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

The trail is gorgeous. We went for 2 nights. First night we slept by the Gem lake. second night by the Thousand Island Lake. All together the trail is a little more than 20 mi. its November, so at night the temperature dropped very low, to around 10F. However, during the day hiking was warm enough. There is no developed campgrounds, so you can camp almost anywhere. there is plenty of water, so there is no need to carry lots of water with you. Waugh lake is not really a lake because of the dam, its dried. Our dog was super happy with the hike, too. We picked up permit, maps and bear canister at Mammoth Lakes Welcome Center.

backpacking
17 days ago

Great hike!!! My phone/watch actually tracked this trail closer to 20 miles round trip but it was certainly worth the trek. Camped right next to Thousand Island Lake.

Did this May 15th, 2018. Be in shape for this hike because it is all up hill. That said it is very worth the climb because you get to see so much more then you expected. The old tracks they used to haul up equipment are still in use it looks like. Then the two lakes you come across are just beautiful.

After reading about this hike, we were excited to visit this lake. The trail going up has a good view of Silver Lake, however, it also has a view of the road and cars on the way up. The trail itself has a lot of rocks, and a lot of scrub brush. There are very few trees therefore very little shade. Once we got to the lake, we were suprised to see a concrete dam and a power station. Not exactly the serene alpine views we were looking forward to. The lake was not pretty and the trees on one side were cut down for some reason. All in all, a pretty disappointing hike. With so many hikes in the Mammoth area, I can't recommend this hike at all.

backpacking
1 month ago

Love this hike, it never gets old! We’ve hiked it a total of four times for a day hike, camping and on our way to thousand island. The trail is pretty steep up until you get to Agnew lake, but after that it’s not bad at all. My youngest son had just turned 5 the first time he went and didn’t complain once! Views are amazing. I suggest starting out early in the morning since there is not very much shade. There’s a nice cold stream as you make your way around Gem lake which is perfect to fill up your water bottle with if you’re camping there or if you just need it for the hike back down.

hiking
1 month ago

Amazing hike. The start of the trail at the campground is not well marked. Walk towards the fence line and there is a sign. Once past the campground you get great views of Silver Lake and as you climb you see the falls and the cable car tracks straight up. Agnew Lake is small. Gem Lake is beautiful and worth the extra distance. While eating lunch an afternoon storm moved in and the temperature dropped dramatically in a matter of minutes. We watched it snow at the far side of the lake as we put on our jackets and rain gear before heading back down the trail. We got to the car just as the rain started pouring down. Great fall colors in the Aspen trees.

2 months ago

Pretty hike, several switchbacks along the face. The hike is prettier than the destination of Lake Agnew though. Recommend going in morning if hot weather as the rocks can get pretty warm

The Hike up to Gem Lake is a constant uphill, but well maintained trail. Lots of day hikers and people entering the high country. Agnew lake and Gem Lake are impressive, but unfortunately, they just have a reservoir feel. However, getting a glimpse of the entire hydroelectric works with old buildings, railtracks and old style reservoir buttress style dam is a throw back to a bygone era and fascinating when all taken together. At Agnew Lake we got a glimpse of the way down from the Spooky Meadows trail and it was impressive to get an idea of what we were instore for.

Our goal was to keep our camp two nights at Clark Lakes and day hike a loop up to thousand Island Lake. Clark Lakes are very picturesque, multiple places to set up camp, but most are close to the trail. Due to the late date in the season we encountered absolutely no mosquitoes, I am sure that in July there must have been alot, as the lakes are shallow with still water in many places.

The hike to Thousand Island lake from Clark Lakes is fantastic, each vista and view is better then the next with Banner Peak and Mt Ritter as the backdrop. At the junction with the JMT you encounter lots of people, up until then, from Gem lake to Clark Lakes to Thousand Island we had seen just about no one. However this section of the JMT is really stunning. we went south from Thousand Island to Garnet Lake and the trail was well maintained and just a joy to take in and hike.

