Here are 5 great hikes near Mammoth Lakes
Mildred Lake – The hike up to Mildred Lake may be tough for the first time hiker, but it is well worth it. The trail is fairly well defined and it is longer than a typical day hike (about 12 miles out and back).
The beginning of the hike starts at the north end of Convict Lake trail head and splits at the south end of the lake… about a mile from the parking lot. At the split, hikers can continue around the edge of Convict Lake or they can choose to the 5 mile uphill jaunt to Mildred Lake; add another mile to Dorthy Lake.
The hike shoots up through beautiful Convict Canyon and along Convict Creek. The canyon presents some amazing geological formations with different colors folded in the massive cliffs.
The hike will take you through red slate fields, across winter avalanche slides, through fields of aspen trees and even along some relatively exposed rock faces.
About halfway up the hike there is a creek crossing, which can be difficult for some and very challenging when the water melt is in full force. Most of the time the crossing is little more than hopping from larger rock to large rock. Convict Canyon Rock Formations
As you approach Mildred Lake the canyon opens up and exposes the beautiful backdrop of Red Slate Mountain and other surrounding peaks. After your hike, make sure to have dinner at Convict Lake Restaurant.
20 Lakes Basin (Saddlebag Lake) – The 20 lakes basin is a loop hike that starts and finishes at Saddlebag Lake, near the eastern entrance of Yosemite National Park. The more ambitious hikers will start at the Saddlebag Lake parking lot adding about 2 miles to the loop. For those looking for a more leisurely hike, take the ferry from the Saddlebag Lake Lake Resort to the back of the lake and begin the loop from that point.
The hike consists of many clear, shallow lakes surrounded by majestic granite peaks. The loop is 6-8 miles long depending if you start at the parking lot or if you take the ferry.
Sky Meadows – This is a fairly short hike that starts at the Coldwater Campground trail head. Many hike start from the Coldwater Campground trailhead, and yet so few people have heard of Sky Meadows.
The hike begins with a gradual uphill from the parking lot and then levels out for about a mile until you reach Emerald Lake. At the left side of Emerald Lake there is a small sign and a path less traveled that will take you around to the back of the lake. This trail will bring you up a stream with several small waterfall for about a mile or two.
At the top are several small meadows with granite peaks in the background. Hike up some of the granite bolder slide and you will find at the south end of the highest meadow and you will find a small hidden lake.
Humphreys Basin – This hike begins above the community of Aspendell, just west of Bishop, California. There is a parking lot and distinct starting point for the uphill climb through Piute Pass.
Humphreys BasinThe trial winds along a forested path and along granite walls until you reach the top of the pass. At the top of the pass the views of Humphreys Basin open up to a number of small lakes. Open grassy fields line the foreground while the background is draped with granite peaks and faces. This is a long day hike or a great backpacking trip for a couple of nights as there is a lot to explore within the basin.
Crystal Lake – The Crystal Lake hike is one of the more popular hikes within the town of Mammoth Lakes. Its only about 3 miles round trip and although fairly short the hike to the lake is uphill the entire way.
Most of the hike is in the trees, but you will see a number of amazing views as you gain elevation. At the top of the hike is Crystal Lake and Crystal Crag, a favorite peak for local climbers.The back of Crystal Lake is surrounded by the Mammoth Crest, a combination of granite slides, granite faces and volcanic dirt.
Here are some more activities to do in Mammoth when you aren’t skiing or snowboarding.