Explore the most popular trail running trails near Bishop with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Gorgeous hike! Stunning vistas. When we started the gate wasn’t open, but it is now. Lucky hikers can park and start right at the trailhead!
We had hiking shoes and were fine, but micro spikes would have worked well today, -still large spots with snow, though melting quickly. Snowshoes as you get deeper would surely come in handy. We turned back 3 miles in (we started late) but I imagine our shoes would have taken us all the way. Just be careful as the snow is melting and it’s easier to fall through.

Great day or overnite hike.

Good early spring hike when other trails in the area are still under snow. POOR signage though. We parked in Paradist the well marked trailhead and hiked up the creek. TRAIL is well maintained and is a good sunny day hike if you are seeking some shade.

The snow made it difficult bit special.

Did this hike years ago. It was great to bag another CA 14er, but not nearly as scenic as the others. Also, there was still a lot of snow on the upper mountain that had a thin top crust, making it to where every step punched through. Twice the effort with every step. Would have been a lot easier without the snow. But even then, I'd have to say this is my least favorite 14er. Great view from the top of course, but pretty barren all the way up. It was cool seeing the bristlecone pine trees as we drove there. Overall a decent outing, but not sure I'd do it again.

Truly a "gem" of a hike - the views are spectacular! Starting at 10K, but not a lot of elevation gain in the hike. Did this over the summer, but created my account in January, so we did NOT go in the winter!

Great hike! The road to the trailhead is closed due to snow 1.3 miles short of the trailhead. Luckily others had hiked before us so the snow was slightly packed out. When my gps said we were .8 away from gem lake the footprints stopped. The snow was now too deep, in my opinion, to posthole for another mile and it was getting late so we turned around. Still a beautiful hike!

We went today 12.09.2017, the trail was covered with snow and the lakes were frozen. The trail was nice, it gives you great views and the silence around was amazing.

We went up to Bishop for a night with our pup two weeks ago and decided to try our hand at this trail—glad we did. Every turn gave you a new breathtaking view of snow tipped mountains and several lakes. We even saw a few people playing ice hockey on a frozen lake! We aren’t experienced hikers, but the intensity of the trail was doable with a few breaks along the way. Due to a flare up of an old back injury, we turned around with a mile left before the turnaround, unfortunately. It took us about 4 hours for 5.5 miles and the views and experience were definitely worth putting in the miles!

This was an amazing hike. The drive to get there is a 4x4 road that will rattle you for 16 miles. Once at the trailhead the hike itself is not very technical, but still very challenging. The altitude will sneak up on you, so be careful and hydrate up. Highly recommended to those who are looking to bag their first 14er.

This is a beautiful trail! It is very well maintained and our 5 year old and 9 year old hiked it fine.

Our only issue was initially finding the trail, as many websites hardly mention it.

“From Bishop go North on Highway 395 to Tom’s Place. Follow Rock Creek Road to Mosquito Flat to the end of the paved road where there is plenty of hiker parking.”

Those were the best direction I found. No distances listed.

Very scenic hike, slight incline the ap says it’s “easy” it’s a little harder then easy for beginners but the scenery is absolutely beautiful, the trees, rocks, lakes and mountains are just perfect. Worth your time.

Epic trail def want to start early

Backpacked this trail last weekend 9/28/17. Beautiful trail and amazing lakes .

This hike was spectacular. Lots of great views. Because of poor planning, we ended up going over Morgan Pass and kept hiking for 2 extra miles. The sign that was SUPPOSED to be directing people to Morgan Pass vs gem lakes was MIA. This caused quite the confusion within our party. We then made our way over to gem lakes and decided to climb the ridge next to the upper lake. (YOLO) overall, great hike, great views, would rate 10/10.

The 11.3 mile route shown here starts from the UC Barcroft Station research center. You will need to park further down at the gate (1.85 miles from the station). Awesome views of the Eastern Sierra.

7 months ago

Fantastic scenery and great backpack trip. I did North Lake to South lake using this loop

on Dusy Basin Trail

7 months ago

Such a beautiful area. I would set camp up somewhere sun would hit first in the morning. Lots of camping options on soft ground. It took me a few hours to thaw all my stuff out, but scenery was worth it

Great vistas. Gorgeous sky, lakes, running streams. Perfect half day hike (we went on up to Morgan pass).

