Hikes in Inyo National Forest

Below is a collection of trails in Inyo National Forest. These hikes are listed from south to north, but the table may also be sorted alphabetically or by distance to help you select your next trek. Each trail links to its own report complete with photos, maps, directions, and all the other information needed to locate and enjoy these trails. You can also view hikes around Inyo National Forest on the Hike Finder Map.

Highlights of Inyo National Forest

  • This 7-mile round trip trail travels from Horseshoe Meadow to an 11,200-foot pass and a junction with the Pacific Crest Trail, with access to Golden Trout Wilderness and Sequoia National Park.
  • This scenic 10 to 15-mile round trip hike crosses a lake-filled basin in the John Muir Wilderness to access to New Army Pass, a 12,300-foot pass on the border of Sequoia National Park.
  • This 22-mile round trip trek travels past Cottonwood Lakes Trail over New Army Pass to a 14,042-foot summit with towering views of the Sierra.
  • This 8 to 9-mile day hike follows a secluded trail through mountain meadows to the South Fork Lakes and Cirque Lake.
  • This 12,900-foot summit in the John Muir and Golden Trout Wildernesses can be reached via off-trail ascents from New Army Pass, Cirque Lake, and Chicken Spring Lake.

Hiking Inyo National Forest

It is hard to discuss Inyo National Forest without loading up your backpack for a trek into the high sierra. This incredible region of California features staggering summits, epic glaciers, crystal clear lakes, and pristine pine forests. It is truly a hiker’s delight. Within the nearly 3,000 square miles of Inyo National Forest, there are several distinct federally protected wilderness areas, including Golden Trout Wilderness and John Muir Wilderness. Mount Whitney, the highest mountain in the lower 48, is located on the edge of Inyo National Forest, as well as several 13,000-foot and 14,000-foot peaks. Inyo National Forest borders Sequoia National Park and contains several trails that cross the bother into that breathtaking backcountry.

Many of the trails below begin from Horseshoe Meadow and continue north and west into wilderness areas extending into Sequoia National Park.

