Sherwin Lakes Trail

MODERATE 128 reviews
#3 of 100 trails in

Sherwin Lakes Trail is a 4.5 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 April until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

4.5 miles
898 feet
Out & Back

dog friendly




nature trips





wild flowers



16 hours ago

I hiked this trail for the second time and enjoyed it as much as I did the first time I hiked it a year earlier. As noted in other reviews, the trail doesn't offer a lot of shade, which isn't great when hiking in August. As long as you avoid hiking in the heat of the day, though, it isn't too bad.
Once you reach Sherwin Lakes, it makes the hike worthwhile. While there was a lot more traffic this year than last, and more hikers encountered along the trail, it was still enjoyable. I believe we hiked this trail on a weekday last year, but this year it was on the weekend.
Once we arrived at the largest of the lakes, the spots where we could access the water had other people nearby. It wasn't a problem for us, but if you expect seclusion, this may not be the place to find it. I'm sure you could find seclusion at other places around the lake once you get a little further from the trail.
All in all, it's a nice trail. There are places where there is little shade, and some spots where you have to climb over a few rocks, but overall it's a decent trail.

19 days ago

Sherwin Lakes was beautiful once you finally got there, but over 3/4 of it is a steady incline with very little shade coverage. The trail is dog friendly, so I brought my pooch, but it’s been 2 days later and she still can’t walk she messed up her paws/feet so bad on the trail. Also- the lakes do not compare to other lakes in mammoth, but once you’re up there it will feel like you have the area to yourself.

25 days ago

This was a rather easy, peaceful and well marked hike. There is minimal elevation gain and the switchbacks make it rather steady. Honestly, this should classified as easy +.

29 days ago

I loved this trail!!! I would put my ability as somewhat fit but definitely not athletic. I thought the steady climb was a perfect workout without being too challenging. The views of Mammoth and the Long Valley on the way up were great, just before the lakes are some nice views of higher peaks. The lakes are somewhat smaller than others out of the Lakes Basin but pretty and surrounded by pines and aspens. There is plenty of parking at the trailhead, even on a weekend. A very enjoyable day!

1 month ago

I would probably put this hike in the more difficult section of the Moderate rating. definitely not for beginners, lots of uphill. It is very worth the hike though as the lake and mountains behind it are an incredible sight.

1 month ago

Moderately strenuous hike with elevation all the way to the top, but then there are beautiful lakes and mountain views. Go in the morning and pack a lunch to share at the top by the lake.

horseback riding
1 month ago

Very beautiful trail but had to turn back about a half-mile before reaching Sherwin Lake because it had too many boulders and my horse chipped her hoof and had difficulty finding footing. We turned back because it wasn’t worth risking an injury. 3 star rating for equestrian use.

1 month ago

Pretty easy hike. Awesome view. Get there early, coming down we must have past 30+ people.

1 month ago

The drive to get to the trailhead is really beautiful. Some lovely views along parts of the trail, especially on the way down, but the actual Sherwin Lakes paled in comparison to the many gorgeous lakes in Mammoth. This trail is relatively easy and goes by quick; it’s worthwhile to go about 5 mins past the lake to find a gorgeous redwood.

1 month ago

Great hike . Lots of flowers blooming including Mule Ears which are peaking. Relatively easy hike with very few people on the trail. Very dog friendly. Amazing views with a peak a boo even to Crowley.

2 months ago

Beautiful and gorgeous trail with a little bit of an incline with switch backs, gorgeous views on the way up and when you reach the lake it's absolutely stunning and serene, definitely don't miss this gem of a hike

2 months ago

A really great trail, easy for beginners as long as you're willing to take your time, stamina building for sure. Not too difficult of a grade but it definitely pushes you after a while. Loved it, the lakes were beautiful, and the way down is a breeze. The dogs loved it!

2 months ago

Really nice hike. There is a restroom at the parking lot. But it’s not a very large lot so if your driving a motorhome I would suggest going early. When you get to the top there will be a large body of water, keep going the lake is about a quarter mile further up. So beautiful you can fish and swim there.

2 months ago

Great spring hike near Mammoth Lakes. Gentle incline up to a beautiful lake. Trail is well maintained and easy to follow. Dog-friendly.

6 months ago

Great hike even in February. Several lakes at the top.

7 months ago

Great trail, not too steep but not flat. At the end you will find a beautiful frozen lake. Best part is there is very light traffic.

9 months ago

Hiked about 2 miles past Sherwin Lakes. We used this hike to acclimate to the area before doing a much longer hike the next day. It was a beautiful hike on this Fall day.

