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

backpacking
18 days ago

dont miss. gets hairy early and late season, but amazing... going back... maybe tomorrow

This is a rough hike up from Reds Meadow. Most of it hikes through burn area that has little to no shade, so bring water and take your time.

Nice 2.5 mile hike to rainbow falls from post pile.
Hawks in the trees. Some areas on the way look like Christmas tree farms. Pretty

Amazing hike with beautiful hot springs and pools. The topo map shows six pools but we found 10. Keep to the main trail on the north side of the mountain beyond the end of what is shown in this app and you will see small side trails leading off to the south and southeast that go to the pools. Do not try to bushwhack through the heavy grass and brush; although you can get there that way it is much more difficult and unnecessary. The “King’s pool” at the very top has a stunning view and is worth the extra work to get up the steep hill.
There are well established campsites along the end of the trail and most are fairly close to the pools.
As others have mentioned the hike is longer than reported, according to our Fitbit and apps we hiked 12 to 13 miles each way.

Short hike but very nice

backpacking
2 months ago

My wife and I did this trail as an overnight backpacking trip on 9/16/18. We were celebrating our one year wedding anniversary and we couldn’t have picked a more beautiful location.

Rather than doing this as an out-and-back, we decided to do it as a loop. We began on the High Trail (PCT) from the Agnew Meadows Trailhead toward Thousand Island Lake. At about the three mile mark you get a spectacular view of the Minarets, Mt. Ritter, and Banner Peak looming over Shadow Lake. Eventually, about eight miles in, you reach Thousand Island Lake. As you may have guessed, this lake is very unique because it has a ton of islands. The lake is at the base of Banner Peak, making this a very scenic location to set up camp. In the morning, we set off southbound on the JMT. Two miles later we reached Garnet Lake, which provided amazing views of Banner Peak and Mt. Ritter. We continued another four miles to Shadow Lake, with the last half mile paralleling a beautiful creek with numerous waterfalls. When you reach the east end of Shadow Lake, you can look back across the lake to the west for an awesome view of the Minarets and Mt. Ritter. Then it’s a steep, rocky descent through the gorge along the Shadow Creek Trail. When you reach the bottom, it’s an easy couple miles and a final uphill push back to the Agnew Meadows Trailhead.

I recorded my loop at 18.7 miles with 3,406 feet of elevation gain. It ended up being just a couple miles longer than the out-and-back to Thousand Island Lake, but with twice as many spectacular views. I couldn’t imagine missing out on everything we experienced on the back half! It was challenging, but well worth it.

Mid-September turned out to be a great time to go. It wasn’t very busy, the weather was great, there were no bugs, and the colors of autumn were starting to appear. It did get pretty cold at night, but it was a small price to pay given the other huge upsides.

Overall, this was my favorite hike so far and definitely the most scenic. I would highly recommend trying it!

You can download my recording if you decide to try the Thousand Island, Garnet, and Shadow Lakes Loop Trail instead of just the out-and-back trail to Thousand Island Lake. It will make navigating a lot easier!

Happy hiking!

This hike was amazing a must do hike you can’t find better scenery then Garnet and thousand island lake started at Agnew meadows at 6:30am finished at 2pm there wasn’t much traffic either highly recommend this hike

hiking
2 months ago

Simple trail to an underwhelming set of falls. Very pleasant out and back and certainly not crowded even given its proximity to Devil's Postpile.

hiking
2 months ago

I wanted to write a review to explain a few things about the hike to Minaret Lakes.

My buddy and I are in our early 50s. We're both sporting pot bellies but still in good shape. So, no, we're not 20 years old. The important thing to remember is that we live close to sea level in Southern California.

We made it to Mineret Lakes, but we certainly struggled. The main issue is that we overpacked for this trip. My pack was around 50 lbs. Originally, we were talking about staying for days. The plans changed after we arrived. The ranger station is 7560 feet and Minaret Lakes is 9800 feet in elevation. The major issue we had was that we weren't aclimated to the elevation. The last two miles of the hike has a lot of switchbacks. The last mile in particular had no shade so you're exposed to the sun. And, in our case, we suffered due to the high altitudes. I found that the air was very arid and I needed water fairly often.

So, we had the perfect trifecta of bad. We were not used to the high altittudes, we carried too much weight, and we weren't really in shape fthe way we needed to be for this trip. There was also a fire close by that ate into our oxgyn supply. We strugled but we did it! And to be fair, we did run into a guy who was 80 years old who was on the trail, but he had help carrying his gear.

