Explore the most popular nature trips 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.

We only did about 4 miles of the trail. Really cool waterfalls. Didn’t think it was hard at all.

Great hike! I live at sea level so As my first day at elevation I felt it a little on the way up. It’s beautiful and I will do this hike again. From what I understand you can hike another mile to an old mining town.

21 days ago

As of Oct. 21, in some spots, the Autumn colors were past their prime. In other spots, they were still in full glory. Gorgeous hike. Can’t wait to come back next year with my friends.

Did this hike for my 60th birthday. I’m in decent shape and did not think it was very hard at all. My husband is not in shape and he thought it was hard. So, we only went as far as the Upper Falls and not all the way up to the lake. But it was still a very satisfying hike. Go, and take your time with your slow-going friends because there’s plenty of beauty to drink in while you wait for them to catch their breath!

hiking
25 days ago

After a pretty grueling uphill for the first half of the hike, you will end up at a beautiful alpine meadow. My group took time to relax here before strolling up to the top of Tioga Peak. Once at the top you will find a registry and pretty views from all angles. Highly recommend for a physical but relaxing day hike!

hiking
25 days ago

Although the path itself is not very pretty, you will get an epic view of Mount Conness and North Peak. Highly recommend for a day long stroll. Bring supplies for a picnic and lots of sunscreen!

Very well maintained trail, breathtaking fall colors!

hiking
1 month ago

Pretty unique!

Nice pit stop. The tufa rocks were interesting to look at but the flies and smell was a little off putting. $3/person cash

Beautiful Terrain and crystal clear water. Loved every minute.

Beautiful! I was so stoked to be there I ran half way around the rim.

Gorgeous hike! Especially in the Fall. I was there today and noticed the rock slide cutting through the first part of the trail (I’ve hiked this before) but had no trouble at all keeping to the trail. No ribbons or cairns needed, IMO.
The first part is stupid easy. Almost anyone with working legs can do it. After getting to the rocky part, it does get slightly steep, but it is nowhere near “extremely difficult” (as others have rated it) provided you’re at least in decent shape. Past the Falls and the pond, keep going another mile or so until you get to the Cascades. Super beautiful.
Speaking of that, some hikers (myself included) completely missed the left turn across the logs (before the cascades) and assumed to the empty river bed to be the trail. Don’t be dopes like us. Lol. Right where the trail appears to go down into the empty river bed stop and look left. You’ll see two logs going across the river bed. Cross them and you’ll be back on the trail on the other side.

Great, fun hike! Pretty level throughout. Lots of rocks on the Western side, but the other side is a breeze! Will probably do it again sometime!

hiking
1 month ago

fantastic Trail, beautiful all the way around the rim. Great panoramic views of the lake. Two important words of caution. Number one be careful if you use Google Maps to navigate to the trailhead, it took us down a pretty narrow dirt road that scuffed sides of our vehicle, instead just watch for the signs pointing to the crater and take that road. Second, we didn't see any bugs at the trailhead so we full heartedly left our insect repellent behind, halfway through the hike at the best panoramic view of the lake we were besieged by flies.

hiking
1 month ago

RIM NOT RECOMMENDED FOR DOGS. We/I did the crater rim. Started with my three Whippets & my largest started limping & sitting a lot early on. Then we discovered that his paws had been cut by the obsidian on the trail, so the dogs returned to the car with my wife. The rim trail is very loose pea sand so its like walking on a beach. The views are amazing, this is one of the few places where you can see & photo all of Mono Lake. Best time to hike it is early morning when it is cool & few if any others are using the trail.

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful uncrowded hike in the Eastern Sierra. Fall colors are amazing here and the canyon was a mix of green, yellow, and some orange. The 1st part of the trail is back to normal and easy to follow. The last section of the trail to the lake is still extremely difficult and we turned around as it went nearly straight up a chute that is all loose shale. The waterfalls and aspens are worth the trek

we hiked all the way to the summit...totally worth it! We went with our 11 and 16 year olds. Very diverse trail. There are about 5 lakes on the way up. Mostly shade and moderate climbs. Loved it!

Great views.

hiking
2 months ago

Certainly one of the finest trails in the Eastern Sierras - I agree with all the positive reviews.

