Once the weather starts to warm up in Spring, I always start dreaming about where I want to hike during the summer. If you’re like me, and are itching to lace up your hiking boots, then I have a few suggestions of hikes to add to your summer bucket list.
The Duck Pass hike is about a 10 mile out and back hike. The hike follows Coldwater Creek and passes several beautiful alpine lakes, before reaching the pass and Duck Lake. This hike climbs about 2,000 ft in elevation from the trailhead to the pass, so be sure to spend a day or two acclimating if you’re coming from sea level before trying this hike, your lungs will thank you! To access this trail park at the southeast end of the Coldwater Campground near Lake Mary. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can continue past Duck Lake to Purple Lake. It is 4 miles from Duck Pass to Purple Lake, so be sure you have enough food and water before heading out. Dogs are allowed on leash on this trail.
Mammoth Crest Trail
The Mammoth Crest trail is an especially great hike to do if it’s your first time hiking in Mammoth. The trail offers panoramic views of the lakes and mountains in the area. Start from the north end of the Lake George parking lot. After about 4.5 miles you will reach the highest point of the crest and have gained about 1,500 ft. in elevation, this is a great spot to soak in the views and eat lunch. You can turnaround here or continue on to Deer Lakes. You can even loop this hike by continuing all the way to Duck Lake and back to the parking lot. Personally, I like it as an out and back to the highest point of the crest only. Dogs are allowed on this trail on leash.
Shadow Lake is an 8.5 mile out and back hike that features amazing canyon views and a waterfall. The hike starts at Agnew Meadows, so depending on the time of the year, you may need to take the Devil’s Postpile Shuttle to the trailhead. The shuttle bus is super easy to use, you can purchase your tickets at the Mammoth Mountain Adventure Center (near Main Lodge) and hop on the shuttle just across from the Adventure Center. Be sure to time your hike so that you are back to Agnew Meadows in time to hop on shuttle on the way back! At the beginning of this hike you descend down to the canyon floor before you start to climb next to the waterfall and then you are at Shadow Lake. Consider also bringing your fishing pole for this one, I’ve seen some large trout in this lake. Dogs are allowed on leash on this trail.
Technically this trail is just outside of Mammoth, but it’s still worth mentioning! Convict Lake is one of the prettiest lakes you can drive all the way to. Even if you don’t have time to hike, I still recommend driving up and snapping a few pictures of Convict Lake. There is a 2.6 mile loop trail around the lake. It is relatively flat the whole way. There is a boardwalk on the backside of the lake over the creek, and a word of caution here, depending on the year, sometimes the trail can be flooded as well in Spring. This is a great hike for families and anyone looking for a quick hike. Many people also like to fish here. Dogs are allowed on leash.