Thousand Island Lake

MODERATE 13 reviews
#5 of 94 trails in

Thousand Island Lake is a 15 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Oakhurst, California that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is best used from July until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

15.0 miles 4150 feet Out & Back

dog friendly



nature trips






wild flowers


12 days ago

Can others clarify - is this hike hikeable at this time of year already? Are the trails clear?

2 months ago

3 months ago

6 months ago

Great hike and amazing views. I've wanted to come here for quite sometime.

9 months ago

1 year ago

This hike was unbelievable... I did it with myself and my bestfriend over the summer and we were planning to go to garnet lake from Devils postpile but we took the wrong trail and ended up at thousand island lake. we took the river trail there and it was amazingly beautiful walking through the meadows but at the same time sad because of how bad our drought is in California. when we got to thousand island the views were unbelievable I felt like I was in another world but we started our hike at 8am and were planning on being back by 7pm but when we looked at the time when we got to thousand island we noticed it was 2 in the afternoon and we had to get back to Devils postpile before 7 so we had to literally run back. we went and passed garnet lake and then up a mountain and passed shadow and down shadow falls which is extremely steep and all down hill on rocks and when we got back to the river trail we sprinted the whole way back from the end of shadow falls to Devils postpile. even though we had a long detour it was a very long hike 20+ miles and I would do it again in a heartbeat. I'd recommend this to anyone who enjoys to hike and be in nature just to maybe spend the night at thousand island so you can enjoy the hike more.

1 year ago

We hiked the PCT high trail to Thousand Island Lake in August 2014. The views were phenomenal, you are basically hiking through a hillside wildflower meadow for over 5 miles with constant views of the Ritter Range. Stunning. The first few miles from Agnew Meadows are steep but once you get to the heart of the high trail there's not a lot of elevation change.

We camped at Thousand Island Lake and followed the John Muir Trail south to the turnoff for Ediza Lake. This lake is truly a magical place, with the most docile wildlife we've encountered in the Sierra Nevada. Deer came and grazed right around our tent, and we saw numerous marmots just hanging out, as well as a long-tailed weasel.

Third day we hiked down to Shadow Lake and all the way down to the River trail back to Agnew Meadows. Beautiful views following Shadow Falls down down down. All in all one of the best hikes in the Sierras for unequivocal beauty.

2 years ago

I drove up to Mammoth straight from school on Friday 9/12 and arrived at the New Shady Rest Campground at 930pm. I got this campground because Old Shady Rest was closed and I wasn't sure I would get a spot at Agnew Meadows and any farther down the road because they were first come first served. Now I know I could have just parked and slept in my car at the trailhead or camped at Minaret as many of the others did. At 630am I drove out of the campsite and went to breakfast at "The Stove," my favorite breakfast place in Mammoth. Then I drove to the Agnew Meadows trailhead and was ready to go at 830am. The leaders and others got breakfast at Red's Meadow (I heard it was ok). The mandatory shuttle was not running so we didn't have to worry about getting in by 7am or leaving after 7pm.

We took the River Trail (JMT) out of Agnew Meadows to Thousand Island Lake. The first 1. 6 miles was downhill 528 ft. From there it was about a 2,000 ft elevation gain with a total of 9.6 miles to the campsite. It was a pretty easy back pack in. I carried a 47 lb pack, which is still too heavy. It got hard once we had reached Thousand Island lake (about 8 miles in) but we still had to hike another 1.6 miles to the preferred campsite on the SW end of the lake. It was hard to find a group of established campsites together for a group of 15. We had a potluck or "happy hour" after a few of us got in the lake, it was quite cold (understatement).

