Explore the most popular nature trips 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 trail, originally planned to just go to Emerald Lake but continued on after, which was a great decision.

Took my new dog (somewhat senior) on her first hike here. Success! At least half of the trail had shade, and the trail went easy on her pads. Stepped aside pretty regularly for groups of mountain bikers when we were in the trees, but once we cut down to the beach on the east side of the lake, there was no traffic at all. Everyone we met was friendly, easy going, and happy to be in the mountains.

fishing
2 days ago

Great trail if you want to fish away from the crowds. Incredible views from the ridge above duck lake. A long day hike but gradual inclines make it doable. Bugs weren’t that bad but wear the juice for sure. Not much shade so dress accordingly and bring 3 liters of water or a way to sterilize the creek water.

7/16 Love this hike but only made it to the creek. The trail is washed out in many areas. Some hikers have left stacked rocks as markers but it can get confusing. Be prepared to traverse rocks and climb up and down large washed out sections. Lots of loose rocks. It took us double the time because of this. It makes the trail very difficult. Be prepared.

This is one of the most beautiful trails I’ve been on. It took us about 4 hours to reach Lake Ediza and 3 hours to get back . Don’t forget to carry a mosquito repellent .

Carry a rain jacket . Weather here can be unpredictable .

I would probably put this hike in the more difficult section of the Moderate rating. definitely not for beginners, lots of uphill. It is very worth the hike though as the lake and mountains behind it are an incredible sight.

Hands down, this was my favorite lake in the area. You can do a quick walk from Lake George or make a larger hike past a few lakes over to Emerald and catch the shuttle back. TJ offered the best views around.

Starting out from Coldwater Campground, we climbed along the stream for a few, and then the path leveled out. It was moderately busy, but it’s a very doable hike for all ages. Everyone warned us of the mosquitoes at the lake, but they weren’t too bad.

This trail was worth every minute of the 7 hours we spent on it! The views were phenomenal and nothing else compared to the beauty we saw here. The following day I went to Devil’s Postpile and Rainbow falls and found them to be less impressive because I went on this hike the day before. We took beautiful pictures at each of the stops we saw on the trail so if you plan on stopping to take in the sights, it will more than likely take you about 7 hours as well.

A word of warning, we went on 7/8/18 and the mosquitos were absolutely terrible even though we were using Off Deep Woods spray. Consider covering up more or using a bug repellent that’s more lotion based.

hiking
8 days ago

Such a fun, beautiful hike with the family. My 4 and 7-year-old kids did great! The slight uphill trek from the trailhead tired them out a little, but after picnicking by the lake and dipping their legs in the cold water, they perked up. A couple weird, tiny leech-like things attached themselves to our feet in the water—not sure what those were—but I found them and got them off quickly so no harm done.

backpacking
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!

Moderately strenuous hike with elevation all the way to the top, but then there are beautiful lakes and mountain views. Go in the morning and pack a lunch to share at the top by the lake.

Took my son on this trail for his first off pavement bike ride. He enjoyed it. Lots of flow and rhythm on downtown while uptown gets a little more tech. For beginners downtown will not disappoint. Some exposed roots and rocks, uptown would boost your skills. Connects to Paper Route and Shotgun about halfway down. Bring water. Be observant and let the advanced riders by please. Had a few people not yield to me and my son got a little frustrating.

on Heart Lake Trail

hiking
14 days ago

I don’t know why this is classified as easy - easy is something Grandma could do and this is most definitely NOT. It’s pretty steep - it’s all uphill until you get to the lake. The lake is pretty but there are better hikes in the area. But the views along the trail are amazing, the lake, IMO, is secondary

Trailhead was kind of confusing to find.You have to drive through a campground. There is a huge parking lot and you probably won’t have a hard time finding a place to park (hiked this over Fourth of July week and plenty of spaces). This is in the same parking lot as trailheads for the mine, duck and emerald lake. Go into the parking lot and go all the way around, almost to the exit - that’s where the heart lake trailhead is. Parking lot is a one way.