At Garnet lake across the bridge ( once again a congregation spots for many hikers) we went east and down the trail next to the outlet falls to hook up with the river trail along the San Joaquin River. This little tail is poorly marked and poorly maintained, a fun pleasant scramble, but we left scratching our heads wondering if we were on the correct trail. However once on the river trail going north we were amazed. The river trail is really just a very sweet trail with great canyon wall views to the left as you ascend back up to the PCT.

Back at Clark lake we were able to find a great spot to enjoy the sierra sunset and get tremendous views just a 5 minute walk from our camp. we could see the orange glow off the mountains in Yosemite towards Mono Pass or east towards Banner peak.

The next day was the trip down, going through Spooky Meadows. Any place called Spooky Meadows just can't be passed up. The trail towards Spooky Meadows is a gentle upward climb with views and scenery that just keeps getting better and better. Mono lake occasionally comes into view, you hike through bristle cone forests go along the delightful Sullivan Lake. Then starts the climb down, down, down. The trail is very steep,but if you take your time quite is manageable with stunning views. We loved every minute of the hike back down to Agnew Lake, but were happy to make the decision to hike down this trail and not up it. The hike up would have been brutal with a full pack. Spooky Meadow trail has become one of my favorites and I already wish I had spent more time hanging out and explore Spooky Meadows. One of the pleasant things about this trail is to have a typical Eastern Sierra stream running along the trail with wildflowers and the scents of wild oregano and sage waif up through the air. We did not encounter any other people on the Spooky Meadow trail. It is hard to get to, but should be on your list of trails to hike.

We encountered light rains in the afternoon, and clear star filled nights with very little wind. We probably had the clearest air of the summer and the smoke from the recent fires had all cleared out.

The initial climb overlooking Silver Lake to your left was very beautiful and rewarding. After some switchback, you'll get to Agnew Lake (2 mile), keep going another 0.9 mile and you'll reach Gem Lake (2.9 mile). Gem Lake was definitely more impressive than Agnew Lake, but I would suggest further continue to the west end of Gem Lake, which is even more picturesque and has an access to the serene beach (4.4 mile). It was a perfect lunch spot for us, and my husband enjoyed a dip and swim in this beautiful cold water before lunch. No single soul around us. Great thing is that from this corner of the lake, the man-made structure was out of site (both Agnew Lake and Gem Lake are reservoirs supplying water to LA).
We started the trail head at 10:30, reached Gem Lake at 12:30, then the western end at 1:00, ate lunch and relaxed for an hour at the lake and headed back down at 2:00 pm, returned to the trail head at a little after 4 pm. A beautiful rewarding day hike. Highly recommend.

It was definitely a good work out. There were some nice scenery but nothing that I felt captured by.

Getting to the lake seemed less intuitive towards the end (after the “lake Agnew access” sign), but keep going and there’s a bridge on the left.

Awsome views went to thousand island lake August 21st thru 24th off duty rangers asked us to move 40 feet from our original site so be careful when camping at thousand Island
Fishing was decent on one day off the next but overall great

This is one of the coolest trails. It has so much to it. Besides the amazing views. We passed several waterfalls. Went through Rock formations. Crossed over cable car Xing three times. Saw two dams. One for Agnew lake and the above dam for Gem lake. Once you get to Agnew lake crossing you can keep going straight to Gem lake or the PCT trail. Ruch Creek trail has its own parking lot. We had no problem finding a spot for our 31 foot RV.

nice

Steep climb up to Agnew Lake but great views of Silver Lake and the valley on the way up. FYI it's just under 1.5hrs up to Agnew with a few photo breaks

Great hike with incredible views the whole time. Jumped into the lake mid July and it was very refreshing! Decent incline for the whole way up

Get your permit for the trailhead and at the ranger office per wilderness area They do want to know your loosely projected itinerary, but you're not held to it. If you are starting on the east side, get one from an Inyo ranger station, even if you plan to cross into Yosemite. If starting in Tuolumne, get a Yosemite permit, etc. I did the Minaret Creek, Ediza, Garnet, Thousand Island loop from Silver Lake with side trips to Davis Lakes, Alger Lakes, Koip Peak, Lake Catherine, Nydiver. Phenomenal.