We hiked the trail to Gem Lake this weekend. Temps were great during the day, nights were chilly. We camped and were very cozy in 20 degree bags with no problem. Snow was still present at Gem Lake (11,000 feet). Fish were small but fun to catch. The altitude in addition to our overweight packs kicked our buts and the kids succumbed to a few hours of altitude sickness. I would suggest a day of acclimation if your coming from sea level like we did before carrying 35 lbs up 1000 feet of elevation gains like I did. I was beat at the top. We saw two hikers turn around at the .5 mile mark because the first part is a bit steep if not acclimated. Views were spectacular, trail is beautifully well kept. Lake pristine. Lots of hikers in the first three miles....even Gem Lake at 3.5 miles in had a good number of campers. We had rain showers both days during late afternoon. 3-6 pm. 5 stars for the beauty of the trail. Lots of lakes and creeks to cross. Lots of dogs on trail on and off leash. All were friendly. No water at trailhead. Bring water / water filter device.

Follow Rock Creek Road from 395; it turns into a narrow gravel road, so just stay on the road to the trail head parking lot. Easy trails to nice lake and mountain vistas, so it's probably a good idea to get there early on a weekend. In minutes you get to view Mack Lake, then Heart Lake and Box Lake. Got to shoot pix of the lakes and plenty of wildflowers, which I didn't expect at the end of August. There were some mosquitoes near the lakes and toward dusk; overall a great quick alpine lake fix. Looks like there are plenty of campgrounds on the road into the trailhead.

There are no signs either reaching the trail head or along the trail. You have to know that Little lakes valley trail head is called Mosquito flat trail head. There is no sign along the trail showing either direction or distance. The last mile from Long Lake to Gem lake is steep and difficult. There is no sign for the direction to Gem lakes (on the right). On busy days like Labor day, if you don't reach there by 8 am, you won't find parking. It took us 5 hours(about 3 hours to Gem lakes and 2 hours to come back) to complete the trail(including stopping for pictures), so plan properly. Gem lake is the 6th lake on the trail. although the maps says 7.2 miles, our app calculated 8.5 miles.

Hiked to Lower Morgan 1st then on way back made it to Gem Lakes. Well worth the trip! The turn off to Gem Lakes was moved further up the trail and not as on the recording. Mosquitoes early in the AM but not later in the morning.

8/25/17. The trail from the gate is 14 miles round trip, with hiking above the treeline making for an exposed hike to the summit. Easy to follow, and great to summit a 14er. We came back down in the evening and saw a herd of about 30 big horned sheep. Took us about an hour to drive the 18 miles of dirt road each way, but wasn't too bad.

Prepare to go up and up. Payoff at the top.

9 months ago

Generally considered the easiest California 14er to summit as it's pretty much a dirt/rock road to the top. Hiking in the open all above tree line and in a pretty dry mountain range so it's quite barren. Really nice views of the High Sierra from the trail and the summit. Lots of dirt road to get to the trailhead though.

Got bit in excess of a dozen times. The mosquitoes bit through my clothes! But areas sprayed with DEET were left alone. A mosquito head net is a good idea. Altitude is definitely a factor, but this affects people differently. If you know you're sensitive, you may want to allow time to acclimate.

There were A LOT of people on this trail. It got really busy by 12p. If you want to get away from crowds, this won't be the hike for you. There's a stream crossing where the trail got washed out. You can either hop on the rocks, some of which are wobbly, or just wade through the shallow-ish water. The trail is wet in other spots, too but easily negotiated.

This is one of the most beautiful hikes anywhere. The lakes and streams combined with the high granite peaks make a creative statement. Enjoy a day in "God's Cathedral"!
My boys and I have been backpacking in this valley for years together. We love exploring the lakes beyond the trail. But beware the mosquitoes are fierce this year!

9 months ago

Very quite trail. I didn't see anything but marmots on the trail. That 19 miles chunk of unmaintained road is horrible, take a high clearance vehicle. My little VW is going to rattle for life after that drive. Btw no cell service in that area. My stats, total distance from car parking lot and back, 24 km, 1000 m elevation gain, it took me five hour and 30 mins to complete.

This hike is closer to 15 miles, its about 7.5 miles to the summit. Awesome hike in preparation for Mount Whitney!

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