Give the gift of adventure. Buy Pro for the ones you loveBuy Pro

Panum Crater Trail is a 2.1 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Lee Vining, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length2.1 miElevation gain416 ftRoute typeLoop
Dogs on leashKid friendlyHikingNature tripsWalkingBird watchingViewsWildflowersRocky
Waypoints (0)
Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (57)
Photos (146)
Recordings (40)
Completed (157)
View user's profile page
Mark McQueen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarNovember 21, 2020
HikingGreat!

Great hike around a volcanic cone. The trail circumvents the rim of the cone and then button hooks up into the cone and up the side of an inner cone. The rim section provides sweeping views of mono lake and the Sierra Nevada range to the west. The button hook was also a highligh as you hike among some amazing chunks of slick black obsidian. Do be careful on the drive in as the roads are sand and a motorist got stuck on the drive in. There is no cover and no place to get water, and the trail is crushed pebble sized grains of pumice so where the right footwear.

View user's profile page
Paul Ghidossi
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 17, 2020
HikingGreat!

Very easy and great for the entire family. Basically you park at the entrance and have about a ONE mile loop. What's interesting about this crater, is the geological significance. There is lots of obsidian to look at and the crater is great to teach your kids about the "volatility" of the earth, and what happened many years ago. I did this trail running, but really, it's better to walk it. Go slow and look closely once inside.

View user's profile page
Brian H.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 3, 2020
HikingGreat!No shade

Awesome! No shade and very lose rocks almost like sand made it difficult going up. Hiking boots highly recommended. I know why it is rated “Moderate” for 2.5 miles the incline on the backside of the crater made it difficult.

View Brian's Recording
View user's profile page
Tyler Chuck
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 6, 2020
Hiking

The trail is really nice and has a good view of the crater and mono lake. The hike takes you along a great ridge and then up into the crater. Just as a heads up, the road to drive in (FS-1N55) is partially sand and my two wheel drive car got stuck in it. Had to call a tow truck to get out. Instead, you can take FS-1N28, which is a rocky road.

View Tyler's Recording
View user's profile page
Michael Simpson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 24, 2020
HikingGreat!

The trail is very soft with lava sand. Do not hike it with sandals, or you’re going to injure your feet. Although it is considered easy, one should be fit to do the full hike. If you’re into the geology of the area, this crater is fascinating. It arose recently, so it hasn’t been eroded by the weather like many other cones and craters around here.

View user's profile page
Steph Durkacz
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 9, 2020
HikingNo shade

Really great views of Mono Lake and Sierra. Agree with what other reviewers said: gravel is loose and deep, wear good footwear. Hot and exposed, go early. Super interesting geology. The inner rim trail leads to nowhere. We climbed to the main crater trail (inside) first and then completed the outer rim trail loop

View user's profile page
Yvonne Chan
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJuly 23, 2020
Hiking

The outer Rim trail is great, and gives panoramic views of the surrounding landscape, mountain ridges, and Mono Lake. The inner "rim trail" is not maintained and quickly disappears, forcing one to navigate through spiky, harsh plants, and unstable rocky terrain. The trail up to the crater is awesome, and provides a great view of the remnants of this now dormant volcanic eruption. AllTrails needs to update their map, since that inner rim trail is not real, and will get you into a real bush-whacking adventure.

View Yvonne's Recording
View user's profile page
Ken Kuehne
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 23, 2020
Hiking

Wear decent footwear! This trail is on the soft side. I was too lazy to change shoes and paid for it the next day when my flexors went crazy. Hike is enjoyable, with good views of the lake. Not a terribly difficult trail.

View user's profile page
Caitlin Blauvelt
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 16, 2020
HikingNo shadeRocky

Lots of awesome rock formations and a beautiful panoramic view of the lake and mountains. The loose gravel makes for a slightly tougher hike so wear proper footwear!

View Caitlin's Recording
View user's profile page
Paul Remmenga
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 1, 2020
Hiking

Stopped and explored this trail on a whim while traveling. Learned a ton and was really surprised at the presence of volcanoes in this area. The obsidian in the plug is amazing! Walking the rim is a bit more of a challenge than you would expect due to the deep loose gravel. Walking on the East side of the rim you can see several other cones that see to also be from volcanic activity years ago.

View Paul 's Recording
View user's profile page
Marcella Rose
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarMay 20, 2020
HikingNo shade

Good little hike! Moderate gain going up, and the trail can be sandy and loose and difficult to keep footing. Great views - at the rim you can look down into the crater, get views of other craters, and of course see Mono Lake. Sunny and exposed, and no water. Be sure to read the sign at the trail head - this is a YOUNG volcano. How cool!

