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This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

McLeod Lake Trail, CA

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Guide 3 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List CA > Sierra Nevada
3 of 5 by 2
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Lasso-Loop 1.8 miles
Trailhead Elevation 9,011 feet
Elevation Gain 408 feet
Accumulated Gain 408 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 2 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 3.84
Backpack Yes
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
13  2016-07-20
Horseshoe Lake & McLead Lake
6  2016-07-20 chumley
11  2013-07-20 slegal
8  2013-07-16 slegal
4  2009-09-07 slegal
Author slegal
author avatar Guides 74
Routes 101
Photos 2,962
Trips 56 map ( 351 miles )
Age 57 Male Gender
Location Thousand Oaks, CA
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Aug, Jul, Sep, Jun → Any
Seasons   Late Spring to Early Autumn
Sun  5:44am - 5:53pm
Official Route
1 Alternative
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby

Likely In-Season!
McLeod Lake is one of many lakes located in the Mammoth Lakes basin. It is the western most of the basin lakes. Beyond McLeod Lake to the west is Mammoth Pass, and almost 2,000 feet below Mammoth Pass is Devil's Postpile National Monument. This is another one of those hikes that I consider when I want to hike, but I'm either short on energy or time.

The trailhead to McLeod Lake is at the Horseshoe Lake parking lot. Like the Horseshoe Lake trail, the McLeod Lake trail passes an area of carbon dioxide out gassing. The entire forest at the trailhead died in the 1990's. After a series of earthquakes caused by movement of magna below the surface, carbon dioxide came to the surface and killed all of the trees. You might ask, don't trees use carbon dioxide to photo synthesize? Yes, but the trees died at their roots. It's a stark image, but smaller trees are coming in. The question is, will the new trees survive once their roots grow deeper?

It doesn't take long for the trail to find its way into living trees. It's a pretty trail from then on, all the way to McLeod Lake. The trail is a long gradual uphill all the way to the lake.

Although there is no actual maintained trail all of the way around McLeod Lake, it isn't difficult to find your way all the way around the lake. Lots of people make their way all of the way around the lake, so there are well worn trails. In places you'll have to do some rock hopping, but nothing too difficult. I highly recommend making the loop all the way around the lake.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2011-03-13 slegal
    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.

    Most recent Triplog Reviews
    McLeod Lake Trail
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Another short hike in our exploration of the Mammoth Lakes area. This one featured a moderate climb which weeded out all the tourists and resulted in a serene and peaceful spot.

    I had considered making a loop with the rim trail, to get a little bit more acclimated to climbing at elevation, add a few miles, and to get a great view of Mammoth Lakes from above, but despite the trail being marked on the map, there was no sign of it on the ground. The trail system here is extremely well signed, so it was odd that this trail doesn't exist. But we went a ways down the trail to Upper Crater Meadow in search of it and came up empty.

    In the end, it just made it so that our trip to MBC would begin sooner! :y:
    McLeod Lake Trail
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Horseshoe Lake & McLead Lake
    After setting up camp we drove over to Horseshoe Lake with plans for hitting two lakes. We hoped to have time for one more hike after this.

    We started off with Horseshoe Lake. The loop trail is in excellent condition and very easy to follow. We made the loop and took a variety of pics along the way. The lake was very low & but the views of the surrounding mountains are breathtaking. We really enjoyed this loop and then headed for McLead Lake.

    Along the way we passed an info sign that showed a loop option utilizing a ridge. To make a long story short we couldn't find the turnoff for the loop. We hiked an extra quarter mile trying to find but no luck. On the way back we talked to a hiker who said the turnoff is unmarked and hard to see. He offered to show us the way but it was late in the day and we had our sights set on Lake George and TJ Lake.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    From the town of Mammoth Lakes take Lake Mary Road all the way to the end of the road. Lake Mary Road dead ends at the Horseshoe Lake parking area. The trailhead to McLeod Lake is located at the southwest end of the parking lot.
    page created by slegal on Mar 13 2011 7:24 pm
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