Shadow and Ediza Lakes Trail

MODERATE 60 reviews
#3 of 25 trails in

Shadow and Ediza Lakes Trail is a 13 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Mammoth Lakes, 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.

13.0 miles
1,774 feet
Out & Back

dogs on leash





horseback riding

nature trips

trail running





wild flowers

2 days ago

The hike is amazing shadow lake is nice but it doesn’t compare to Ediza. The trail is flat for most of it just rocky parts of gravel and rock a some steep inclines. Once you get to Ediza u won’t be disappointed you get a beautiful view of mount Ritter and banner peak even tho for me there was smoke that day

22 days ago

Hiked this today with two friends. Our total distance was 15.37 miles as we did a full circuit of Ediza lake, before retracing our steps to the trailhead. Beautiful area of lakes, rivers, waterfalls and all that hiking in the Sierras has to offer. Visibility was reduced a fair bit by smoke from a fire burning about 5 miles away.

1 month ago

This was our second hike in the Mammoth Lakes area (Duck Lake was our first) and we were very happy we chose this for our 2nd day and we were more a bit more acclimatized to the altitude.

- This hike is one of THE MOST BEAUTIFUL river-side hikes we’ve ever done. Really a STUNNING river all the way up with lots of changes in size, speed, falls, etc. I think this hike is all about the river - don’t get me wrong the lakes are beautiful too but the river is stunning!

Hike description:
- It starts flat and then downhill to Shadow Creek. Then the trail ascends up to Shadow Lake with beautiful switchbacks and little shade. Beautiful river and waterfalls. Shadow Lake is half-way point to Ediza and great spot for a stop and snack. Shadow Lake to Ediza includes beautiful river-side shaded trails and also another steep and exposed (but shorter) climb toward Ediza.
- Between the two switchback sections the trail meanders along-side the river in many covered areas with stunning wildflowers, green growth and shade. Beautiful hiking!
- At Ediza there are at least two options. The official bridge is washed out so 1) stay on the right side of Ediza and enjoy the lake from that side - you’ll need to stay on the trail on the right of the river - enjoy some light bouldering - and you’ll get there easily. We found a nice breeze (and few bugs) there so we really enjoyed it. Or 2) you can cross the river and hike to the left side of Ediza - we didn’t cross but looks like the most shallow crossing is about 0.25 down-river (backtrack) from the broken bridge along the river (which is off the main trail).
- We started at 8:30am and finished at 3:45pm (back to parking lot). About 13 miles in 7 hours at comfortable pace with many short stops and one longer lunch stop.

- The drive to the trailhead can be a bit confusing. Officially you can drive and park at the trailhead only before 7am (and after 7am you’re supposed to park at the Mammoth Adventure Center and take a shuttle to the trailhead). We drove in around 8am on a weekday and were able to find spots at the trailhead. It was a bit of a risk since the trailhead does fill up which would have meant driving back up to the Adventure Center and taking the shuttle (which would have cost us at least 30 extra minutes depending on the shuttle schedule). Obviously it was nice to have our car at the trailhead when we finished.
- We started at 8:30am and the mosquitoes were fierce all the way to Ediza. My partner wound up with 50+ bites. Highly recommend you wear LOOSE clothing (so bugs don’t bike through clothing) and lots of repellent.
- Due to the mosquitoes we didn’t find the hike as relaxing - we had to keep moving all the way to Ediza. Although that probably helped us keep a good pace, it would have been nice to be able to stop and enjoy here and there.

Overall a stunning hike! Highly recommended, especially if you get lucky with the season and don’t have to deal with the mosquitos.

1 month ago

Amazing, went last month. Still a lot of snow on the ground up by iceberg lake and we did not have crampons so we couldn’t make it to the other lakes past that. But iceberg lake was incredible. Mostly still frozen over at the time. Less mosquitos up there as well.

1 month ago

This is one of the most beautiful trails I’ve been on. It took us about 4 hours to reach Lake Ediza and 3 hours to get back . Don’t forget to carry a mosquito repellent .

Carry a rain jacket . Weather here can be unpredictable .

4 months ago

We actually made a loop hike from Agnew Meadows to Ediza, then stayed the next night at Minnaret Lake having hiked by Iceberg and Cecile. That off-trail section was a bit sketchy due to incline and tallus. However, the Minnarets presiding over all of those gorgeous lakes were breathtaking. Ediza L. to Minnaret L. is some of the most beautiful land in Ansel Adams Wilderness to me, and that is really saying something because there are many spectacular places there.

9 months ago

I want to spread my ashes here. That's how beautiful it is.

10 months ago

Completely breathtaking. Start at Agnew Meadows, snack at Shadow Lake, and have lunch at Ediza. Trail was easy to follow with good signage. Took about 9 hours round trip with many stops for photos, snacks, and a long lunch. My dog absolutely loved it as well. Stream crossing to get to Ediza Lake is difficult to find. There is a log crossing before the trail crossing. I crossed with the pup across some rocks a little before the trail crossing. You can continue along a bit of a bolder scramble (there is somewhat of a trail) and take some rocks across at the lake. Worth an overnight trip which I plan to do next time.

