Shuttle-Friendly Trailheads in the Mammoth Lakes Basin
Hiking By Bus
The Mammoth Lakes Basin is one of nature’s most spectacular playgrounds. Located only minutes from downtown Mammoth Lakes, the basin is a hiker’s wonderland of pine forests, jagged mountains, blooming wildflowers and crystal clear water. With over a dozen high alpine lakes and almost 100 miles of designated trails providing access to the John Muir Wilderness Area, and into the heart of the Sierra Nevada, the Mammoth Lakes Basin is a scenic gateway to the natural splendor of the Eastern Sierra.
Getting to the Lakes Basin is easy and taking the free Lakes Basin Trolley (Orange Line) from the Village at Mammoth relieves the burden of driving and parking. The shuttle service runs every half-hour and is complete with a bike trailer. Several trailheads throughout the basin are serviced by the trolley line. Two local favorites are the Panorama Dome Trail and the Duck Pass Trail.
Panorama Dome Trail
The Panorama Dome Trail offers incredible views of the town of Mammoth Lakes, the Long Valley Caldera and Crowley Lake. It's ideal for day hikes, evening hikes, family-friendly hikes and picnic hikes.
The wildlife-laden scenic trail begins directly across the road from Orange Line stop 94, with another trailhead located just up Lake Mary Road on the opposite side of the pedestrian tunnel. Upon reaching the opposite end of the trail, hikers have the option to continue on the 3.2-mile Mammoth Rock Trail, which traverses the lower flanks of the Sherwin Range while descending to the outskirts of town.
Length: 0.5 miles one way. Difficulty: Easy to moderate.
Amenities: Water and restrooms at the Tamarack Lodge near lower Twin Lake.
Duck Pass Trail
From the Duck Pass trailhead, hikers are able to explore several serene lakes nestled within a deeply carved glacial valley. Breathtaking views and inspirational scenery abound on this local’s choice hiking trail! Duck Pass Trail is ideal for day hikes, long distance hikes, overnight hikes (permit required), evening hikes, family-friendly hikes and fishing hikes.
Length: 1.2 miles one way to Arrowhead Lake; 5 miles one way over the pass to Duck Lake. Difficulty: Moderate to difficult.
Amenities: Water and restrooms located in the campground or at the parking area.
Shuttle Info: To reach the Duck Pass trailhead, take the Orange Line (Lakes Basin Trolley) to stop 99, which is located in the pines along the picturesque shoreline of Lake Mary. From here, hike uphill for 0.2-miles through the Coldwater Creek Campground to the parking area. The trailhead and interpretive signs are located at the uppermost corner of the lot. For an evening sunset hike, take the Pine City/Heart Lake trailhead located along the western corner of the parking area. This 1.5-mile out-and-back trail provides panoramic views of the Lakes Basin and majestic Mammoth Crest to the west.
Private shuttles may also be arranged in order to customize any hiking adventure around the Mammoth Lakes area. For a list of current shuttle service providers, click here.