Sherwin Lakes Trail

MODERATE 88 reviews
#13 of 123 trails in

Sherwin Lakes Trail is a 4.8 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.

4.8 miles
875 feet
Out & Back

dog friendly




nature trips





wild flowers



9 days ago

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

2 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.

3 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.

5 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.

5 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.

5 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.

6 months ago

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!

7 months ago

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

7 months ago

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

7 months ago

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. :)

7 months ago

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

7 months ago

The lake is breathtaking!

8 months ago

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.

8 months ago

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

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Hiking from nearby Sherwin Creek Campground to the lakes was an awesome experience. If you start from the campground you can either drive to the trailhead or simply walk it. The trailhead had a restroom but no running water so have some wipes or sanitizer ready.

The trail first crosses Sherwin Creek and goes right next to a hillside. From there the switchbacks begins. You will climb about 1000 feet. Don't let that bring you down, you can do it!!! Just take as many breaks as you need. Eventually you reach the top of the hill. You will have amazing views of Mammoth. From here on you have pretty much conquered the trail as you go on a mostly flat and easy portion to the lake. Keep your eyes open as the lake will be on your right to enjoy. Of course you can continue on the trail for 5 more challenging miles to Valentine Lake. I wrote a review about VL if you want to know more about it. But if this is it, consider it victory at about 8000 feet in elevation. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Beautiful hike about 3 miles one way, partly shaded, scenic and a good workout. There was definitely good elevation gain, but was doable and totally worth it!. Once we reached the Sherwin lake on the mountain, the view was mesmerizing. Will love to do it again but next time want to hike till valentine lake. Great hike!

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Switchbacks going up, but the lake is well worth it

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

The lakes at the top make the switchbacks worth it!

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