10 months ago

Beautiful! Gorgeous! Amazing! I could go on, but words don't describe how picturesque this hike was. The views at the top are breathtaking. Would highly recommend this trail to everyone.

11 months ago

Solo hike from Agnew Meadow to Shadow Lake and then along the Shadow Creek Trail to just below Lake Ediza. The bridge to cross the creek below Ediza was non-existent. I kept going along a secondary trail but I couldn't find a place that I felt comfortable crossing the creek. It was getting late in the afternoon so I turned back. I did talk to folks who found a place to cross. The trail above Shadow Lake is absolutely beautiful and was a great place for lunch and wading in the creek.

11 months ago

This hike rivals those in Yosemite. Took us about 7 hours all said and done with a stop at Shadow for lunch and a stop at Ediza to take a dip in the lake (incredibly cold but so nice). Highly recommend. Hike isn't too difficult. The elevation gets you more than anything. Bring some mosquito repellent...i got chewed up...

Saturday, August 12, 2017

I hiked this trail in August of 2016. Definitely one of my favorite hikes! Beautiful views the whole way. I started around 6am and finished at 3. After hiking to Ediza, I trekked on to Iceberg Lake and then tried to make Cecil lake, but the trail past Iceberg became much more difficult and I was uncomfortable proceeding alone. Absolutely beautiful, and I highly recommend going on to Iceberg as I liked that one more than Ediza.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Love this trail and would like to make this an annual summer trip. As of 7/22/17 the high bridge is washed out. This weekend most hikers have traveled up the right side of the creek, scrambling on hands and feet near the creek for that last .9 to the lake. Lots of snow this weekend so travel is slow. Take the bolder rout to the right when you reach the lake. Your favorite camp sites are available and snow free. Take extra deet! Enjoy.

Saturday, July 08, 2017

I am a pretty avid hiker and surprisingly found this hike to be pretty tough. I had intended to start at 7am so I could drive in, but I got up late and ended up starting at noon. This meant I had to cut my hike short. I wanted to get to Iceberg Lake but had to stop at Ediza. I ended up returning around 7:45pm and just barely made the last shuttle out of the valley, otherwise I would have to hike another seven miles up to the resort, and then down the road into town.

The hike is truly beautiful the entire way. It starts off quite easy at Agnew Meadows, and then you're hiking downhill on the ledge of a volcanic ridge which was really cool. Then through some "kissing canopies" of trees past Olaine Lake and the base of the climb to Shadow Lake. The climb to Shadow Lake is... wow. It's entirely on rock and exposed to the sun... not incredibly fun. Once you get to the top, you're at beautiful Shadow Lake. If you know what's good for you, stop here for a while to relax. It doesn't get any easier. From here, you can continue south on JMT to Rosalie Lake after climbing a series of switchbacks, or north to Ediza Lake.

The climb from Shadow Lake was intense and quite a workout, and a little less gradual than I anticipated, but by now you're in the thick of the forest and following beautiful Shadow Creek the entire way. There are wildflowers and tons of random waterfalls throughout. Ediza Lake is breathtaking and peaceful. Again, stop here and rest. At the southern end of the lake, you can see the trail to Iceberg Lake. It goes through a meadow and looks like it leads nowhere.

On the way back I started to panic a bit because I was running out of time. I hightailed the entire way which really took a toll on my body. I was no longer seeing any hikers on the trail except for a group of Cub Scouts. I did see some backpackers setting up tents. Probably the most grueling part of the hike was the end, from the bottom of the Shadow Lake climb back to Agnew Meadows as it was entirely uphill and I was exhausted. My repellant had worn off and I didn't apply more as my goal was to get back before I missed the last shuttle. I was eaten alive at Olaine Lake by swarms of mosquitoes.

I'd like to try to get an earlier start (7am) and do the full loop from Agnew Meadows to Devils Postpile via Shadow-Ediza-Iceberg-Cecile-Minaret. I would need to take more breaks and probably start with a decent breakfast. I tend not to eat before I hike (which goes against all wisdom) because all of the activity can made me sick.

Friday, September 23, 2016

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.

Monday, September 19, 2016

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.

Monday, September 05, 2016

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.

Monday, August 08, 2016

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.

Friday, July 29, 2016


Friday, July 08, 2016

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.

Monday, June 27, 2016


Monday, May 26, 2014

Everything my wife said below is absolutely true! And take a camera you'll need it...

Monday, May 26, 2014

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)

Saturday, September 21, 2013

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.

Sunday, September 23, 2012


Thursday, February 02, 2012

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).

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

One of the most beautiful lakes in the world!

10 days ago

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