Trail
Description
Distance
Location
Minaret Falls258Minaret Falls
This out and back hike from Devils Postpile National Monument connects with Pacific Crest Trail to reach the base of a waterfall that tumbles and slides down a rocky slope.
3 miles
125 feet
37.6299,
-119.0847
Cottonwood Pas700Cottonwood Pass
This trail leaves Horseshoe Meadow for an 11,200-foot pass and a junction with the Pacific Crest Trail, with access to Golden Trout Wilderness and Sequoia National Park.
7 miles
1,200 feet
36.453638,
-118.21519
Chicken Spring Lake710Chicken Spring Lake
This hike continues past Cottonwood Pass to an alpine lake that makes a nice day hike destination or a good first camp for backpackers.
8.2 miles
1,330 feet
36.455588,
-118.226842
Old Cottonwood Creek Trail720Old Cottonwood Creek Trail
This hike follows a secluded trail through mountain meadows to the South Fork Lakes and Cirque Lake.
8 - 9 miles
1,150 feet
36.482197,
-118.212422
Cottonwood Lakes730Cottonwood Lakes
This scenic trail provides a day hike through a lake-filled basin and access to New Army Pass, a 12,300-foot pass on the border of Sequoia National Park.
10 - 15 miles
1,400 - 2,300 feet
36.486405,
-118.225265
Cirque Peak740Cirque Peak
This 12,900-foot summit can be reached via off-trail ascents from New Army Pass, Cirque Lake, and Chicken Spring Lake.
13 - 19 miles
2,900 feet
36.476732,
-118.237023
Lower Soldier Lake750Lower Soldier Lake in Sequoia National Park
This 19.2-mile loop crosses Cottonwood Pass and New Army Pass to visit a beautiful lake that is an ideal camping spot for backpackers heading higher and deeper into the sierra.
17.6 -20.8 miles
1,500 - 2,300 feet
36.503604,
-118.269331
Mount Langley760Mount Langley in Sequoia National Park
This trek travels past Cottonwood Lakes Trail over New Army Pass to a 14,042-foot summit with towering views of the Sierra.
22 miles
4,000 feet
36.524419,
-118.238826
Sky Blue Lake770Sky Blue Lake in Sequoia National Park
This hike extends beyond Lower Soldier Lake up Miter Basin to a deep blue lake surrounded by 14,000-foot peaks.
26 miles
2,300 feet
36.532788,
-118.273494
Primrose Lake780Primrose Lake in Sequoia National Park This trek visits a lake off the side of Miter Basin near Sky Blue Lake and below Mount Pickering.28 miles
2,300 feet
36.521144,
-118.276173
Mount Pickering790Mount Pickering in Sequoia National Park
This 13,485-foot summit rises above Sky Blue Lake to offer sweeping views of the sierra.
30 miles
3,500 feet
36.527133,
-118.290875
View Sierra Nevada trails and campgrounds in a larger map
Or explore hikes around Inyo National Forest on the Hike Finder Map
hikespeak
Devils Postpile Trail Devils Postpile Formation Hike Devils Postpile National Monument Mammoth Lakes Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains California
The main attraction in Devils Postpile National Monument is, of course, the Devils Postpile Formation, which has striking 60-foot tall cliffs of exposed columnar basalt. From the park's main trailhead, it is a 1-mile round trip hike to the base of Devils Postpile on a wheelchair-friendly route with 40 feet of elevation change. A second trail crosses the top of Devils... Read more.
    OK! Add to trails I’ve hiked
    OK! Add to trails I want to hike
Tagged with:
Distance: 1.35 miles – Elevation change: 215 feet
By: hikespeak Published: Last updated: August 27, 2015 Image:
Minaret Falls Hike Pacific Crest Trail Ansel Adams Wilderness Inyo National Forest Minaret Falls Trail Devils Postpile National Monument Waterfall Mammoth Lakes
Minaret Falls is a tumbling waterfall in the Eastern Sierra near Mammoth Lakes. The waterfall plunges a slope above Pacific Crest Trail in the Ansel Adams Wilderness of Inyo National Forest. Starting from the main trailhead in Devils Postpile National Monument, it's a 3-mile round trip hike to Minaret Falls (with the option to link this trail with hikes to Devils... Read more.
    OK! Add to trails I’ve hiked
    OK! Add to trails I want to hike
Tagged with: | |
Distance: 3 miles – Elevation change: 125 feet
By: hikespeak Published: Last updated: August 27, 2015 Image:
Devils Postpile National Monument Campground Mammoth Lakes California Camping Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains
Near the entrance of Devils Postpile National Monument, and just half a mile from the Postpile formation, visitors can stay at a 21-site campground along the Middle Fork San Joaquin River. With sites backing up against a pine-covered ridge, Devils Postpile provides a fine camping experience in the Eastern Sierra near Mammoth Lakes with ample day hiking... Read more.
Tagged with: |
By: hikespeak Published: Last updated: August 27, 2015 Image:
Kanawyer Loop Trail Kings Canyon National Park Road's End hike to Bailey Bridge Bubbs Creek Trail Cedar Grove Area
Kings Canyon is a rugged trench in the Sierra Nevada Mountains that is so remote it can only be accessed from one road. In such a landscape, where a pristine river slices down a canyon between sheer rock walls, you would not expect to find a long and level trail suitable for casual hikers, but that's exactly what you will find on Kanawyer Loop Trail. This easy 5-mile... Read more.
    OK! Add to trails I’ve hiked
    OK! Add to trails I want to hike
Tagged with: | |
Distance: 5 miles – Elevation change: 125 feet
By: hikespeak Published: Last updated: January 26, 2015 Image:
Grant Village to Grant Grove Trail General Grant Tree Trail Azalea Campground Hike
If you visit the Grant Grove Area of Kings Canyon National Park, you will probably want to stop by both the General Grant Tree in the Grant Grove and the visitor center in nearby Grant Village. You can drive between these two locations or connect them on foot with a trail that is one-mile one-way, passing through Azalea Campground to bridge the two busy areas. The trail... Read more.
    OK! Add to trails I’ve hiked
    OK! Add to trails I want to hike
Tagged with: | |
Distance: 2 miles – Elevation change: 250 feet
By: hikespeak Published: Last updated: January 26, 2015 Image: