Shadow and Ediza Lakes Trail is a 13 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Oakhurst, California that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
One of the most beautiful hikes I've been on in the Mammoth area! I don't know if it was the altitude or my physical condition, but it's on the difficult side of moderate, but well worth it.
Just finished this trail yesterday. The autumn colors really came out and was a magnificent sight to see! Our trip from Agnew Meadows to Ediza Lake was a total of 14 miles. This is a good trip for beginners that are just getting into backpacking! The steep ascend to Shadow Lake is a good challenge, which is highly rewarded with the view.
This is the most gorgeous hike I have ever been on. Wow. My life won't be the same. Definitely make this a three day trip by spending the night at Ebiza lake and on Day 2, hiking to Thousand Island lake, and then on Day 3 taking the PCT back (nearly all downhill) to the Shadow Lake trailhead. I've never seen anything more beautiful.
I consider myself a pretty seasoned hiker, but I found this hike to be unusually brutal. I did do it in one day though, and didn't get out early enough so I didn't have much time for breaks.
Beautiful hike. Shadow Lake is breathtaking especially when the water is calm and you can see the reflection of Banner and Ritter in the water. The climb up to Shadow Lake from the bridge is exhausting and very rocky and was only 0.5 miles but took close to an hour. Plan for these climbs when trying to calculate the amount of time it will take. Shadow Lake is a good place to take a break. The climb out of Shadow up to Ediza seemed even more tiring but there is a lot of shade and a creek with several waterfalls follows the trail. There are also some beautiful marshes. There are some extended sections of rock (similar to the Shadow Lake climb). The hike ends with a sketchy log bridge which was kind of cool. Ediza Lake is magnificent. Enjoy all the work you did to get here because you are much closer to the tops of the Minarets than you were when you started! The wildflowers were in the middle of their bloom at this elevation where they had all withered down lower in the valley.
I was hoping to get to Iceberg and maybe even Cecile, but I was exhausted and couldn't take any more climbing. I am glad I skipped those as I just barely made the last bus out of the valley. I'll do those on another trip.
Remember that repellent wears off, especially with sweat. I put plenty on, but had to rush on my way back to make the shuttle bus and didn't put more on. I was eaten alive by mosquitoes, especially near Olaine Lake.
This hike would be absolutely amazing as a camping trip so you can go at your leisure and take plenty of breaks.
You really couldn't ask for anything more on this trail. Hiking under a canopy of trees, raging waterfalls and of course the tranquil, yet breathtaking Ediza Lake. My numbers read 14 miles out and back with 1802 ft total elevation gain. A bucket list item for sure.
Everything my wife said below is absolutely true! And take a camera you'll need it...
My husband and I enjoyed this hike Memorial Day weekend 2014 while camping at Red's Meadow. We hike pretty regularly and accomplished the 15 miles, 2898 ft ascent, as a day hike in just over 7 hours with plenty of snack breaks and even lunch at Ediza Lake.
The first mile is pretty flat along Agnew Meadow and just as you enter into the Ansel Adam's Wilderness it drops down into the valley. At 2.8 miles you pass the first lake, Olaine Lake. Very pretty but don't stop here!! Continuing on, just as you pass the bridge, the up hill trek begins. But don't be discouraged, it's more like an epic stair climber with GORGEOUS mountain views. At 5.5 miles you will be welcomed into Shadow Lake. This is one of the most beautiful and rewarding mountain lakes I have ever seen. And if you don't feel like doing the whole 7.5 miles to Ediza, this is a worthy stopping point. Moving on past Shadow Lake the trail meanders for another 200 ft elevation climb (only 2 more miles!) And these 2 miles are stunning, with glassy clear rivers, towering trees, and majestic peaks. As you round the last corner, Mt Ritter, Banner, and the Minarets give you quite a show. And my husband says he hasn't seen anything like it since the Swiss Alps! The time of year we did the hike, there was still snow on the lake (and crunchy patches along the trail) I would suggest waiting till mid June or July for the snow to melt. Reward yourself with a nap and head back. It's mostly downhill from here.
Here's a few extra pointers...
-You will be crossing quite a number of little creeks, so waterproof hiking boots are a plus.
-Bring lots of water. We went through 3 Liters each in out hydration packs, so lugging a water bottle isn't a good option. Or just bring a water filter pump and enjoy abundant mountain water.
- Be prepared for possible random thunder shower.
- Bring more food and snacks than you think you need. We had 2 Clif Bars each and an MRE (meals ready to eat) which we prepared with our JetBoil (an excellent investment)
Just finished 5 days at Ediza and had so much fun. After getting a little wet crossing on some rocks near the camping area and filling my boots FULL of water, 3 of the nicest guys helped me set up camp and were the BEST company one could ask for on what started as a solo trip. We will be friends for life!! Lake is beautiful but last mile and a half on the way DOWN was grueling.
Fantastic destination. One steep climb early on (to Shadow Lake), then a slow ascent to Ediza. Gorgeous spot, the hike is a good workout but not completely draining. What will get you is climbing back out of the valley on the way home (after you pass Shadow & Olaine).
One of the most beautiful lakes in the world!