We did this as a backpacking trip on July 7, 2017 as a three day hike. We picked up permits at the USFS Mt Whitney ranger station - they have walk in permits reserved starting at 11am. The permit is for Rush Creek trail at Agnew lake specifically. Parked at the rush creek trail head at Silver Lake on the June Lake Loop. The first few miles are the most climbing of the trip if you go counter clockwise. We spent the night at Gem lake and took a nice dip in the water and spotted a bald eagle fishing right in front of us. It was great to be able to bring the dog. Bear canister required. (Or may counterbalance). Second day went around Gem lake, we actually turned up to Waugh lake which adds more mileage and climbing but we loved the view. Mosquitos and flies were CRAZY. Almost unbearable when walking by water- which you do a lot. Would recommend 100% deet and mosquito netting and sleeves. Full coverage. Spent night #2 at Thousand island lake and swam in the water. Last day went back PCT up to Clark lakes and swam there and refilled water. A little bit of a climb but great views. The way down rush creek trail towards Agnew was steep and rocky - difficult for the dogs pads. Stopped at the dam for refueling and finished the hike down with a stop in Silver lake to swim! A GREAT three day hike. Be prepared for bugs. Pack everything out :)

backpacking
4 months ago

This was an amazing trail, but a difficult one. Hubby and I were bringing in packs for an overnight stay, but even with day packs it would have been difficult. The first mile or so is straight uphill, with loose rock and a steep, steep incline. In the heat, I had a lot of difficulty getting up the trail.

That said, the payoff at the end is spectacular. It's worth spending the night (be prepared for the overnight chill!) if you can't leave early in the morning, or even just to spend the night. The lakeside camp area was closed when we arrived, so we set up camp down the trail a little way.

The lake is gorgeous, but mosquitoes clearly think so too, and they are abundant there, so be sure to bring bug spray for you and your pets (we were packing in with 5 dogs, and bug-sprayed the heck out of them). If you're planning on spending the night, be sure to stop at a ranger station and get a wilderness and fire permit. Camping without one in the national forest is not allowed.

A word of caution to the driver of whatever vehicle takes you to the trailhead - it's a rough road. If you can, take a car with decent ground clearance. If you can't, know that my little Hyundai Accent made it up, but we had to drive about 5 mph when the paving on the road vanished. Some of the washouts are pretty bad.

Parking at the trailhead is limited, but we were able to find a spot on a Sunday afternoon.

Overall this made for a great hike, and I highly recommend it :)

The climb was relentless but the views and scenery are worth it! Start early because you don’t want to be climbing up the first 2000’ in the hot sun with little shade. The mosquitoes were really bad this time of year, especially at Clark Lake! Really glad we did the loop instead of out and back. We took lots of breaks, took a dip in the cold water below Thousand Island Lake, and stopped to talk to lots of thru-hikers, so it took us 11 hours.

Started late morning and definitely felt the lack of shade while hiking the uphill switchbacks. Didn’t climb up the tram/cable car tracks - looked a little sketchy. Lake at the top isn’t the most beautiful alpine lake I’ve ever seen, but we saw lots of wildflowers and a few small waterfalls on the way up that made it worth it.

Solid hike with plenty going on around you. Had an afternoon to fill in (late June). Left from the start of trail behind RV park at 4pm which turned out to be great timing as the shadow of the mountain was starting to cover the track (30 degrees celsius.) Not much tree shade so take sun protection if you are doing this of a hot day.
2 waterfalls seen. Also family of deer closer to RV park!
Although tempting to ignore signs and walk up tracks for power station trolley I would advise against as some of the tracks pass on very narrow passes and I also noticed some squashed grass on tracks that looked way too consistent to be from peoples feet so I think that the trolley is still active. I have seen some people complain of the power station at the outlet of Agnew lake but I loved this section!
Continued until I could see the dam wall of Gem Lake then turned back at 5.45pm, I was only carrying a light pack. Allow more time if carrying camping gear.
Next time I would continue up to Gem lake and beyond if time allowed it.

