» little lakes valley
With a heat wave hitting southern California and temperatures rising above 100 in the city we were staying, just 30 miles from the trailhead, we were a little worried that this hike would be miserably hot. It wasn't though, it was actually perfectly pleasant. My thermometer, which may have been warmed from being in my pocket, still maxed out at 74 degrees, 30 degrees cooler than in the town of Bishop, 5,000 feet of elevation away.

So, the heat wasn't so bad but the mosquitoes were. Below timberline you couldn't really stop to soak in the scenery without being swarmed by mosquitoes. This did not really detract much from the experience though. It's a beautiful area and there is just something fascinating about the way water cascades down mountainsides from melting snowfields, then trickles from lake to lake on it's way to lower ground. Some people claim that this is the result of some magical invisible force called "gravity".

Little Lakes Valley has the distinction of having the highest trailhead in the Eastern Sierras at 10,300' and also the most popular. We got to the trailhead at 8am on a Monday and saw a few other hikers that we quickly passed and then we did not see anyone else but a few fishermen on the rest of the way in. On the way back the trail was more crowded, but nothing too crazy.

If you want to know more about the trails in this area, I recommend this map: Mono Divide High Country Trail Map

Wildflowers along the trail.

Box Lake.

Me hiking through a creek and Megan hiking over one.

Rock Creek below Pyramid Peak and Bear Creek Spire.

Left: Bear Creek Spire above Rock Creek. Right: Long Lake Reflection.

Reflections on Gem Lakes.

Left: Indian Paintbrush. Right: Columbine (Taken by Megan).

Gem Lakes from above. I don't think it comes through too well in this picture but the water was a bright emerald green.

Melting snow. The pink color is from snow algae and the effect is sometimes referred to as watermelon snow.

Left: Nothing but rocks, snow, and lakes above timberline. On the left is Pyramid Peak and on the right is Bear Creek Spire. Right: Snow and ice on the edge of a small pool.

A different look at the same pool.

Looking down on Treasure Lakes.

Looking back at Little Lakes Valley from above Gem Lakes.

Gem Lakes.

Treasure Lakes again. There was a nice rumble of falling water in this area. Here you can barely see one waterfall coming down from the mountain on the left, and another on the right, between the upper and lower lakes.

Views from the trail.

Mount Abbot towering above Long Lake.


» lone pine

Mount Whitney as seen from the Whitney Portal Road in Alabama Hills, just outside of Lone Pine, California. Whitney is the tallest mountain in the contiguous United States and rises over 10,000 feet above the Owens Valley, where this picture was taken from.

Lone Pine Peak, right next to Whitney.

» highway 395
The foreground of these pictures are blurred because they were taken from a speeding car.






< Back to Photos & Trip Reports

» all photo reports from the eastern sierra
Duck Lake, California
July 2018
A quick hike in the Sierras, near Mammoth Lakes.
Lake Tahoe, California
August 17 - 19, 2012
Hiking Maggies Peaks near Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe.
Around California
August 11 - 26, 2012
From San Diego to Yosemite to Lake Tahoe.
Mono Lake, California
August 5, 2010
Checking out the south side of Mono Lake.
Thousand Island Lake, California
September 3, 2006
Hiking to Thousand Island and Garnet Lakes in the Ansel Adams Wilderness, starting from Agnew Meadows.
Eastern Sierra, California
July 24, 2006
Hiking to Treasure Lakes in the Little Lakes Valley near Bishop/Mammoth Lakes, and driving south along the Eastern Sierra.
Mammoth Mountain, California
March 21 - 23, 2006
Skiing Mammoth Mountain and driving Highway 395 back to San Diego.
Lake Tahoe, Nevada/California
January 24 - 29, 2006
Skiing some of the resorts around Lake Tahoe (Heavenly, Squaw Valley, Diamond Peak).
Yosemite, California
July 2018
A day in Yosemite, mostly the high country.
Tenaya Canyon, California
August 16, 2012
Hiking from Tenaya Lake to the top of Pywiack Cascade in Yosemite National Park.
Yosemite, California
August 5, 2010
Passing through Yosemite and enjoying some sights along the way.
Little Lakes Valley, California
August 4, 2010
Hiking through Little Lakes Valley in the Eastern Sierra.
Mount Agassiz, California
September 2, 2006
Hiking to the summit of Mount Agassiz in the Bishop Creek area, starting from the South Lake trailhead.
Yosemite, California
July 23, 2006
Checking out Yosemite Valley, Glacier Point, Tuolumne Meadows, and driving over Tioga Pass.
Yosemite, California
March 18 - 20, 2006
Camping in Yosemite, skiing to Glacier Point, and exploring the valley.