Explore the most popular mountain biking 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.

Lots of bird watching. Kid friendly

Simply fantastic! One of the best all around bang for your buck hikes I’ve ever done. Very enjoyable walk (fit hikers won’t get their heart rate up even once on this) with nonstop views that change around every corner. Did this on a Friday and saw very few people. Wear sunblock, there is not much shade.

This is without a doubt one of the most beautiful hikes in the eastern Sierras where you are treated with spectacular views at every turn. The alpine lakes and mountain views are breathtaking. The trail can be difficult and hard to find at times due to the fact that you are often walking over shale rock. I would not rate this trail as moderate for the average hiker but it is so well worth it!

walking
7 days ago

Pay at the parking lot. Dirt road driving in but regular car ok. Dogs allowed in on leash. No muzzle needed. Dogs are allowed here and Navy Beach on this dude. Technically they can step in the water but I wouldn't recommend it as they might drink the water which is hella salty. Beautiful formations. Nice stroll out to the formations. Lots of sea bugs.

One of my favorite hikes of all time! The name "twenty lakes basin" definitely does it justice as there's at least one lake in sight for most of the hike. I personally did more of a figure 8, going around both sides of saddlebag lake, which I'd recommend to make it even more interesting. If you are used to hiking and living at a high altitude, I would still classify this as easy, but maybe moderate if you're used to sea level. My coworker called it "probably the flattest longer hike in the Eastern Sierra". There was still a bit of snow on the trail as of mid July which made it a little tricky to follow but never too bad. As a bonus, it's just outside of Yosemite, so you get the beauty without the crowds or the entrance fee. Loved it!

hiking
18 days ago

Simply spectacular. We used the trail on the far side of Saddlebag lake from what's shown on the map and I think it's got more interesting terrain and flora and is less exposed. Recommend walking the lake loop clockwise from the top of Saddlebag–the second half of the trail has some sections that were still covered in snow in mid July that were much easier to navigate from that direction than the reverse, as well as some climbs up scree that I would not have enjoyed going the opposite way. This trail wouldn't be particularly challenging at lower elevation, but as it's between 10 and 11,000, you may feel any climbs and be a bit worked over by the end if you're not acclimated.

An epic hike! Completed this with two great friends who were kind enough to invite me to join them for a weekend of day hiking. We hiked the Shadow and Ediza Lakes Trail the day before and I'd thought that that was the most scenic hike I'd completed to date. Then we did this hike... and it took #1 for scenery on my list. Both hikes are fantastic. Now I just keep imagining myself living in a small cottage located in any of the alpine meadows we hiked through on the Twenty Lakes Basin Trail. I could live like a Pika (which we were happy to have seen many of along the way).

We hiked this counterclockwise from the parking area for Saddlebag Lake. Confirming what others have pointed out, there are sections of the trail that can be rough on the feet and ankles due to scree (aka shattered stone). The section of trail approaching Shamrock Lake from Lake Helen is where cairns proved to be very helpful as they were the means to determine the direction of travel over the solid stone surface.

19 days ago

Really 4+ Fun “recovery” hike. Lakes, flowers (for August), few people, and a ghost town. Make sure to visit the Shell Lake above the mines.

This hike is as good as it gets. There's nothing more you can ask, just an absolutely amazing experience. I disagree with people that call this hike easy, the terrain is very challenging for a lot of the hike and hard to follow at times. Bring flip flops or waterproof shoes, you will get wet!

Beautiful and easy. Watch for crazy thunderstorms

Easy enough. Well marked with exception of a portion past steelhead if you’re going clockwise. But, there’s cairns to help you out if you look. Thunderstorms come in really fast so be aware. But all in all great trail. My 8 and 11 year old completed the whole trail with me.

I don’t want to tell anyone about this place because it was so beautiful!!! Hiked counter clockwise. Lots of rocks and unstable smaller rocks on the 7-10 o’clock side. But an absolute stunner of California!!

It’s a great hike. The views are incredible and panoramic of the lake loop. The log over the waterfall is no joke. I got dizzy looking at it. If you fear heights you should pass. If a 9 inch log over a waterfall 100s of ft up doesn’t scare you, do it! I’m glad I did it.

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
1 month ago

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

1 month 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
1 month 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
1 month ago

Pretty straight forward hike down towards the water's edge to look at the tufa towers. Flies are everywhere, but they stay low and don't bother people. If you are going to make one quick stop at Mono Lake, this is probably it.

Half of the trail was snowed out and had to trek through it which was I wasn’t expecting. Trail was not clearly marked because of it. Would have enjoyed this trail a lot more probably in a couple of months. The views were pretty though. Was really looking for the Twenty Lakes trail which was supposed to be off of this one but because trail wasn’t marked clearly just ended up finishing this trail instead.

very pretty but not for those who are out of shape. I would consider this hike to be steep. also there is a really narrow log bridge over a steep roaring Creek. not for those who are scared of falling. I believe fern lake is more beautiful. turn right and go to fern lake for better views and a short hike.

It is a nice short walk to see tufa and mono lake. very unique. even it is very short, but if you want to be there for a while and take pics, do not forget bring water.

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?

Beautiful hike. About 2” of snow on most of the trail after the log crossing as you pass the Fern Lake trail.

hiking
10 months ago

A spectacular and unique adventure.

hiking
10 months ago

Unearthly and a must visit Eastern Sierra spot.

hiking
10 months ago

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
11 months ago

Did the hike around the lake this past September. Very easy trail as it really gains nor loses any elevation at all. We went counterclockwise. Great views to the west at North Peak and Mt. Conness when you're on the eastern shoreline. A good starting point to do some hiking beyond into the back country too. On the walk back on the west shore you can see Mt. Dana in the distance. Great little day hike with awesome views all around.

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