backpacking
4 months ago

Gorgeous views and relentless climbing to reach the high Sierra backcountry, but absolutely worth the work. Parking is safe at the Rush Creek Trailhead near Silver Lake. Did this as a four day thru-hike to Tuolumne Meadows in June 2018, using the JMT/PCT over Donohue Pass. This was the most beautiful and committing backpack trip I've done, and is a must-do. Arrange for a ride back from T Meadows via YART, a private shuttle service or hitch a ride. This is a friendly area of California.

nature trips
4 months ago

Great hike. Not too hard for my 2 - 12 year old companions. Most of the trail was slag. The views around every corner was great. You pass a very ugly Agnew Lake. Keep going all the way to Gem Lake. It is worth the extra hiking

Great weekend trip to Yosemite Wilderness without the crowds.

Beautiful views. Loved it.

Pat Ribotto - I'm a little confused on the ANYO Permit request for overnighting on the Loop. Did you get permits for all the areas your traveled on this Loop or was just one needed that included all areas on the loop.

backpacking
5 months ago

I proposed to have this trail added to AllTrails because it's a great alternative to the Norris trailhead in the early season that still ends at the Jackass Lakes. Not having done Norris, I can't compare the difficulty. Early season meant a little snow on the ground, but only in the shady areas. Not on the trail.
Getting there - it takes about an hour and a half to drive back Beasore Road after you turn off from Bass Lake. The road is unpaved at times, but I don't have 4WD and it was not an issue. But if rain is in your forecast, call the ranger for a road report. Make sure you either load the route into your Google Maps app before you lose service, or keep an eye on mileage so you know when to expect the parking lot. There is a large trail head sign for Jackass Trail head - you just start guessing the meaning of life that far back a dirt road and if you missed it some how.
The trail - the elevation climb is no joke. We did it in 2 hours with our packs on which sounds like cake to the experienced. When you start out, you're pretty pumped to be heading out, so you tend to not let it phase you. Just keep a trekking pole handy. We met a dad and daughter at the lakes, she was 10 and it was her first over nighter. So take that for what it's worth. Trail has a lot of shade, but some open hot spots as well if the sun is out. Since we went up so early in the season, some of the trail was hard to follow - look for stacked rocks to keep you on track. You shouldn't have much of an issue. Props to the USFS for going out there and clearing the trail - lots of fallen trees over the winter.
The lakes - lower Jackass Lake is great. I won't even try to explain the views, too incredible for words. There were 2 other campers up there, so 3 total sites set up along the lake and that was a good capacity. There is an upper Jackass Lake, we hiked to it the next day. You can see it on the map here. It was still frozen over but totally stunning. Again - views on views. Hike will make your glutes talk.

backpacking
6 months ago

We stayed the night at Garnet lake VIA the JMT back in 2017. when we came up on Thousand Island and we knew we had to come back someday. We will be hiking back up from Silver lake this July. Can anyone tell us where is a good safe place to park for the trip? Thanks.

All I can say is wow! This Trail starts off at a nice gentle slope for about 1 mile, after that be prepared for some serious altitude gain. I did this hike in May 2018 and the mountains surrounding the trail were still covered in snow. there was a small river running across the trail which require waterproof boots and some careful footing. If you're looking for a real leg workout about halfway up you will come across a set of railroad tracks that were used for a pulley car to haul supplies up to the dam. You can take this track up to the dam but your legs better be in excellent shape. I measured a 37 degree incline.
I continued on to Gem Lake and it was worth the extra time and effort.

This trail leads up by Horsetail Falls which was an awesome sight to see! It crosses a smaller waterfall/stream so waterproof shoes would come in handy. The last ascent to Gem Lake is very steep with lots of loose rocks. It's kind of a gnarly hike to be rated moderate but I loved it! The views are amazing! Also, bring a hat as there is no shade!

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