

Mono Pass from Mosquito Flat Trailhead is a 8.7 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Bishop, California that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 8.7 miles Elevation Gain: 2,116 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dog friendly

hiking

nature trips

walking

bird watching

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

A nice hike from the Sierra's highest trailhead A hike to a 12,000 foot high Sierra pass, covering the gamut from lush green meadows to pristine blue lakes, from calming babbling creeks to dry, desolate moonscapes. Mono Pass is a moderate hike at high elevation, with some of the prettiest scenery in the Sierra. Gaining about 2,000 feet in just over 4 miles, the trail is not terribly difficult (unless you consider you are going from 10,000 to 12,000 feet!). Overall, the trail is mostly good quality, with only a few loose rocky sections. The grade is never too steep, except for the final kick to Mono Pass, which probably feels harder because of the altitude. The trail starts at Mosquito Flat, the highest designated trailhead in the Sierra, accessible by car. It is a very popular hiker and fisherman starting point, and is usually a crowded place. From the start, the grade is around 7% for first 1.8 miles, before kicking up to over 12% at the start of the switchbacks (near Ruby Lake), for about 1.4 miles. The total distance to Mono Pass from the trailhead is about 3.3 miles. From there, a flat walk across the sand gets you to Summit Lake. The trail continues beyond the lake, but is usually reserved for backpackers continuing on into the wilderness.

Good hike with amazing views. It is a good time to take it: there are no other people on the trail. Today I saw only two couples after turn to the Ruby Lake.

hiking
1 month ago

excellent hike in early September. must do if you are in this area.

Great hike. Took a use Trail at the north end of Summit Lake to get above the lake and do a loop. Got up to 12100 elevation.

hiking
2 months ago

Spectacular hike and not too difficult, sublime views the whole way. This is one of the most gorgeous areas in Mammoth. The trail is easy to follow, switchbacks past Ruby Lake are exposed so reapply sunscreen. Not too many mosquitoes! As of yesterday (8/3) the snow on the pass has mostly melted - no spikes needed. Hiking poles would be nice, but not necessary.

hiking
muddy
snow
2 months ago

hiking
bugs
muddy
snow
2 months ago

Lots of water = lots of flowers (and mosquitos). Lovely hike with amazing views on a cloudy day. Some snow near the pass but if the horse pack could cross it so could I

backpacking
2 months ago

I've hike this trail all the way to pioneer basin 4 times. easy to fallow, beautiful lakes. I highly recommend it! good fishing!

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful hike featuring multiple lakes. Hiked this in mid-July 2019 and pretty heavy snow towards the pass so we didn’t go all the way to the top. When we hiked in mid-September 2017 much less snow and easy to reach the top. I recommend going past Mono Pass and scrambling up the rocks to Mount Star. Epic view over the whole valley of lakes. Read more on my blog here: https://colbybjornsen.wixsite.com/colbymarie/single-post/2018/03/04/Mosquito-Flat-Trailhead-to-Mono-Pass-Mount-Star

hiking
muddy
off trail
rocky
scramble
snow
3 months ago

I summited Mount Starr by way of Mono Pass on July 17, 2019. Overall, the hike was pretty straightforward. There were a few snow crossings on the main trail, the longest of which was maybe 150ft. But they were fairly straightforward, and were all in the quarter mile (or so) before Mono Pass. The snow is quite sun cupped. And I did post hole a few times. However, dangerously steep snow crossings can be avoided. I carried microspikes with me, but never needed them. Mono Pass is perfectly reachable without any sort of equipment. Apart from snow crossings, the only other notable trail issues at this time are stream crossings and mud. But these are easily enough to deal with. And, like the snow crossings, they should be much less of an issue in the coming weeks.

hiking
snow
3 months ago

We went to summit Mt Starr 7-13-2019. We hiked to almost the top of Mono Pass from Mosquito Flats with very minor snow passings (less than 5 feet, and you could skirt around) until the top after going around the southern foot of Mount Starr. There we were met with too much snow for our liking to continue to the top of the pass. Some hikers we saw pass through without crampons or an ice axe but we found it to be too risky with our level of experience for a pass with only some hiking boots, as the footprints were getting pretty slippery. Most hikers we saw pass through had at least an ice axe, with maybe some micro spikes or crampons tucked away in their bag(?). All in all, a truly beautiful hike! Wish we could’ve made it this time, but it will be there, and we will be back! I’ve posted a photo of the top of the pass. Passerby said the top of Starr looked to be without any snow and Summit Lake was about 2/3 frozen still. Note: Mosquitos swarms are heavy, we backpacked by Box Lake this trip, not knowing any better. Bring some bug spray if you’re going to be sitting around the lakes!

