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

Awesome hike up to a gorgeous lake. It is steep uphill but downhill is a breeze!

Great hike....loved it but very steep, what a beautiful lake and a small stream on the back side of the lake! Lots of bugs and warm this time of year...

Incredible views with a stunning lake at the end, very worth the hike.

Great views! The trail was exactly what the description said.

GORGEOUS hike! Awesome bridge over the inlet to the lake and the most stunning views, though there was a small stream we crossed via downed logs (easy). Could have just waded through as the current wasn’t very strong and it was shallow, but didn’t want to get our socks wet! Very comfortable hike, only started sweating in the last half mile as the sun came out. Otherwise very well shaded. Definitely recommend to people of all abilities

10 days ago

If you are looking for a short scenic hike in the mammoth lakes area. This is a great choice. The views as you climb over the lakes are beautiful. Actually I feel the views on the way up are more impressive than Crystal Lake itself. It was about a 2 hour round trip for us and my girlfriend is not really a hiker. However it is a constant climb on the way to the lake. Like most hikes early morning is always the best time in the summer. No people and the light on the lake and mountains is amazing.

11 days ago

This place was perfect for us, the first day we backpacked to pika lake then crossed the stream that runs along the main trail to enter the apex of the 4 lakes in the valley. The second day we just explored the valley and would return to our site periodically for meals and lounging. This place is paradise, treat it gently!

Great hike today with the family and a hundred of our closest friends! (4 star rating is just because it was crowded). Trail is easy to follow (no more snow), and cutting the switchbacks is not necessary. The trail is well-graded, never flat but never to steep either. Lake is beautiful and the swim was perfect. Enjoy!

Fun hike to do with your family. Lots of families around the loop fishing and hanging out. Didn’t bring my dog but saw lots of dogs hanging out off leash.

19 days ago

Crystal Lake Trail is a moderately challenging hike with beautiful vistas and panoramic views of Lakes Mary and George below.

21 days ago

6-6-18 Started at 10:15 and made it to camp at 15:30. Great hike, I would not rate this hike as moderate, maybe up to Sherwin lakes, but not to Valentine lake (quite hard). Onto the review.

Start elevation 7725'. Lower half of trail (about 1 miles or so) is loamy dirt, the rest of the trail is dirt with lots and lots of granite rocks, some big some smaller loose rock perfect to roll your ankle on. Trail is mostly shaded with stretches of sunny areas so wear sunscreen. You will have a set of switch backs before Sherwin lakes, a little elevation loss and a flat section then it really ramps up to Valentine lake.

There is another set of switch backs before Valentine lake and a few straight shots up the hill. Trail ends at the exit side of lake (elevation 9670'), well that we could find. There is one small snow crossing at the top just before the lake. If you head to the right and carefully cross the creek and bushwack a bit there are some sweet camp sites.

The views are spectacular. Temps were in the mid 70's going up and dropping quickly when the wind picked up. It hit 32* at night. If you like fishing bring a pole, there are tons of brooke trout pan sized (we will fish next time).

PLEASE PACK OUT WHAT YOU TAKE IN!!!!! We carried out a ton of trash left behind. A great short backpacking trip.

You will need a permit to overnight at Valentine lake, you can reserve one online (Valentine lake JM02 entrance) or the day before you're camp trip at 11:00 at the mammoth visitors center.

I will be back again!

Surprised we had cell service the whole way!

22 days ago

Absolutely stunning view of the lakes.

23 days ago

I did this hike a few years back in the summer and it was amazing! Not a popular trail, so we pretty much have the entire place to ourselves.

No day use parking in camp ground.

Great mellow hike for the family and the dogs. Decent elevation but. Great views.

lots of fishing around the lake. very nice views, rolling trail around the lake

24 days ago

5 stars rating after sherwin lake.. the hike from sherwin to valentine was so much fun . Did this hike in April still had snow in the last quarter mile. Beautiful big lake. My dog loved it so much!

24 days ago

Fast easy hike.. saw too many people going off trail due to the snow (please don’t do that, it ruins the hike). Decided to turn around and wait for the snow to melt. Snow should be gone by July 4th

One of the prettiest alpine lakes with minimal effort to get there. Cool view of lake George and lake Mary from above. Watching climbers on crystal crag was an unexpected bonus.

Great day hike, took the Sherwin Lake trail, past Sherwin Lake, then to a small pond coming down from Valentine Lake, finally up to the actual Lake. There are two sets of switchbacks, early in the trail then on the top of the trail right before the lake. River coming down the lake is a great place to refuel water (we have a water filter pump). Just a little snow but not an issue. My GPS had us at 10.5 miles in and back with moderate altitude gain.

Amazing beautiful hike

Amazing hike, snow got us lost but when arrived to crystal lake the view was beautiful

Alpine lakes, shade, and a great view of the basin; what more do you need?

The trail does get unclear due to snow and runoff, but at now point is is dangerous or precarious. If you're unsure of the trail due to snow, or unclear demarcations then I'd suggest looking up hill a bit and seeing where the trail head continues and ladder up. You'll reconnect with the trail after 10-20 feet or so.


June 7, bridge at the back of the lake is out. Looks like a tree fell across it. you can still make it if you don't mind getting your feet wet.

Beautiful lake. The flooded area with aspens at the far side of the lake actually felt kind of magical to wade through on a sunny day. Easy walk with big scenery, would come back for sure.

Nice easy walk around convict lake. There was some flooded areas and crossing logs and rocks from high water inflow into the lake.

1 month ago

Did this one June 2nd. Great hike with awesome views at the lake, perfect for a lunch / mid point refuel. A little bit of snow on the trail towards the top, but no hazard at all. My GPS clocked this at 10.5 miles and 2,300 ft of gain

1 month ago

Trail is 98% passable now. Boots only touched snow a handful of times and those patches were very small and easily passable

Pretty views, though it seems to be busy on the w/e. Bridge zing the creek (SW end of the lake) is out, so you will get wet feet. Keep an eye out for golden eagles.

1 month ago

Did this 5/27-28/18 and there was snow along the last 1/4 mile. We got hit with a little rain and sleet once we got to Lost Lake, but kept going once it died down a little. The switchbacks at the top were not visible, so we followed the footsteps in the snow along the stream made by previous hikers, which also meant a higher grade climb. With our pack weight, we would sometimes posthole or slip on the icy snow. We saw groups of day hikers having trouble navigating through the snow, also. It would likely help to have shoe chains next time. Once at the top, you have to cross the stream to get to a few good camp spots. Go higher up away from the lake to find some clearings. We found a good spot to camp about 150 feet up, with views of the surrounding mountains and even the town of Mammoth in the distance. We couldn't travel far parallel to the lake due to marshy ground and large boulders. The lake was partially frozen on top. At night we heard a choir of what may have been the endangered yellow-legged mountain frogs, which was cool. We only saw one other backpacker camping at the lake, and not many people coming up on our way back down. Also had cell phone reception at the lake. We started at the Valentine Lake trailhead, which is east of the Sherwin Lake trailhead, and is approximately 4.5 miles each way. This was a relatively short hike, but strenuous at the top with the snow.

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