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

FIve of us did this as a backpacking trip over 3 nights on 7/2/18. Melissa K review is spot on. A few things to add
-Road to the trailhead is paved until 2 miles of dirt road. The rocks on the road made driving slower but not too difficult for a sedan.
-Mosquitoes may be few on the trail but near the lakes or staying overnight, they are LOTS. Be prepared with deet.
- This is not an easy hike and more difficult with a heavy backpack.
- The trail along the eastside side of Saddlebag seems really long but is much easier hiking than the rocky path on the west side of the lake.
-The trail shown behind Steelhead lake leads up the mountain to an abandoned mine. There isn't much of a trail, good luck finding the mine.
- Fishing is decent at Steelhead, Shamrock, and Helen lake. We didnt get a chance to fish Hummingbird or Odell but they looked great. Didnt catch anything over 12"' but saw some larger ones lurking, especially at Helen Lake.
- Couldnt find any suitable camping spots at Odell lake and only a few scattered sites at Hummingbird.
-HIghly recommend camping near Shamrock lakes and hiking the small mountain in the middle of the basin for sunrise. Spectacular views as the sun rises from up from Helen Lake

Flat but difficult hike, some parts a bit technical and scary with a pack. Views are well worth it! Great experience

hiking
6 days ago

Mountain scenery, flowers, lakes, a mine, and a ghost town: this hike has everything you need in a short hike.

11 days ago

Completed the hike 7/6 with my sister. This was not an easy hike!!

First, no water taxi - the resort is closed - didn’t see any repair work being done and I believe the place is for sale. You have to hike around saddlebag lake to get to the trailhead.

We did the trail counter clockwise. Yes, many of the sections are flat and there are a few kind of steep sections...but what makes it hard are the jutting rocks (very rocky trail!), the loose scree and talus and the snow crossings and the major amount of areas where the trail is not marked.

As of 7/6, there are two snowfields you need to cross. One is fairly easy and the other is quite steep...as we were going counterclockwise, we needed to climb up the steep snow. My sister had a very tough time with this and got stuck. She was clinging to the side of the snow on the steep hill. She made it but not without bruises and cuts (see pics)

After the 2 snow crossings, the rest of the trail was pretty easy but again, parts were very rocky. There is also a snow cave before reaching lake Helen, but you don’t cross it on the trail. Mosquitos were nearly non existent.

I want to reiterate that this trail is not well marked!!! We had the AllTrails pro with offline maps, which saved us from getting lost. Very few people were on this trail (only saw 3 groups of hikers during our hike). Do not do this hike without some sort of gps map! There are a lot of side trails as well, and you can and will get turned around!

I also wouldn’t bring a dog on this trail - too much loose scree and talus, especially near Lake Helen.

Yes, it’s beautiful and probably one of the most scenic hikes in the area but prepare for a tough, rocky hike. And those snow crossings aren’t going away anytime soon! (The steep one is easier going down so if you go clockwise, it might be easier, but after Lake Helen, you have a steep uphill field of talus to deal with. Pick your poison, I guess)

@nancy - thanks for the update on water taxi. Will be prepared to hike 9 miles then :).

Breathtaking scenery! Definitely a must-do. The climbing wasn’t difficult and the views are amazing around every corner. The mosquitoes were relentless this time of year so be prepared. This higher altitude of this hike helped us acclimate for a much longer hike the next day. We liked the longer trail on the east side of the lake better than the scree field on the west side because there was some shade, the trail was in good condition, and there were less mosquitoes.

hiking
17 days ago

Did this hike with my fiancé and his 71 yr old mom. All 3 of is loved it. Easy hike and extraordinary views. We made it to one lake and would’ve loved to keep going but had gotten started a little too late in the day so turned around. Mostly shady and follows a beautiful creek.

Best hike in the area. We used to take boat taxi. Sadly, the resort and docks suffered extreme damage from snow 2017. It is now for sale. No boat taxi and store closed. Just add on couple miles to the hike.

hiking
24 days ago

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.

hiking
1 month ago

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!

easy and amazing

I have a question. I’m planning to do this trail for Labor Day and taking my pet. Do they allow dogs in the taxi?

How hot would it be for Labor Day?

