Valentine Lake Trail

MODERATE 49 reviews
#5 of 100 trails in

Valentine Lake Trail is a 9.2 mile lightly 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 June until November. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
9.2 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,909 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dog friendly

backpacking

birding

fishing

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

trail running

forest

lake

river

views

wildlife

snow

hiking
12 days ago

great day hike an easy-moderate trail, not too stip. Both lakes are amazing and so many different landscapes! great day

hiking
16 days ago

Awesome hike. Well marked and worth going to the top to see Valentine Lake. 10.2 miles with 1925 feet of elevation. Not crowded and no smoke today.

hiking
22 days ago

Amazing trail!! Really worth it. First part, up to sherwin lake is ok, I would say it’s easy and some beautiful views.
From Sherwin to Valentines is awesome!! Beautiful and variate landscapes!
The last part is tough! All way up to the hill (after a few miles hiking), but the price when you reach valentines lake, absolutely worth it.
I really recommend this hike!!
We readed that there were a lot of mosquitos. Fortunately we only saw a few, anyway, I recommend using some Mosquito repellent.
* Our gps watch marked 10.2 miles

(we did the hike on 21/07/2018)

backpacking
22 days ago

Bring a fishing pole! Trail is a bit longer than what is listed on AllTrails.

backpacking
1 month ago

6-6-18 Started at 10:15 and made it to camp at 15:30. Great hike, I would not rate this hike as moderate, maybe up to Sherwin lakes, but not to Valentine lake (quite hard). Onto the review.

Start elevation 7725'. Lower half of trail (about 1 miles or so) is loamy dirt, the rest of the trail is dirt with lots and lots of granite rocks, some big some smaller loose rock perfect to roll your ankle on. Trail is mostly shaded with stretches of sunny areas so wear sunscreen. You will have a set of switch backs before Sherwin lakes, a little elevation loss and a flat section then it really ramps up to Valentine lake.

There is another set of switch backs before Valentine lake and a few straight shots up the hill. Trail ends at the exit side of lake (elevation 9670'), well that we could find. There is one small snow crossing at the top just before the lake. If you head to the right and carefully cross the creek and bushwack a bit there are some sweet camp sites.

The views are spectacular. Temps were in the mid 70's going up and dropping quickly when the wind picked up. It hit 32* at night. If you like fishing bring a pole, there are tons of brooke trout pan sized (we will fish next time).

PLEASE PACK OUT WHAT YOU TAKE IN!!!!! We carried out a ton of trash left behind. A great short backpacking trip.

You will need a permit to overnight at Valentine lake, you can reserve one online (Valentine lake JM02 entrance) or the day before you're camp trip at 11:00 at the mammoth visitors center.

I will be back again!

Surprised we had cell service the whole way!

hiking
1 month ago

Great mellow hike for the family and the dogs. Decent elevation but. Great views.

hiking
1 month ago

5 stars rating after sherwin lake.. the hike from sherwin to valentine was so much fun . Did this hike in April still had snow in the last quarter mile. Beautiful big lake. My dog loved it so much!

2 months ago

Great day hike, took the Sherwin Lake trail, past Sherwin Lake, then to a small pond coming down from Valentine Lake, finally up to the actual Lake. There are two sets of switchbacks, early in the trail then on the top of the trail right before the lake. River coming down the lake is a great place to refuel water (we have a water filter pump). Just a little snow but not an issue. My GPS had us at 10.5 miles in and back with moderate altitude gain.

hiking
2 months ago

Did this one June 2nd. Great hike with awesome views at the lake, perfect for a lunch / mid point refuel. A little bit of snow on the trail towards the top, but no hazard at all. My GPS clocked this at 10.5 miles and 2,300 ft of gain

fishing
2 months ago

Trail is 98% passable now. Boots only touched snow a handful of times and those patches were very small and easily passable

backpacking
2 months ago

Did this 5/27-28/18 and there was snow along the last 1/4 mile. We got hit with a little rain and sleet once we got to Lost Lake, but kept going once it died down a little. The switchbacks at the top were not visible, so we followed the footsteps in the snow along the stream made by previous hikers, which also meant a higher grade climb. With our pack weight, we would sometimes posthole or slip on the icy snow. We saw groups of day hikers having trouble navigating through the snow, also. It would likely help to have shoe chains next time. Once at the top, you have to cross the stream to get to a few good camp spots. Go higher up away from the lake to find some clearings. We found a good spot to camp about 150 feet up, with views of the surrounding mountains and even the town of Mammoth in the distance. We couldn't travel far parallel to the lake due to marshy ground and large boulders. The lake was partially frozen on top. At night we heard a choir of what may have been the endangered yellow-legged mountain frogs, which was cool. We only saw one other backpacker camping at the lake, and not many people coming up on our way back down. Also had cell phone reception at the lake. We started at the Valentine Lake trailhead, which is east of the Sherwin Lake trailhead, and is approximately 4.5 miles each way. This was a relatively short hike, but strenuous at the top with the snow.