Now, about that rock slide. It is VERY confusing and hikers look like an ant colony trying to find the trail. Cairns lead nowhere. Note that the All Trails download gets it perfect, so download the map. Also, someone has attached streamers to trees that mark the route but they are red and white - and faded. If you want to help your fellow hikers, take along some orange surveyor's tape and hang them next to the red and white. Once past the ordeal, all is well with the world.

walking
2 months ago

Nice, relatively easy hike for all ages. Easy access for parking and the visitor center is great too.

hiking
2 months ago

Great trail, after the first part it’s not bad at all. Took me about 40 minutes to get to the lake.

walking
2 months ago

I walked this one mile totally flat loop in the second part of August. The sun was relentless; sun protection (sunscreen and hat) will help if you are spending a bit of time to visit the area (especially if you extend your stroll to Navy Beach).

The Tufa formations are very scenic and photogenic; the lake in the background and the Sierra Nevada on the horizon do not hurt either. This is a short detour (10 minute drive from 395 and anywhere betwen 30mn and a couple hours for the visit) from Lee Vining, or just from the Tioga Pass road if you go over the Sierras that way.

There was volunteer at the "beach" on that day showing us the single noticeable organism living in the very salty lake: the Brine Shrimp; hardly bigger than a horse hair...

The unusual / unique nature of the Tufa towers, the ease of access and the great photo opportunities make this a no-brainer to put on your list when nearby.

I love this hike. It's fairly easy with a few tougher spots. The scenery is spectacular. We did a one night backpacking trip and camped in between Steelhead Lake and Cascade Lake. The trail splits in a lot of places so it is easy to get confused. Make sure you have a map to refer to or are using the app to track.

hiking
2 months ago

This trail is best early in the morning so that shadows are cast between the inner and outer rings of the crater. You also get better visibility for Mono Lake. This is a fast, beautiful hike you should try to fit into any Mono Lake trip.

hiking
2 months ago

The first section of the trail has been wiped out by a rockslide. People have set up rock cairns to demarcate the trail, but it's still tough to follow. You should download the All Trails map since there's no phone reception and (attempting) to follow the trail can be frustrating. The last section of the trail has also been wiped out by a rockslide. I tried climbing up the shale to get to the alpine lake, but turned back once it got dangerous. Despite that, this was by far the pretties trail that I hiked in Mono Lake area.

fishing
2 months ago

I have hiked this trail twice in 2 weeks. The extremely strenuous uphill climb almost scared me away but I powered through and I’m so glad I did. The fishing was absolutely amazing! Using a fly set up with an Elk Hair Caddis I was able to land 18 Eastern Brook trout on my first trip and today I landed 47. Fishing was the best along the north western shore of middle gaylor and the south eastern shore of the one below the mine. I will be back multiple times before they close the pass

hiking
2 months ago

This is a great hike with spectacular views. Took our family of 4 about an hour to get to the trailhead from Mammoth.

As of 08/25, there is still a good amount of shale from a rockslide that cuts through the beginning portion of the hike. The path can be hard to see, so follow the cairns and ribbons attached to trees that rangers have set up.

This hike was perfect for me (25 yo male) but proved harder for my younger brother. There is a lot of uneven footing and you’ll need to cross a waterfall a couple of times by balancing on logs. Challenging, but very fun.

hiking
2 months ago

Well worth the detour from Yosemite. The tufa towers are quite impressive and the lake itself is pretty too.

Awesome trail. Some tough spots prior to getting to the pass. Well worth the effort.

hiking
2 months ago

Did this trail last week (8/14/18). Incredible scenery! The trail is washed out in the beginning due to a rock slide, but it’s easy enough to find your way to the remainder of the trail. I found this hike to be easy, but we only hiked up the canyon until we could not go any further due to a massive rock slide which prevents access to the lake. Still, we probably hiked around 4 miles round trip.

I would recommend this trail to anyone. You follow a Creek for much of the trail and pass a beaver bond, aspen groves, meadows, and many cascading waterfalls. Incredibly high concentration of beauty in this canyon. Will definitely be returning in the fall to see the Aspens change colors.

Lots of bird watching. Kid friendly

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