What I learned from this trip would be to keep my backpack without water at around 20 pounds. You have to have a bear can, you can find light ones. I wouldn't even bring a stove if I were to do this again, and just rely on cold foods. We got on the trail at 9:00AM. i would start at 8:00AM. I didn't have poles, they certainly do help.

If you plan to spend a couple of days fishing then perhaps you should extend your stay. I found that this is a good overnight trip. Beause of this you can pack lighter. You also have to keep in mind that there isn't a lot of shade at Minerte Lakes. So, if you plan on staying a day it very well may be in broad sunlight.

If i were to fish the lakes I woiuld leave by 8:00AM and arrive before 3 and spend a few hours fishing. Wake up the next morning, take pictures (it's breathtaking first thing in the morning) fish for a few more hours and head back home. The fish are swelling at first light.

Mineret Lakes is stunnning. It's a gerat place for fishing, and photography. The trail up is wonderful as well. Plan on having lunch at Mineret Falls. This is reated as intermediate, which seems accurate. However, from the Devils Post Pile ranger station to the lakes the rangers tell me that it's 8 miles.

Overall, this is a great hike. I learned a lot about what not to do from t his hike and despite struggling I did love this hike! There are rental showers within close driving distance. We managed to hike down the mountain, used the bathrooms, showered, went out to dinner in Bishop and slept our own beds before midnight (O.C. area) all within the same day. We did this entire trip over a three day weekend. We also showed up at the ranger station on Friday and got our free passes instead of applying online. After Labor Day, it's easier to get the passes.

Excellent trail

This Lake hike was well worth it and the waterfall was a refreshing cool off.

Great challenging hike, finished today! Very hot and lots of mosquitoes.....however beautiful hike with a creek accessible much of the way for water after purifying of course. We started at rainbow falls and swam for a few hours before beginning our trek. The switchbacks are steep and challenging yet short lived.

We hiked the high trail to Thousand Island Lake then took the River trail back to the Agnew Meadows trail head. We were struck by the amazing beauty as we hiked for miles through blooming foliage and plenty of birds singing along the way. 10/10 would recommend.

hiking
4 months ago

WRONG PHOTOS Hikers beware, the photos uploaded by Tim are wrong (probably by accident). The large waterfall you see in his pictures is actually Rainbow waterfall, which starts from the same trailhead but goes in the opposite direction toward Devil's Postpile and Rainbow waterfall. I'm not sure if any of his pictures actually depict this hike.

FANTASTIC trail. Rating is accurate at difficult. Would recommend for backpackers to leave early in the morning because there are countless breathtaking panoramics of the Minarets and mountain range around each corner, so taking your time to stop and appreciate it was really something that I'm glad we did. The total hike time was over 6 hours, with a heavy backpack, and we actually had to camp about .5 mile from Thousand Island due to a late start, it getting dark, and being EXHAUSTED! Would have been much quicker without the backpack full and ready for a weekend of camping with a heavy tent. We passed a handful of people doing this trail as a day trail who were making great time if that's the route you're hoping to go. Again, would recommend to leave early even then! Luckily summer days are long and offer sunlight until late in the evening.
There is a parking lot at the trailhead with Agnew Meadows Campsite just up the road. You can also reach the trail head via shuttle ($9 round-trip) and walk a bit. I would recommend to drive your car down to save time and money. The line for the shuttle was long, the shuttle was crowded, and we were itching to get started much sooner than the shuttle allowed us to.
There is a bathroom at the trailhead. The High Trail via the PCT almost immediately starts at an incline, and then is primarily uphill for majority of the trail. There is a long, open (Sunny) stretch that is relatively flat, and about .5 mile that is slightly downhill, but that meant heading back uphill. Two sets of switchbacks. Both are a short distance, one near the beginning and the other almost at the end.
This was difficult but very rewarding. One of the prettiest trails with everything still in bloom. A lot of butterflies, and A LOT of mosquitos. Treat your clothes, take deet and a bug net. Even with deet and a bug net we were still eaten alive and spent most of our time in the tent. There was a bit of wind at the lake itself which meant relief from the mosquitos which was very welcome. Lots of fish jumping, and other travelers fishing!
Again, tough trail, but very worth it! Met a lot of nice PCTers. You definitely earn your views!

