Hiking - Southern Eastern Sierra Hiking Report
April 24th, 2022 – Spring has sprung and hiking season is here and mostly snow-free for areas below the 8200-foot level. In areas in direct sunshine, the snow line is even higher now.
For those wondering about the high country, last week’s storm cycle brought 1-3 feet of snow with some decent water content above the 8500-foot level. Much more snow was recorded to our north so don’t be confused by those reports.
In the Mammoth Lakes Basin, there is still more snow than not, but the snowpack is as low as I have seen it in the last 7 years. You can walk into the area now but wear water prof boots or you’re going to have wet feet.
The next 10 -14 days look great for a hike on the trails listed below. Included videos for each hike from some Adventure Travelers we are partnering up with.
Convict Lake Trail Loop
This is a lovely trail that goes 2.5 miles around Convict Lake with just a few hundred feet of elevation gain. The views are amazing with Mt Morrison right at your feet. The trail and lake are at 7800 feet.
Convict Lake also has a very deep green/blue glow to it. During the afternoons it does get a bit breezy and that cools you off in the warm high altitude sunshine. Not a lot of shade here is it can get hot mid-day. Bring a Hat and lots of water.
The shoreline just off the trail is nice for a sit and be still session. The afternoon winds here lap the water for a good vibe.
Besides the Lake and Trail, you will find a campground, lodge, marina, and cabins in this area. The fishing is really good here with both the lake and creek being very productive mid-week.
Convict Lake and the Trail is a must-stop place at some point in your Eastern Sierra Adventures.
How to Get there: From Mammoth Lakes take 35 south to Convict Lake Road, which take about 10 mins. Turn right and it’s about 3 miles up to the Lake and the Parking Area. When you get to the lake take a left and you will see lots of parking.
The Mammoth Meadow is an amazing piece of undeveloped wet lands that are located right in Mammoth Lakes.
This is an amazing place to see the changing season from Summers Wild Flowers to the Fall Colors to Winters White and then the Melt out and change to green in the Spring
The Meadows offer up a maze of short trails that offer up views of Mammoth Mountains East Bowl, the Sherwin’s, Mammoth Creek and during the Summer wildflowers galore.
Do be bug beware out here as Mammoth Creek runs thru the meadows this is prime high country wet lands. Please no Bikes and Dogs must be on leash.
How to Get there: Park at the junction of Minaret Road and Meadow Lane. You can see the trail head right across the street, it sites on the edge of the Snow Creek Condo Project. Yes there is a sign marking the entrance.
Sherwin Lakes Trail
This is a great hike that’s just a short 5 to 10 min drive from Mammoth Lakes out the Sherwin Creek Road. The views are amazing and so is the shoreline along the lake.
This trail is a local favorite for early season hikes as it melts out early in the season. Besides being a local favorite during the Sumer months this is a high-use area.
The hike is an out-and-back adventure that is 4.4 miles long with an elevation gain of 882 feet.
This trail gets direct sun and melts out quickly in the spring. However, don’t be surprised to find the trailhead melted out with snow up at the lake and along the trail in shady spots.
During the high use Summer months, it does get very hot mid-day. Plan to go early or late in the day. Make sure you have bug replant and lots of water.
How to Get there: Head out Old Mammoth Road and take a right on Sherwin Creek Road. It will end up being a dirt road very quickly. Head out 2 miles and you will see the signs leading you to the trailhead.
Lower Rock Creek Trail
This is a fabulous area for a hike. Lower Rock Creek Canyon has three sections to hike. I like the upper two sections as they are more tree-lined with pines, and aspens with Rock Creek flowing right by the trail. All those trees make for some great shade.
The lower section is great as well, but the train is more high desert with a lot of direct sun and it gets hot. If you see it’s 80 in Bishop you know it will be warm, make sure to have a hat and sunscreen.
Do beware, this is a shared-use trail so you will encounter mountain bikes going up and down all 3 sections of the trail.
How to Get there: Lower Rock Creek Road is about 1 mile south of Toms Place off of HWY 395. There are 3 parking areas, the top lots, the middle lot at the bottom of Section 2, and the bottom by Paradise Lodge.
Crowley Lake Columns
This is an adventure to the Crowley Lake Columns. The formations are a part of the Long Valley Caldera and one of the world’s rare Super Volcanoes.
The hike in is mixed with a dirt road and then switches over to a short trail. If you have a high clearance 4×4 jeep you can drive all the way down to the single track.
The trail gets a bit steep as you drop down to the beach to see the columns. Once you’re on the beach you can cool off your feet in the water if you’re hot.
There is no shade in this area and it gets hot during the long days of the year. The best time to see visit is early in the day or late afternoon.
Also to Note: If the water level on Crowley Lake is high most of the columns will be underwater so take that into account before adventuring into this area.
There is no sun so mid-day it’s going to feel really hot especially in Summer when it can get 90 on this trail mid-day.
How to Get there: Take Owens Gorge Road north from 395 and just keep going for about 11 miles. Lots of twists and turns and you’ll cross over the dam. Before you get to a blank billboard (what’s that doing here) there is a dirt road on the left (a very sharp left).
You can hike from there (if you have a high clearance vehicle you can drive down that road for ways).
Mammoth Creek Road & Mammoth Creek Road Trail Loop
The Mammoth Creek Road takes you from Old Mammoth Road down to 395. The drive is all dirt road and is about 6 miles long. I like to drive down and then come back up 203 to avoid going back up the dirt road that can be washboard in sections.
There is also a trail loop that you can take just off the road, it makes for a 3 mile loop of easy hiking. Not many people in this area so you can really relax and enjoy a short hike.
How to Get there: Drive down old Mammoth Road towards old Mammoth. Right at the Old Mammoth Park you can turn left and take the first parking spot you find. This dirt road your on is Mammoth Creek Road.