Hiked to Barrett Lake first. Barrett Lake was the highlight. The loop around Lake TJ... the trail disappeared in the marsh and I couldn’t find a path that wasn’t through water. Had to turn back and leave the way I came in. Disappointing.

hiking
15 days ago

We did this hike as a day hike (excluding the out and back section to Ediza lake) on June 18. We took the PCT out and the John Muir Trail back using the Shadow Creek trail to complete the loop as shown. Conditions were good and most of the snow is melted (though some small patches still exist). This is a beautiful hike and the John Muir Trail section is quite spectacular. It was a long hike, but very doable in a day if fit for that kind of distance. I would definitely do this hike again.

backpacking
16 days ago

Beautiful views along the string of lakes from the Coldwater Campgrounds at the base of Lake Mary. Great options for overnight permit camping at skeleton lake, Pika lake, duck lake or purple lake! The rocky Duck Pass is long and exposed so best to get here before the heat of midday. The view from the top looking back towards Lake Mary is gorgeous, but as soon as you cross the saddle and drop in to Duck Lake, wow. Totally worth it. Can be done as a day hike or add on for the overnight. Mosquitoes were viscious (typical at this time of year) so don't forget protective clothing or bug spray!

This is a really fun afternoon. we started at stop 6 for devil's postpile. Did the postpile then go up top of it and there's a trail entrance for rainbow falls. as someone else noted it is a sandy walk and can take it's toll. the falls are cool. go to lower falls the trail isn't bad and the river and small falls are great. Then back to stop 10. it ends up in the 5ish mile range. Tiring due to elevation and sandy trail, but totally worth it. Bring water and bug spray and a hat.

hiking
17 days ago

Amazing views and very beautiful hike. However, I would call it moderate, not easy. To me, easy is okay for older folks and kids. Easy to me is okay with regular shoes not hiking boots. Kids had a hard time and a few older folks in our group only made it half way. The switchbacks do not feel like easy. We took about 3 hours including breaks, photos.
Another note, the cold water creek campsite has multiple trail heads. We went to 2 others before finding the heart lake trailhead, but once we found it it was easy to tell and navigate.
All in all, I highly recommend this hike. Many people who passed us easily went up and down this trail, but keep in mind your group’s fitness level!

horseback riding
17 days ago

Very beautiful trail but had to turn back about a half-mile before reaching Sherwin Lake because it had too many boulders and my horse chipped her hoof and had difficulty finding footing. We turned back because it wasn’t worth risking an injury. 3 star rating for equestrian use.

hiking
18 days ago

Hiked 7/1/18.

Duck Lake Trail is a moderately challenging hike that leads to Arrowhead Lake, Emerald Lake, Skelton Lake, and Duck Lake. The trail is beautiful, quiet, and moderately shaded with several types of wildflowers along the way. Just don’t stand in one place too long, as the mosquitoes are out in full force. We were fully covered but wished we would’ve worn mosquito repellant.

Pretty easy hike. Awesome view. Get there early, coming down we must have past 30+ people.

backpacking
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!

hiking
22 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.

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

hiking
23 days ago

Hiked 6/25/18.

This is a gorgeous hike with amazing views of several lakes and mountain ranges. Great panoramic views start from around Skeleton Lake, but the walk is beautiful before this point. There are a few patches of snow covering the path as you climb towards the saddle just after Barney Lake but these are easily passable. This path is fairly well trafficked to Barney Lake with significantly fewer people after this point. Fairly exposed - bring sunscreen!

hiking
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!

We took the shuttle to stop 6, hiked to the bottom of the postpile (so unique!), then took the short loop to the top of the postpile (definitely a worthwhile perspective). We continued the trail to the aptly-named rainbow falls, and went an additional ~1/2 mi to the lower falls, where we found a lot of swimmers. On the way back, we hiked to shuttle stop 9, which shaved off a short distance. Fun and unique hike.

Duck Lake is one of the most beautiful alpine lakes we’ve ever seen, with bright blue water and surrounding glacier-covered peaks. The views along the way near Barney Lake are also phenomenal. There were a few patches of snow (which were easy to navigate) when we hiked on 6/23/18. Nice views on the stretch to Pika Lake; plan to go to Duck Pass next time.

The drive to get to the trailhead is really beautiful. Some lovely views along parts of the trail, especially on the way down, but the actual Sherwin Lakes paled in comparison to the many gorgeous lakes in Mammoth. This trail is relatively easy and goes by quick; it’s worthwhile to go about 5 mins past the lake to find a gorgeous redwood.

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