Best Hikes in California's Southeastern Sierra

Location: 170 miles south of Reno, NV and 230 miles northeast of Los Angeles, CA

Featured Hikes

Ediza Lake and the Minarets

Ediza Lake

Distance: 7.8 - 13.4 miles (Round Trip)

The jagged spires of the Minarets and two 14er's, Mount Ritter and Banner Peak, form the dramatic backdrop for Ediza Lake, one of the most stunning lakes in the Ritter Range. This hike visits this alpine jewel, passing beautiful Shadow Lake and a series of pretty waterfalls on Shadow Creek along the way.

The panorama from the viewpoint below Bishop Pass

Bishop Pass

Distance: 4.0 - 11.0 miles (Round Trip)

This excellent hike leads through a succession of beautiful lake basins to Bishop Pass (11,972-ft.), with spectacular views of Mount Agassiz, the Black Divide and Dusy Basin.

Midnight Lake

Sabrina Basin

Distance: 6.0 - 11.8 miles (Round Trip)

This is one of the best hikes in the Bishop area, visiting a series of beautiful lakes nestled in a dramatic basin of 13,000-ft. granite peaks.

North Peak dominates the skyline above beautiful Shamrock Lake

20 Lakes Basin

Distance: 4.9 - 9.1 miles (Loop)

The loop around the 20 Lakes Basin travels through breathtaking alpine scenery, visiting nine stunning lakes surrounded by dramatic peaks and ridges. The glorious scenery and relative ease of the trail make this a very popular hike.

Beautiful reflections of the peaks in Long Lake

Little Lakes Basin

Distance: 4.2 - 7.7 miles (Round Trip)

A wonderful hike visiting a series of scenic lakes nestled in a gorgeous valley surrounded by 13,000-ft peaks. Side trips lead to Morgan and Mono Passes along with a number of other lakes.

View of Kearsarge and Bull Frog lakes from the pass

Kearsarge Pass

Distance: 9.6 miles (Round Trip)

The scenic hike to Kearsarge Pass (11,823-ft.) travels by five shimmering lakes and features great views of the rugged crags and peaks along the east side of the Sierra Crest. From the pass breathtaking views encompass the Kearsarge Lakes, the Kearsarge Pinnacles and the Kings-Kern Divide.

View of Summit Lake and the peaks rising to the west.

Piute Pass

Distance: 7.0 - 9.6 miles (Round Trip)

This great hike to scenic Piute Pass ascends beneath the multi-hued Piute Crags to a beautiful lakes basin tucked beneath Mt. Emerson and Peak 12691. The trail is popular with day hikers and backpackers on multi-day trips to Humphreys Basin, Evolution Valley and beyond.

Great views along the trail up the McGee Creek valley

McGee Creek to Steelhead and Big McGee Lakes

Distance: 11.6 - 13.6 miles (Round Trip)

This long, interesting day hike traverses the beautiful McGee Creek Valley, traveling beneath colorful peaks to two great destinations, Steelhead Lake (10,350-ft.) and Big McGee Lake (10,600-ft.).

View to the south from the first Hoover Lake.

Hoover Lakes

Distance: 5.8 - 11.8 miles (Round Trip)

Multi-hued peaks form the backdrop of the Hoover Lakes, a pair of alpine jewels ringed by meadows and talus slopes. Along the way the trail traverses lovely meadows, climbs beside rushing streams and visits pretty Green Lake and beautiful East Lake.

First views from the east shore of Lower Lamarck Lake

Lamarck Lakes

Distance: 4.4 - 5.8 miles (Round Trip)

A short, steep hike to two scenic lakes cradled in granite bowls and surrounded by rugged cliffs and photogenic peaks.

Great views of the Ritter Range along the Mammoth Crest

Mammoth Crest

Distance: 4.4 - 13.2 miles (Loop)

This scenic trail climbs along the Mammoth Crest, with fabulous views of the Mammoth Lakes, the Ritter Range and Middle Fork San Joaquin Canyon. Beyond the Crest the trail drops to scenic Deer Lakes where a route leads to the Duck Pass Trail, creating a long, interesting loop hike.

Looking northwest from Burro Pass (11,100-ft.)

Virginia Lakes

Distance: 3.2 - 10.0 miles (Round Trip)

This great little hike visits five beautiful lakes framed by rugged peaks and then climbs to a scenic pass with panoramic views of the surrounding peaks. Extend the hike with a visit to Summit Lake cradled in a saddle along the Pacific Crest.

Shallow tarn, framed by Mt. Langley, on the way to Cottonwood Lake #3

Cottonwood Lakes

Distance: 11.6 - 12.4 miles (Round Trip)

This popular hike visits a series of scenic lakes set amid pretty meadows and framed by a wall of granite peaks and ridges, anchored by Mt Langley.

Bristlecone Pine along the Discovery Trail

Ancient Bristlecone Pine Trails at Schulman Grove

Distance: 1.0 - 4.2 miles (Loop)

Hike among some of the oldest trees in the world on two interesting trails that traverse the Ancient Bristlecone Pine forest at Schulman Grove, high atop of the White Mountains.

Looking south from Mono Pass (12,064-ft.)

Mono Pass

Distance: 7.0 - 8.5 miles (Round Trip)

This stiff climb to Mono Pass features fine views of the Little Lakes Basin, Ruby Lake, the Mono Recesses and Pioneer Basin.

Patriarch Tree in the Patriarch Grove

Ancient Bristlecone Pines at the Patriarch Grove

Distance: 0.3 - 0.8 miles (Round Trip)

Visit the world's largest Bristlecone Pine, the Patriarch Tree, in the Patriarch Grove high atop the White Mountains of Inyo National Forest. Two short, scenic trails traverse the grove visiting these amazing ancient trees.

Great views on the lakes basin on the climb to Duck Pass

Duck Pass

Distance: 7.2 miles (Round Trip)

This nice hike visits two scenic lakes and then climbs to a pass on the Pacific Crest with great views of the lakes basin. An overlook to the south of the pass provides panoramic views of Duck Lake and the Silver Divide.

Tamarack Lake

Tamarack Lakes

Distance: 9.6 miles (Round Trip)

The hike to Tamarack Lakes provides an opportunity to get off the beaten path in the popular Rock Creek drainage. The trail traverses a series of low ridges along the south side of a broad valley before climbing the East Fork of Rock Creek to a stark lakes basin in a rugged cirque.

Chicken Spring Lake

Cottonwood Pass & Chicken Spring Lake

Distance: 7.4 - 9.0 miles (Round Trip)

Fine views of Horseshoe Meadows and the Great Western Divide greet hikers at the top of Cottonwood Pass. Scenic Chicken Spring Lake is less than a mile beyond and makes for a nice day hike or first night destination for backpacking trips into Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park.

The first Treasure Lake

Treasure Lakes

Distance: 5.4 - 8.2 miles (Round Trip)

The Treasure Lakes trail travels to a beautiful, less visited granite lakes basin surrounded by talus slopes at the foot of Mount Thompson, Mount Goode and Hurd Peak.

View Hikes by Area:
Lee ViningMammoth LakesBishopLone PineBridgeport

The Region, the Hikes & the Base Camps

The southeastern Sierra Nevada Mountains, around the towns of Lee Vining, Mammoth Lakes, Bishop and Lone Pine, is a hiker’s paradise of rugged peaks, beautiful alpine lakes and gorgeous meadows.

Base Camp Information: Lee Vining / Mammoth Lakes / Bishop / Lone Pine / Bridgeport