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Laurel Lakes Trail, CA

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Guide 1 Triplog  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List CA > Sierra Nevada
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 10 miles
Trailhead Elevation 7,311 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 3.5 hours
Interest Perennial Creek
Backpack Yes
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Collective Slideshow
20  2013-10-12 slegal
11  2006-11-26 slegal
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Sep, Aug, Jun, Jul → Early
Seasons   Late Spring to Early Autumn
Sun  7:08am - 5:06pm
Route Scout App
Official Route
0 Alternative
Nearby Area Water
Valentine Lake Trail
Valentine Lake Trail
1.0 mi away
8.4 mi
2,300 ft
Sherwin Lakes
Sherwin Lakes
2.1 mi away
5.6 mi
836 ft
Convict Lake Loop Trail
Convict Lake Loop Trail
3.6 mi away
2.6 mi
257 ft
Heart Lake - Inyo NF
Heart Lake - Inyo NF
5.0 mi away
2.2 mi
440 ft
Consolidated Mine Trail
5.0 mi away
1.5 mi
550 ft
Duck Pass Trailhead to Duck Lake
Duck Pass Trailhead to Duck Lake
5.0 mi away
8.0 mi
1,700 ft
Pyramid Peak - Mammoth Lakes
Pyramid Peak - Mammoth Lakes
5.0 mi away
8.9 mi
2,862 ft
Sherwin Ridge - West
Sherwin Ridge - West
5.0 mi away
4.7 mi
1,055 ft
Barney Lake
5.1 mi away
6.5 mi
1,200 ft
Emerald Lake - Inyo NF
Emerald Lake - Inyo NF
5.1 mi away
2.0 mi
604 ft
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Fauna Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
I'll make it all of the way, eventually.
by slegal

Laurel Lakes is accessed by Laurel Lakes Road, an unmaintained dirt road that requires a high clearance vehicle. I’ve seen plenty of off road adventures on HAZ that are far more challenging than this road, but to me, this is a white knuckle drive and I currently have too low profile 4x4 to make it all of the way up the trail. So my most recent trip up the road was mostly a hike as I left my SUV behind just .97 miles in.

For the record, be forewarned if you do choose to hike this road that it is a fairly busy road with dirt bikes, ATVs and 4x4s frequently encountered and they will kick up quite a bit of dust that you will inhale during your hike. Nevertheless, you’ll see more hiking than you will driving or riding. You’ll also get a lot more exercise than everyone else.

The first mile and a half travels up the steep frontage that is easily recognized from Highway 395. This is a tough stretch that definitely requires a high clearance vehicle. On busy weekends you’ll often see several vehicles parked at the bottom of the hill with their occupants likely of foot somewhere up on the road above.

After reaching the top of the initially climb, the road flattens out for a while as it passes right next to Laurel Creek. During fishing season you’ll likely find lots of people fishing along the creek here. There are lots of aspens along this section as well.

After the flat section the road begins a long climb toward a pair of switchbacks. During this climb the road passes through a large landslide area which is a little unnerving to pass through. In one section it appears that the landslide has altered the path of the road. This section also has some pretty spectacular geology too.

After passing the switchbacks, the road begins its final steep ascent to Laurel Lakes. Here is where I give my disclaimer. I have not made it all the way to upper Laurel Lake. On my last trip up I made it to about six-tenths of a mile of the end of the road, but was turned back by deep snow. I can at least say that I was above lower Laurel Lake and Was able to shoot photos.

My GPS track log says that I traveled 8.7 miles. Add another 1.2 miles to upper Laurel Lake and the total trip is between 9.9 and 10 miles in length which is about on par with my hiking books.

    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Strictly 4x4

    To 4x4 trip
    From Mammoth Lakes take Old Mammoth Road south to Sherwin Creek Road and turn left. Sherwin Creek Road is mostly a dirt road. After about 3.9 miles on Sherwin Creek Road you'll reach a sign for the Laurel Lakes. Park here if hiking or turn right Laurel Lakes Road follow it all the way to upper Laurel Lake.
    page created by HAZ_Hikebot on Oct 14 2013 10:53 pm
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