hiking
snow
3 months ago

Hiked on July 6, 2019. Given the crowds this time of year at Mosquito Flat, I arrived early at the trailhead, about 6:30 AM. First stop was Ruby Lake, which was still partially frozen. From there, headed up the switchbacks to Mono Pass. There was a good amount of snow on the trail so paths that cut the switchbacks had been carved out by previous hikers. Upon reaching one long diagonal, snowy stretch, I put on my microspikes - glad I had them. Great views of Ruby Lake and the Sierra Crest from the Trail. About 9:45 I reached the point where the trail turned north toward Mono Pass. It was nearly all snow at this point and much of the trail was still in the shade and the snow was hard. As we neared the pass it was uphill across sun cups. A trail of sorts had been trodden by previous hikers but still very uneven due to sun cups. We crested the pass and hiked down to Summit Lake, then turned around. The mid-day sun on the Little Lakes below (Marsh, Long, Chickenfoot) provided post card views.

hiking
bugs
rocky
5 months ago

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

fabulous hike, as good as it gets. spectacular peaks, pretty flowers, burbling Brook, serene ponds/lakes and well maintained trail. we achieved the pass, but not the peak. Mt Starr is formidable due to loose rock, scree and v steep.

hiking
Wednesday, July 04, 2018

What an incredible hike! I started off around 9:45 AM, made it to Ruby Lake around 10:45. It is the quintessential Alpine lake, just awesomely scenic, surrounded by jagged peaks. After a small snack, I started my way up the switchbacks. Right before you make the turn north, keep an eye out for a small cairn on top of a large flat rock. This leads down the hill a little to an epic view of Ruby Lake. Amazing to just sit, relax, and take everything in. There was still a little bit of snow remaining at the top of the pass but it was easily manageable in hiking shoes. I have to say the Summit Lake is a bit anticlimactic, just a large puddle, pretty much. From there, I took a side trip up to Mt. Starr. The best way seemed to be diagonal towards the SE, then switching back NE. The sluff was tough but the loose cobbles, you really had to be vigilant to prevent them shifting and sliding under you. Once you get within 100 feet of the top, you have more solid rock, which provides excellent footing. Then you just work your way along the ridge towards the top. Very sketchy on top as it is a long way down the other side. If you have a fear of heights, you'll feel a little vertigo, especially with the wind. it took about an hour to get to the top from Mono Pass. Round trip with breaks, photos, etc. was a little less than 6 hours.

hiking
Friday, December 29, 2017

Solid hike, we were stupid and made it to the top with no spikes or axe. Was insanely dangerous but still made it. Bummed there was no sign up at the top.

hiking
Thursday, July 27, 2017

One of the best hikes I've ever done in my life and I've done quite a few. I hiked past Mono Pass a good bit and you get incredible views of the Sierra backcountry...just breathtaking. Plus the views on the actual main route are just unbelievable. You can also summit Mount Starr from Mono Pass if you want, but I will have to return to do that one. There was still a good bit of snow on the route but it was hard packed and fairly safe, although wearing microspikes or similar is advised. Although I do that anyway on these trails with a lot of loose rock and gravel.

backpacking
Thursday, July 06, 2017

This place is always a good choice; however, be cautious if you don't have proper snow/ice gear or training. We attempted the pass yesterday - in the heat of July - and there was still so much snow on the trail that we had to turn back to avoid slipping down the higher cliffs and getting injured. Take a look at our photo to see Ruby Lake almost entirely covered in ice.

hiking
Monday, July 03, 2017

Hiked up to Ruby lake yesterday, this is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Ruby lake 99% covered in ice and snow right now in July. Had to leave the mountains to drive home, so didn't have enough time to go up Mono Pass. Lots of snow covering the trail as you approach Ruby Lake. Some hikers slapped on the crampons. Trail is not strenuous if you're in decent shape, but you will feel the elevation above 11000'. Almost got eaten alive by mosquitos first half of the climb. They were literally swarming like bees lol. Bring bug spray for early summer.

hiking
Sunday, July 02, 2017

Very challenging with gorgeous views.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

I have backpacked this trail twice now going all the way to Pioneer basin. you will see at least 5-6 lakes Ruby,summit,golden,4th recesse and the pioneer basin lakes. you can hike and meet up with the JMT and go to Yosemite or Mount Whitney. I highly recommend this trail. good fishing at all lakes.

hiking
Tuesday, September 13, 2016

A fantastic trail to experience the high Sierra's. I personally chose this trail for the high altitude training for peaks like Mt. Whitney. The trail isn't too terribly difficult due to its relatively short length. Summit Lake is so incredibly crystal clear at the top and really refreshing after a long hike! Personally I continued a little past the lake and went to the ridge on the left of the trail to overlook some of the most fantastic scenery I have ever seen for lunch. Overall a fantastic trail with some of the best scenery I have ever seen.

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