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Header Image – Hike to Tj and Barret Lakes

The Hike to Tj and Barret Lakes lies just beneath the Mammoth Crest and Crystal Crag in the Mammoth Lakes Basin at 9,293 feet.

This hike takes about 30 – 60 minutes to reach Barret Lake depending on what type of shape you are in.  Then it is an easy 10 minutes on to TJ Lake.   You should consider this trial to be moderate in difficulty.

You will be gaining about 290 vertical in rising over the first .75 miles of the hike in or should we say up to Lake Barret. 

I have read many online reviews and post’s about this section.  For many people this is a challenge, you need to be in basic shape and take it easy.

This easy to moderate hike starts near the Lake George parking lot in the Mammoth Lakes Basin.

Take Lake Mary road to Pokonobe Lodge and turn left.

At the next junction just after the bridge turn right and your about 1/2 mile from the parking area.

The trailhead begins along the shores of Lake George as seen in the picture just above.  

You will find the trailhead at the back end of the parking lot, opposite the Crystal Lake trailhead.

This part of the trail lasts for about 1/2 mile and at one point your cross and nice wooden bridge.

Just after the bridge crossing you start the moderate part of this hike heading up 290 vertical feet in under a mile. 

This section of the trail is like walking up 3 – 4 flights of stairs, except these “stairs” are above 9000 feet, which brings the challenge of elevation.

Once up this steep section the rest of your hiking adventure is a bunch of easy hiking.  Barret Lake is the first lake you reach and offers up some nice beaches and easy access to fishing from the shore.

The trail quickly passes by Barret and offers you the option of heading to TJ Lake or Emerald Lake. Take the TJ route and you’re about .50 miles away from the lake just over a short rise uphill and then back down to the lake.

On the left side of the lake, you will see Crystal Crag, it tops out at an elevation of 10,403 feet. 

In front of you is the Mammoth Crest.

The Mammoth Crest is the lowest point along the Sierra Range for 100 miles to the north and the south.

Here are some Facts:

Fishing:  This lake has been well-stocked in the past, so there are fish here to catch.  Please practice catch and release at both TJ and Barret Lakes, stocking is rare these days and we would like to keep fish in the lake.  Fly fishing or Spin fishing will get you the best results in this lake’s environment.

Barret Lake’s some nice mountain beaches and they are located all around the lake.

TJ Lake has a couple of beaches on the left side of the lake, but only if the lake is not full.  The right side of the lake has a mix of rocky and forested shorelines.

A Trail Around the lake does not exist. 

Once you are at TJ Lake the trail will only take you as far as the back of the lake.  The trail seems to connect all the way around the lake but it does not. So please be cautious, because the backside of the lake is also home to some very marshy bogs-type fields that hold lots of mosquitoes.  Beware of getting eaten alive.

Wild Flowers: you will read about being able to find wildflowers at TJ lake.  You will find them on the left side of the lake near the back.  I posted a picture below of what they look like.  These flowers have a short season so do not be surprised if you cannot find them.

Please pack in your own food and water for the day.  We do not recommend you drink water out of the lakes or creeks in the area without a filter. 

Hot Tip: make sure you check the mammoth lakes basin weather forecast before heading out. During thunderstorm cycle’s make sure to bring a rain jacket.

TJ Lake in the Lakes Basin