The next morning the leaders woke everyone up at 530am to prepare for our off-trail day trip to Mt Davis. It took 3.15 miles and 2,357 ft elevation gain to reach the summit of Mt Davis. It was all boulder hopping and walking on small rocks. On the way to Mt Davis we passed by Lake Catherine which sits at the bottom between Mt Ritter and Mt Banner. It was a gorgeous lake with multiple small lakes surrounding it. Mt Davis is 12,325 ft tall, we signed the register and took pictures at the summit. It was quite cold so we didn't stay too long. I neglected to bring a beanie or gloves (I wasn't thinking how cold the summit would be), so Nikki let me borrow an extra pair of gloves. My hands were swollen, red, and frozen, so that helped immensely. My feet were really hurting the last mile and a half. Before that I was having a great time boulder hopping, I'm quite fast at it, and it's super fun. However, 6.86 miles of boulder hopping and walking across scree was not a great idea. My feet were dead back in camp. We had left 715am that morning and didn't return until 538pm, so it was a 10.5 hour hike! We did another dip in the lake after we got back right before dinner and another "happy hour."

The next morning my feet were dead but we still had to hike out. We decided to take the High trail (PCT) out because the leader said it had good views and that the up would be at the beginning and the down at the end to the cars. It ended up being a total of 10.08 miles with an overall drop of 1553 ft but the first 7 miles was either flat, down, or up and the last 3 miles was all down (a drop of 1300 ft). So my dead quit on me for the last 3 miles. They became numb. I loosened my laces and then they just hurt a LOT!!! They were rushing us on the way back because one of the hikers held us up for 45 minutes that morning. We didn't get out of camp until 930am! Then that hiker decided to run/hike the way out. So our pace was way too fast, especially on the down hill. That did not help my feet whatsoever. We got back to the cars at 242pm. The way in was fine, the day hike was too crazy but awesome, and the hike out was not paced well at all. Instead of a leader leading, they let an inexperienced hiker lead because she wanted to get out to margaritas. I was quite pissed.

Even though the hike pace and length was not to my liking, the trip itself was beyond gorgeous!! Thousand Island Lakes was amazing, and the views on the way to and on top of Mt Davis were incredible. I would love to go the area again but at my own pace and schedule.

3 years ago

My new favorite area of exploration. We decided after years of Sequoia and Yosemite, to take to new unknown areas and Mammoth was the answer I was looking for. We started in Agnew Meadows and hiked the river trail up to the cutoff for Shadow Lake. The scenery was amazing and the time of the year had every color you could imagine in the surrounding foliage. We had lunch at Shadow and continued on in search of Clarice and Laura lakes. Unfortunately we had tracked our hike and the gps was dead with no time for the solar panel to do its thing, so we called it a night in a nice meadow just before the hump before Garnet. Lesson learned. The next day we headed towards Garnet and cut off to Altha lake which was a dream come true. An amazing spot for seclusion and beauty. Spent the next few days there because it had everything we could ask for. On day 6 our trip was cut short by a snow storm moving in so Thousand Island lake was never reached. Leaves the perfect excuse to head back this summer. lol. Gonna start in Minaret Falls campground this next trip and try to hit Ediza along with around 10 other lakes on the way to Thousand Island lake. The hike was pretty demanding, but water sources were plentiful. Can't wait for that snow to melt...

4 years ago


4 years ago

This was an amazing trek. We started at Agnew Meadow and took the PCT to 1000 Island lake where we spent our first night. The loop we took traversed us by Ruby Lake, Emerald Lake and Garnet lake, all extremely beautiful. We spent the next night at Shadow Creek. The next day we hiked to Shadow lake and out the Shadow Creek trail to the San Joaquin River and took the River Trail back up to Agnew Meadow.

The hike was moderate in difficulty but very beautiful. The rain each afternoon kept us from having a nice hot meal for dinner, but the mornings were wonderful. We had an great time despite the rain and would recommend this hike to any avid hiker.

5 years ago

6 years ago

The climb up to Agnew and Gem Lakes was great. Really enjoyed the trail out to Waugh Lake and all the tiny creeks and smaller bodies of water heading out to 1000 island lakes was an absolute joy. Lots of potential for wildlife encounters... loads of Cougar and Black Bear tracks. The drop down through Spooky Meadows and rock strewn plummet back towards Agnew Lake was beyond fun.