10 months ago

Great hike. Nice mix of forest floor and rocky trails. Gradual elevation change. Might be a good first day hike if you need to acclimate to the altitude.

11 months ago

Hiked from Sherwin Lakes trail head to Sherwin Lakes, then on to Valentine Lake. Came back via Valentine Lake Trail but ended up on a secondary trail that appeared to be a horse trail. Rejoined the official Valentine Trail just before getting to the Valentine Trail trail head. Then walked back to my car at Sherwin Lakes trail head. 13 miles and 2335 ft elevation gain. Trail is prettiest between Sherwin and Valentine Lakes. The trail down to Valentine was more enjoyable than coming up from Sherwin Lake trail head.

11 months ago

took the trail over labor day weekend. got there by 9am and found parking on the trailhead and no foot traffic going up. on the return an hour later, lots of foot traffic and dogs. no parking left at trailhead. nice workout, well marked trail. bring lunch and enjoy by the lake.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

We arrived in Mammoth Lakes late in the afternoon (5 pm) and this was the perfect evening hike! Took about 45 mins-1 hour each way. The lake was beautiful and we were able to sit on a large rock and enjoy the view & a cold brew. Saw a black bear and a snake on the way back!

Friday, July 21, 2017

The first day hiking with a 25lb pack was challenging.
Great views

Thursday, July 20, 2017

This is not an easy trail, but the payoff makes it worth it. The lake is full and the views are awesome.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

a little rough as we live at sea level and have only just acclimated, and we're just at the beginning of moderate hiking- however the switchbacks aren't the worst we've done and the lakes and views were worth it. :)

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Good hike, a good work out with all those switch backs

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The lake is breathtaking!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The great elevation change makes for amazing views along the switchbacks. It can be a little difficult to get to the lake shores as the trail mostly takes you around the rocks overlooking the lakes. It does make for a nice day hike. I found a nice spot on some rocks to have lunch.

Sunday, June 04, 2017

May 28 2017. Went to Mammoth in February. Sherwin Creek Road was blocked off by snow. We were nervous that we would have to cancel our camping trip to Sherwin Creek as a result. Boy we were wrong. Snow has retreated to 8000'ish. Lake Mary was still closed however. Mammoth Mountain is still covered in snow.

Anyway Sherwin Lakes Trail
This is my second time doing this trail as it is my favorite. This time we drove to the trailhead from Sherwin Creek Campground.

Warning to all, a snow melt spring has eroded the road to the trailhead that connects with Sherwin Creek Road. For 4x4s it is a piece of cake. Everybody else should park near Sherwin Creek Road. I saw many brave sedan drivers turn around due to this.

The bathrooms are open and I recommend to use them as there is no bathroom at the lakes. Also carry hand sanitizer as it is a vault only toilet.

The start of the trail passes through the snow melt heavy Sherwin Creek. After that it goes through the heavy shaded pine forest. The trail here is muddy due to the snow melt that is racing downhill to the creek. The trail starts ascending with flat switchbacks until you reach the base of the hill where you will start switchbacking at a comfortable climb. Once you have done a couple you will have a view of Mammoth, the 395, the Sherwin Creek forest and Mammoth Mountain. Eventually you will start seeing the snow (my guess it will retreat completely by late-June up to Valentine Lake). At the moment the trail has one snow crossing of 3 yards in length. Taking your time or using mini spikes will get you through. Eventually you will reach the top of the hill (you will know because you will see the hill flatten). From here on there are two more mini insignificant switchbacks before the trail flattens and goes straight.

As you continue on the trail you will see a turquoise colored lake on your right. This is a vernal pool. Our main destination is close after passing a log the blocks the trail. After passing the log you will eventually reach Sherwin Lake on your right. The lake is full this year compared to last year. It is beautiful with the mountains in the horizon. Take a break, eat your lunch, fish for trout and even take a dip if you like. The uphill trip is a 2 hour ordeal for those that are below the intermediate range. We took our time on this hike since it is our favorite. We began at 10 and got to the lake at 12. Took a 40min break. We left and got back to the car at 2.

I definitely recommend hiking sticks if you are not physically fit. Water: about 5-8 bottles especially if you decide to go further to Valentine Lake. Mini spikes are optional but bring them just in case.

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Trail was good. A lot of sand or fine gravel was part of the trail. The trees, mountains and then the lake view were well worth the effort, especially for a desert tat like me.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

great hike, gradual incline that leads to several switchbacks. once you reach a wide horse trail at the top of the ridge you have about .5 miles left. beautiful Lake at the end of it

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