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.

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
5 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
16 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
25 days 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
9 months ago

A spectacular and unique adventure.

hiking
9 months ago

Unearthly and a must visit Eastern Sierra spot.

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

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.

10 months ago

Just for the updated information, we went there today and the general store and water taxi business are closed. There is a sign said for sale. Sad. But we did walk the trail around lake which is absolutely stunning.

Easy trail to see unique features. Pretty around sunset.

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.

fishing
10 months ago

Awesome

just walked the dam... never seen so many 12" trout in one spot...

Interesting little trail quick to do. Try it during golden hour. Flat and friendly for all. Probably even handy cap accessible for an out and back of the first half if you have a good chair.

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.

Beautiful hike with amazing views. We started at Yost Lake/Fern Lake trailhead and returned at June Lake. About 2000 feet elevation gain to get there so be prepared. No one else on the trail but us.

hiking
11 months ago

It was a nice short walk with great views of Mono Lake and the Tufa. The sand sits in the heat of the sun all day so beware of that if taking a dog. There's not any shade.

walking
Tuesday, July 18, 2017

This is definitely an informative walk rather than a hike, but cool to see nonetheless.

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.

hiking
Monday, June 26, 2017

Big Elevation gain to the lake. Nice trail with great views of the surrounding mountains and almost no traffic. Lake had not a single hiker when I arrived. Waterfall and log bridge is awesome.

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