I have hiked this trail 5 or 6 times. The trail is fairly steep at times, and narrow in a few spots. The last time I did this hike was in 2014 with my wife and son. I was excited to show them the mine shaft and all the other mining equipment. I was disapointed when I saw that the shaft had been collapsed or collapsed on its own. It is still a gorgeous hike, and one I hope to take a few more times.

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.

Great hike with beautiful fall color near Lundy Lake. Historical remnants were interesting and added a desolate vibe to the area.

hiking
9 months ago

Great Eastern Sierra hike!

I'd give it 6 stars if I could. This is the kind of hike where you stop every 20 steps to take a photo. It's not difficult because the trail is pretty flat. We walked clockwise because I wanted to photograph North Peak and Mt. Conness in morning light and the best views of them are on the west half of the loop. The east side of Saddlebag Lake is much less rocky though and much easier to walk on for our pup. All in all, one of my favorite trails ever.

hiking
10 months ago

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.

on Virginia Lakes Trail

10 months ago

great trail!

Overall one of the best hikes we've ever done. Something new to see with every turn. Great views of Mount Conness, beautiful lakes, and snow-covered mountains. A few snow and river crossings in early September 2017. Minimal effort for maximum reward.

I did this hike aug 6 2017. It's a beautiful hike and the weather was great. Be prepared to get wet crossing some of the streams. There isn't a ferry by Saddlebag lake. This app was a big help with finding the trail.

backpacking
11 months ago

Spent 3 nights at Oneida Lake with a college roommate from 1973. Beautiful setting with excellent fishing for brook and raunbow trout. Explored the Lundy Mine, high above Oneida Lake. Come prepared for possible wind and wet trail.

hiking
Sunday, July 16, 2017

We hiked the Twenty Lakes Basin Loop two days ago. We appeared to be the first people to attempt this hike this year, because 75% of the trail is still covered in snow and there were no other tracks. The hike was incredibly beautiful, but you absolutely need GPS and a trail map because so much of the trail is buried. We used the AllTrails app to keep ourselves near the trail when it was covered. We brought snowshoes, but we did not need them. Bring plenty of water and sunscreen, because this hike is long and there is no shade. The boat is not running because Saddlebag Lake is still covered in ice, so plan on hiking from the parking lot. The first part of the hike (along Saddlebag Lake) is the toughest, because it is all loose shale or snow on a 30 degree slope. Once you get to the other side of Saddlebag Lake, the hike gets easier. We hiked back on the west side of Saddlebag Lake, which is much easier (and very different if you prefer loops to out and back trails), but also much longer. This hike was a challenge because of all of the snow, but it was amazing nonetheless.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

This is a beautiful hike!

hiking
Sunday, May 14, 2017

Nice boat ride/taxi across the lake.
Dog friendly.
Spring flowers in late Summer.
We are planning a return trip in 2017. Photos from 2009:
https://flickr.com/photos/29498007@N05/sets/72157622467067148

hiking
Sunday, March 19, 2017

This was a great hike for someone not used to high elevation. I live at 600 feet elevation and since this was pretty flat I had no trouble. And it's gorgeous!

hiking
Saturday, January 14, 2017

This trail was rewarding at the end, when you get to beautiful Oneida lake. But the trek up to the lake is very monotonous at times. The trail is an old service road that is no longer used, and is full of loose rock ; it's very easy to sprain an ankle. The elevation gain is pretty much constant the whole way up, with very little flat spots to give you a break from the climbing. On the way up there is an abandoned lumber mill which is fun to look at. It gets very windy up at Oneida lake so bring a windbreaker even if it is warm outside.

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.

hiking
Monday, September 19, 2016

"If you have just 1 day in the Lee Vining area, I highly recommend to go on this hike", - said one review I've read, and I most whole-heartedly agree.

The trail is very easy - it's almost level, so if you are feeling ok at high elevation, it will feel like a walk in a city park. The views, though, are so gorgeous, that no city part can match!

The loop is actually 8 miles, not 16, if you start from the Saddlebag Resort parking. And you can cut the trail in half by taking a ferry from there across the Saddlebag lake.

More photos of this incredible hike here: Twenty Lakes Basin (Lee Vining)
https://csgirllife.wordpress.com/2016/09/19/twenty-lakes-basin-lee-vining/

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Tough to find the trail in spots but gorgeous overall!

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Great trail.

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