backpacking
4 months ago

FANTASTIC trail. Rating is accurate at difficult. Would recommend for backpackers to leave early in the morning because there are countless breathtaking panoramics of the Minarets and mountain range around each corner, so taking your time to stop and appreciate it was really something that I'm glad we did. The total hike time was over 6 hours, with a heavy backpack, and we actually had to camp about .5 mile from Thousand Island due to a late start, it getting dark, and being EXHAUSTED!
There is a parking lot at the trailhead with Agnew Meadows Campsite just up the road. You can also reach the trail head via shuttle ($9 round-trip) and walk a bit. I would recommend to drive your car down to save time and money. The line for the shuttle was long, the shuttle was crowded, and we were itching to get started much sooner than the shuttle allowed us to.
There is a bathroom at the trailhead. The High Trail via the PCT almost immediately starts at an incline, and then is primarily uphill for majority of the trail. There is a long, open (Sunny) stretch that is relatively flat, and about .5 mile that is slightly downhill, but that meant heading back uphill. Two sets of switchbacks. Both are a short distance, one near the beginning and the other almost at the end.
This was difficult but very rewarding. One of the prettiest trails with everything still in bloom. A lot of butterflies, and A LOT of mosquitos. Treat your clothes, take deet and a bug net. Even with deet and a bug net we were still eaten alive and spent most of our time in the tent. There was a bit of wind at the lake itself which meant relief from the mosquitos which was very welcome. Lots of fish jumping, and other travelers fishing!
Again, tough trail, but very worth it! Met a lot of nice PCTers. You definitely earn your views!

Just got done with this trip. Personally, I thought the hot springs were overrated while underreported in total distance and elevation gain. We clocked almost 25 miles from the Rainbow Falls trailhead to the first hot spring with an elevation gain of almost 4500 ft. The first 7 miles seemed to be all downhill and you know what that means going back. Watch-out for rattlesnakes. We had a close encounter with one who wasn’t very happy. Great challenging hike if that’s what you’re looking for. Nice views.

4 months ago

Nice trail, pretty easy with a great payoff — Postpile!

hiking
4 months ago

Beautiful lake, nice trail. Worth the extra side trek from Pacific Crest Trail. Near two shuttle stops. Very dry and dusty during summer.

Great hike. Worth noting that the Crater Creek Trail between the bridge crossing and the indicated river crossing is an unmaintained, unmarked trail. The area is passable, but requires some bushwhacking. Staying on the trail and using the bridge will add a quarter mile or so to the hike, but would be a better call for a person/group not interested in hiking through dense vegetation.

A note on one of the trail maps: do not take the Island Crossing, stay on the trail, there’s a bridge. I did a through hike from Duck pass to Iva Bell out through Fish creek.

Wonderful hike, amazing views, beautiful hot spring baths. Mosquitos. I’d totally go back, preferably with less mosquitos.

If you have time on your way to the Postpile, take an opportunity to see this fall. It’s a little way up the JMT and into the forest you go...lose your mind and find your soul. Cheers!

This hike was short and sweet. It was a beautiful hike .

Tried to go today instead of boarding and the main road was closed :(

Started at Lake Mary campground and walked to Mammoth Pass Trailhead. Hiked through patches of snow on the way up. Not much shade on the way down to Red's Meadow Resort. Trail on the map looked like it went to Red's Meadow Campground but takes you more towards the resort. Went via the pack trail down to Rainbow Falls and the Lower Falls. Hiked up to Devil's Postpile and back to Red's Meadow Campground (Closed). There was luckily water at the Red's Meadow Resort that we could fill up from because it was very hot.

Breathtaking spot!
Awesome hike!
Highly recommend !!

9 months ago

One of the most rewarding views ever!

hiking
Saturday, November 11, 2017

Snow the day before made for an beautiful mid-October day hike, @ 19 miles via River Trail.

hiking
Monday, November 06, 2017

One of the prettiest Alpine Lakes I've seen on the west coast. I went during the height of summer and expected a lot of traffic on the trail, because the town was packed however it was quiet and peaceful. I would recommend once getting near the lake to hike to a view point above the lake and take in a 360 view of the surrounding area. 6 hrs or so would be enough time for most people to hike and spend time by the lake swimming etc.

hiking
Thursday, October 19, 2017

Enjoyed every step of this hike yesterday! We were not in great shape, and we took our time. We stopped often for breaks and picture ops. We took the High Trail in to 1000 Island Lake, which was approx 9 miles to the lake. Then we returned on the River Trail which was a mile shorter. Very happy we chose this route. Going in on the High Trail gave us plenty of beautiful scenery. Coming out on the River Trail was mostly easy descending with beautiful Fall colors and views of the River flowing over the rocks. It was a total of 17.5 miles for us. We were tired, so we didn't venture around the lake too much. We got an early 7 am start and returned to our vehicle at 5 pm. We are sore the next day, it was long hike. But I would say it's worth It! I would absolutely recommend this hike. And I would recommend doing the directional loop as we did. Happy Hiking!

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