hiking
2 months ago

Just hiked on 5-22-18 trail is in great condition right up until the final switchbacks start going up to valentine lake. There are none, because it’s covered in snow. The track goes straight up so bring your micro spikes and get ready. It’s tough but short. Lake is still mostly frozen. Incredible hike with so many highlights I could go on forever. Rained on me and my dog the whole way back with a hale storm thrown in to boot!

backpacking
11 months ago

Magical hike with barely any foot traffic. The trail is all uphill to the lake (and conversely all downhill back to the trailhead). Tough hike but well worth the stunning views of the lake and the valley at the top of the trail. We brought our pup and spent the night by the lake. We went on Labor Day weekend and were pleasantly surprised at how quit the trail was...Only saw a handful of people each day. Definitely check it out if you are looking for a challenging day hike or an overnight backpacking trip.

hiking
11 months ago

Beautiful hike! Long and worth it. Awesome trees and we saw a bald eagle fly over and land on a tree. Gorgeous!

hiking
11 months ago

Nice hike past two beautiful lakes. Mosquitoes were not too bothersome. You need to cross a stream to get to nice part of Valentine. Flowing to fast for my dog to make it ove

hiking
11 months ago

Well made switchbacks makes the climb easy

hiking
Monday, July 17, 2017

Great trail, very beautiful all the way up! There is still a small snow patch at the very end of the trail that covers the river coming down so be careful and stay near the top of the snow patch where it covers the trail. It was pretty buggy (lots of mosquitos) on the right side and the left side of the lake has fun massive rocks to climb around on. The lake itself is gorgeous! This place was recommended for backpacking...I'd say the one caveat is that the left side doesn't have much camping so you're left with a mosquito battle on the right side.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

this trail is not accessible due to snow damage!

hiking
Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Really enjoyed it....spent a night there with some friends. Small fish in the lake, a few small waterfalls on the way up. Very uncrowded at the time....ran into only a couple of other packers.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Amazing hike with 360' views!

hiking
Saturday, June 25, 2016

This review begins at Sherwin Lake Trailhead. According to Mammoth Trails, the trailhead for Valentine Lake begins east of Sherwin Creek Campground near the Laurel ohv trails.

We began at the Sherwin Creek Campground and walked on the road until we got to the road intersection that leads to the trailhead. The Sherwin lakes trailhead has a bathroom but no running water. We began this hike at around 8am. Getting to Sherwin Lakes was a moderate hike. The first part will pass Sherwin Creek and start with the many switchbacks up the hill. It will provide you with amazing views of Mammoth Mountain and the town. Once you reach the top of the hill it will be flat and easy until you get to Sherwin Lake. Once you are done seeing this beautiful lake, continue on the trail. Valentine Lake is a little bit harder and about 5 miles further up. It will eventually unite itself with the Valentine Lake trail. Once we reached a heavily wooded forest, we found ourselves with leftover patches of snow and an incline. You will also find yourself with a beautiful rapids section of Sherwin Creek on your right. As you make your way up, you will find a small clear pond. Once you pass the pond, you reach the "final round" of the trail: about 7 to 8 switchbacks that become narrower and rocky as you reach the top (hiking stick, no prob).

Unfortunately, the last bit of trail at the top was covered in slippery snow next to the rapid Sherwin Creek. My girlfriend I, turned back and arrived at our campsite around 6-7pm. (Hiked on June 18th 2016).

Make sure for this hike to have more than 7 water bottles if you are a beginner. A big breakfast is also a must. Hydrate, eat snacks and take breaks when you need to. Sunscreen is a must. Spikes or hiking boots with good traction are a must.

Over all we were happy of our first 9k elevation hike. We will be back next year for sure to finish it.

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

We caught the Valentine lake trail from Sherwin lakes, caught a lot of snow getting closer to Valentine lake but absolutely amazing views!

hiking
Thursday, July 10, 2014

This is a great hike, we stayed a couple of nights at the beginning of July and would have given it five stars for a combination of the short hike, fantastic views, seclusion, and dog friendly...disadvantage was mosquitos. Again could have been because of dry/warm winter but be prepared with plenty of bug spray if camping. Bring fishing poles if you're down with that.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Beautiful hike

18 days ago

hiking
19 days ago

recorded Valentine lake

hiking
26 days ago

backpacking
26 days ago

backpacking
26 days ago

27 days ago

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