Hiking Just Outside of Mammoth Lakes

Oct 15, 2020

Mammoth Lakes is surrounded by two million acres of Inyo National Forest with dozens of hiking trails. Trailheads just outside of Mammoth Lakes offer even more opportunities to explore the mountains, lakes, creeks and forest of the Eastern Sierra.

These areas are accessible by car or by one of the Mammoth Lakes taxi or shuttle services. Stop by the Mammoth Lakes Welcome Center to pick up a map of these areas for hiking just outside of Mammoth Lakes.

Trailheads Just Outside of Mammoth Lakes

Stop by the Mammoth Lakes Welcome Center to purchase maps of these hiking areas just outside of Mammoth Lakes.

Hiking from Sherwin Creek

In spring and early summer, hike past meadows of wildflowers and through groves of aspen and Jeffrey pine for a beautiful climb beneath the peaks of the Sherwin Range. Take in views of the town of Mammoth Lakes when you reach the Sherwin Lakes. For a more challenging hike, head toward Valentine Lake and the John Muir Wilderness. Along the way, you’ll find sweeping views of Mammoth Creek and environs.

From this area, you can access Sherwin Lakes TrailValentine Lake Trail and Mammoth Rock Trail.

Hiking in Convict Canyon

Enjoy hiking an easy, scenic trail around Convict Lake. Or venture further on a more strenuous trail along the base of Laurel Mountain’s Sevehah Cliff. Pass Mildred Lake, before continuing upward to Lake Dorothy, Lake Genevieve and Edith Lake.

From this area, you can access Convict Lake Loop trail, Convict Creek Trail and Laurel Lakes – Edith Lake Trail.

Hiking in McGee Creek Canyon

Hike out to Steelhead Lake, which is surrounded by granite peaks. Continue through the valley, following signs for McGee Pass, past mountain hemlocks until you reach Big McGee Lake. From the shore,  you’ll have the perfect vantage point to view the Red and White mountains. Alternatively, hike along the creek, which is especially beautiful in the fall. Ambitious hikers can continue on to the McGee Pass crest at 11,895 ft. and then descend into the Mammoth Lakes Basin past Purple and Duck Lakes.

From this area, you can access McGee Pass Trail.

Hiking in Rock Creek Canyon

The scenic trails in Rock Creek Canyon are popular among hikers and fishermen. The trails themselves are moderate for the most part, but take elevation into consideration—most of the trails are above 10,000 ft. Traverse Little Lakes Valley (also called Mosquito Flats), passing multiple lakes along the way to Morgan Pass. Or head hike through a forest of whitebark and lodgepole pines on the way to Hilton and Davis Lakes.

Hiking off the June Lake Loop

Trails along the June Lake Loop lead to a number of scenic lakes, which draw fishermen, photographers and hikers alike. For an easy, family-friendly hike, head to Parker Lake. After a short climb, walk along Parker Creek to the lake, with views Mono Lake and the Mono Craters on the return. Or try the wildflower-lined trail to Fern Lake, which trail promises stunning views of Silver, Gull, and June Lakes. To get your feet wet on an intro to backcountry hiking, follow Rush Creek to Gem and Agnew Lakes, stopping at Horsetail Falls. In the alpine meadows, you’ll come across wildflower and enjoy views of Banner and Ritter Mountains.

Hiking off Tioga Pass Near Yosemite National Park

NOTE: Tioga Pass is closed during winter months (typically November-June).

From the Warren Fork Trailhead, you’ll enter the Hoover Wilderness and walk along Warren Creek with Tioga and Lee Vinings Peaks rising up on either side of the trail. From Saddlebag Lake, you can explore the 20 Lakes Basin. Take the trail around the lake or use the water taxi to reach the far side of the lake to connect to other trails. A hike beginning at Glacier Canyon Trailhead offers views of the glacial Mount Dana and Dana Lake before crossing through a meadow to Tioga Canyon.

Getting To Trails Just Outside of Mammoth Lakes

Hiking just outside of Mammoth Lakes requires access to a car or use of a local shuttle or taxi service

Accessing Hikes South of Mammoth Lakes

To access the Sherwin Creek area, take Old Mammoth Road, and turn onto Sherwin Creek Road, which is a dirt road. Drive two miles, until you see a sign to turn toward the trailhead.

Convict Canyon, McGee Creek Canyon and Rock Creek Canyon areas are both located off Hwy. 395. From Mammoth Lakes, take the highway south. Turn right onto Convict Lake Road for access to Convict Canyon trails, or continue until you see McGee Creek Road turnoff for access to McGee Creek trails.

To get to Rock Creek Canyon, follow signs for Tom’s Place onto Rock Creek Road. Continue past Rock Creek Lake until you see the Hilton Creek Lakes Trailhead and the Little Lakes Trailhead a bit further up the road. If you turn right onto Rock Creek Campground road, you can also access the Tamarack Trailhead.

Accessing Hikes North of Mammoth Lakes

The June Lake Loop and Tioga Pass are both north of Mammoth Lakes. From town, take Hwy. 395 N. Take the CA-158 S turnoff for the June Lake Loop or stay on 395 N until you see signs for Tioga Pass (CA-120) toward Yosemite National Park.