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Virginia Lakes Trail

MODERATE 71 reviews
#3 of 9 trails in

Virginia Lakes Trail is a 8.1 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Lee Vining, 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 are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 8.1 miles Elevation Gain: 2,329 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly



horseback riding

nature trips


bird watching





wild flowers



no shade
22 days ago

Beautiful trail. So many lakes! Two easy (end of September) creek crossings. Nice gradual climb all the way up until the summit. Lots of other hikers, horses and dogs. No major bug issues. Lots of great fall colors, look forward to going again!

23 days ago

Incredible views. Be careful...the distance from the summit to the final lake is deceiving. It is much farther than it looks!

1 month ago

You need a permit from a ranger station to overnight backpack this trail. You also need a bear can to stay overnight, which you can rent from Ken's Sporting Goods in Bridgeport for $3 per day. The permit can be obtained the day of your hike. This hike is absolutely gorgeous, there is plenty of water so bring a filter and don't carry all your water. This hike has quite a lot of incline heading up to the pass, but it's pretty gradual. Mosquitoes were relentless so make sure you have bug spray if you will be sitting still near the lakes. It was harder than I thought it would be and look a lot longer so be prepared to get a good workout with a lot of ups and downs and plan a lot of time for this hike.

1 month ago

Good bang-for-your-buck trail. Beautiful scenery. Excellent view from the ridge up top.

1 month ago

Great trail, good views plus good climb.

1 month ago

We did this trail 4th of July weekend and loved the views. There was still *a lot* of snow on the trail then, which was both fun, and impossible at points. We couldn’t make it to the top, but assume now you can with the snow pack melted down.

2 months ago

Beautiful hike to the crest! Met a dozen or so others (on a Wednesday) enjoying the trail as well. A few backpackers, but mostly day hikers. Dogs loved it. Plenty of water and swimming stops along the way until the final push up the hill to the top. Great views from there. Small snow fields still present toward the top though none obstruct the trail. Very little harassment today from the bugs.

2 months ago

3 months ago

Started hike thinking we were just going to hit Frog Lakes as we had a long hike the day before but ended up hitting summit plus. Wildflowers were off the hook from the valley floor all the way to the summit. I have never seen so many flowers on the summit of above tree line before. Pretty sure the snow had just melted a few days before leading to the outburst. We were lucky and caught it perfectly. Headed up trail and there were quite a few people headed to the Frog lake area. Snow/Creek diverted us and we ended up following a side trail at Frog Lake. We realized that it was the Moat Lake trail and so decided to follow that for a while. Trail was a bit washed out from snow but forged ahead. Was very Shale/Bouldery. Dog and I stopped after a snow field crossing and headed back down, husband continued on and got to saddle to see Moat Lake but snow on backside limiting ways down. Beautiful overlook before you go up to Moat Lake. I sat there for a while as he made his way down. Then we headed on. Felt good so decided to keep on heading up to summit. Trail to summit was switchbacky but doable. About 200 yds. from summit you hit snow field you had to cross. Hiker with his two kids had turned back but they said that people were forging through. We had hiking poles and the suncups were pretty big so we continued. It was a pretty easy trek as snow was soft and you could get footholds. Made it up to summit and could look over the back to Summit lake in valley behind. Headed back down for a total of just under 9 miles and 90 floors hiked. In comparison we did Barney lake the Day before and did 14 miles with 51 floors. So a few good climbs. Lots of water, bugs weren't a problem and the snow was doable. Probably melted quite a bit since we did this. Wildflowers galore.

5 months ago

I love this trail, I do it almost every time I’m in the Sierras. Beautiful views and if it’s hot you can jump in one of the lakes!

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

we hiked all the way to the summit...totally worth it! We went with our 11 and 16 year olds. Very diverse trail. There are about 5 lakes on the way up. Mostly shade and moderate climbs. Loved it!

Monday, August 06, 2018

Beautiful scenery! Great fishing. Very modest hike

Monday, July 23, 2018

Amazing views. Alone the whole time. Beautiful.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Beautiful scenery at every turn! The 1st half on the way to the peak is easy. Climbing to the peak builds the heart rate but the views from the top on both sides are spectacular and I feel like it would be ok to turn around from there if you were looking for a shorter hike. The decent from the peak is a little tricky as the trail is shale and switchbacks and sometimes the trail is lost with snow cover, but there was a crew of three men working on digging the snow away from the trail in a few places. The hardest part is knowing you have to climb back up the peak from the summit.

Monday, June 18, 2018

There were still some patches of snow on June 15, but a beautiful hike! You pass many lakes, and have to cross some sections of creek by stepping on rocks. Definitely recommend!

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

easy and amazing

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

5 generations of my family make this place a regular vacation spot. The hiking, the spectacular views and fishing are all amazing. This place is a hidden gem.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

This is one of the best alpine hikes I've ever been on. There are at least 8 very nice lakes, several interesting rocks with glacial markings, snowfields, and a miniature glacier near the top that calves into a lake (at least during high snow years like 2016-2017). Furthermore, many hikes in the Sierras and elsewhere build up to a summit. This hike, though, is short enough that you can go past the first summit to see many other cool features, even if you are just doing a dayhike! While many hikes have one or two of these features, this one has all of them and is not that crowded.

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

great trail!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

This is a beautiful hike!

Monday, October 10, 2016

great hike with several lakes on the way. you can stop and return at any point. currently everything is brown all around. just few green trees around the lakes and little streams. we did it with our girls (10 + 6) and enjoyed it a lot. it seems that all lakes got fish in them.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

It was beautiful as always. We camped by Frog Lakes. There was still a lot of snow and it was melting like crazy so there was water everywhere too. Hiked up over the top and down towards Summit Lake but couldn't make it all the way due to the snow.

Sunday, May 01, 2016

I love this trail! Hiked it last April, May, and June. In June it was so beautiful covered in wild flowers.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Nice trail, and easy to get to lakes. Not super strenuous but steady incline. Was very cold and windy when we went so we didn't go too far since we had 4 1/2 year old and 17 mo old w/ us. Would like to do it again and go farther. We only made it to frog lakes.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Nice steady incline up to the lakes and great views from the top.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Went and spent time to go above the lakes higher elevation could get to person

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