View user's profile page
Zach Phelan
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 9, 2019
HikingNo shade

Kind of slow going on the heavy sand trail, but the view of Mono Lake on the Northern Vista is amazing! Fun little hike.

View user's profile page
Ala Stolpnik
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 6, 2019
HikingNo shade
View user's profile page
Crystal Couto
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 9, 2018

Beautiful! I was so stoked to be there I ran half way around the rim.

View user's profile page
Jamie Lantzy
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 26, 2018
Hiking

fantastic Trail, beautiful all the way around the rim. Great panoramic views of the lake. Two important words of caution. Number one be careful if you use Google Maps to navigate to the trailhead, it took us down a pretty narrow dirt road that scuffed sides of our vehicle, instead just watch for the signs pointing to the crater and take that road. Second, we didn't see any bugs at the trailhead so we full heartedly left our insect repellent behind, halfway through the hike at the best panoramic view of the lake we were besieged by flies.

View user's profile page
Bret McCurdy
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 25, 2018
Hiking

RIM NOT RECOMMENDED FOR DOGS. We/I did the crater rim. Started with my three Whippets & my largest started limping & sitting a lot early on. Then we discovered that his paws had been cut by the obsidian on the trail, so the dogs returned to the car with my wife. The rim trail is very loose pea sand so its like walking on a beach. The views are amazing, this is one of the few places where you can see & photo all of Mono Lake. Best time to hike it is early morning when it is cool & few if any others are using the trail.

View user's profile page
Michelle Unger
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 30, 2018
Hiking

This trail is best early in the morning so that shadows are cast between the inner and outer rings of the crater. You also get better visibility for Mono Lake. This is a fast, beautiful hike you should try to fit into any Mono Lake trip.

View user's profile page
Sarah D
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarApril 16, 2018
Hiking

This was fun for my children because there was not only obsidian, but there were huge chunks of pumice that they could lift because it is so light.

View user's profile page
Jerry Horner
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 5, 2017

We did just the 0.9mi out and back trail near the crater as the sun was setting. Couldn't really see the crater very well.

View user's profile page
Glenn McCarroll
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarAugust 18, 2017

easy trail... lots of geology... obsidian and pumice

View user's profile page
Robert Paul
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 1, 2017
Hiking

Another reason why Mono is my favorite place on earth.

View user's profile page
Maryal Fillo
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarApril 24, 2017

Moderate incline to the top. Nice gravel pathway for great grip! Spectacular view of the crater and I liked how there are options to go around the rim and along the crater plug itself.

View user's profile page
Bill Watson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 23, 2016
Hiking

Hands down the best place to see a hill of solid obsidian - beautiful black glass - although it just looks like rock until you break it open - don't remove it (it is sharp and will cut you). Wear good shoes (this is a rocky mound up to 300 ft high from parking lot. Hike up a gravel hill to the right and come to some switchbacks up to the top of the crater, giving you a great view of the eastern Sierras and Mono Lake as well. See cool evidence of the volcanic activity. From Highway 395 and Highway 203 in Mammoth Lakes, head north 20.3 miles on U.S 395 towards Lee Vining and Mono Lake. Take a right on 120-E for 3.1 miles [continuation of Tioga Road if coming from Yosemite and the same road you’d take to the South Tufa trail on Mono Lake], and then take a left at the Panum Crater sign, which takes you about a mile to the trailhead. Nice parking area with a geology hut. Great description here: http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/volcanoes/long_valley/field_guides_panum_crater.html - Coordinates: 37°55.537' N, 119°02.923' W (hand held gps); Elevation: 6,830 ft. Don’t miss this one!

View user's profile page
Kurt Kuhl
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 17, 2016
Hiking

Awesome hike both around the rim trail and into the plug. Amazing views in from the high points. Suggest counter clockwise on the rim trail.

View user's profile page
Moni Keo
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 13, 2015
Hiking

Great place to visit a little volcano with very interesting rocks.

View user's profile page
Teri Liddle
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 29, 2015
Hiking

Super fun easy hike. Great to take pictures holding big pieces of pumice.

View user's profile page
Claire B
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 13, 2015
Walking

Panum Crater is awesome. Just outside Lee Vining on some dirt roads is the crater, which is made of obsidian and pumice. Due to the obsidian, I highly recommend wearing shoes that won't let material in because the obsidian can cut you feet! The hike is really short but fun with sweet views of the eastern sierras and Mono Lake. Plus you can take awesome pictures of you holding a "boulder" above your head since the pumice is so light.

View user's profile page
Kate Stallfort
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 24, 2014

A short hike at Mono Lake. The crater is unique in that the view from the plug is better than the rim trail.

Showing results 1 - 28 of 57