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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.

Barney Lake, CA

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Guide 4 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List CA > Sierra Nevada
4 of 5 by 2
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Round Trip 6.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 9,134 feet
Elevation Gain 1,200 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 3 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 12.5
Interest Perennial Creek
Backpack Yes
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
30  2019-08-09
Pika Lake
15  2015-07-01
Duck Pass Trailhead to Duck Lake
Author Tim
author avatar Guides 10
Routes 0
Photos 0
Trips 356 map ( 2,719 miles )
Age 57 Male Gender
Location Scottsdale
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Aug, Jul, Sep, Jun → 8 AM
Seasons   Summer to Autumn
Sun  5:36am - 6:07pm
1 Alternative
Lake Hopping
by Tim

Likely In-Season!
Carolyn and I pushed off from the trailhead on a Thursday morning on July 21, 2011 with the temperatures in the low 60's. We were hoping to make it all the way to Duck Pass but had heard from a ranger that the climb up to the pass was very snow filled and the trail was completely obscured. This season was the most snow that Mammoth Lakes had seen since 1951. We got to the Arrowhead Lake turnoff in 30 minutes but kept on going past Skelton Lake and up to Barney Lake. We started encountering patches of snow at Skelton Lake, but it was soft and it was still relatively easy to see where the trail went. As we approached the final climb up to the ridge above Barney Lake the snow was much deeper and it was difficult to stay on the switchbacks. But it wasn't too steep here and as long as we stayed on the bearing line we'd eventually come across the trail. At the top of the ridge we could look down to Barney Lake and up to Duck Pass which was quite an impressive view. We covered the 3 miles to Barney Lake in an hour and 40 minutes with about 1,200 feet of AEG. We stopped for lunch and fished for a while with no success. Before we left, we encountered an experienced hiker that was going up and back to Duck Pass. He'd been there before and knew where he was going and while we were tempted to follow, discretion got the better part of valor.

We headed back down and managed to stay on the trail through the snow, stopping to fish at both Skelton and Arrowhead Lakes along the way. Again, it was more fishing and less catching. Both lakes were simply gorgeous. It only took us an hour and 20 minutes to get down, not including the stops. We encountered several groups of peoople through out the course of the day, but it wasn't too bad at all since we were on a weekday. We'd heard that this trail gets overrun on weekends which is understandable. At the parking lot we ran into the experienced hiker who had made it all the way to Duck Pass. He reported that it was very steep, slippery and tiring and that he was really fatigued when he was coming down. So much so that he was concerned about slipping and sliding down into the rocks, but he made it okay. Including stops for fishing my GPS unit had the total trip at 6.5 miles in 3 hours with 1,200 feet of AEG. Just out and back to Barney would probably be closer to 6.0.

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2011-08-02 Tim
    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
    Barney Lake
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Pika Lake
    Went to Mammoth to meet up with some other obnoxious hikers. Not much of a campground lover, we snagged a permit and headed into the John Muir Wilderness. A great night was spent at Pika Lake with some additional random exploring in nearby areas. It was a little breezy in exposed places and the night temps dropped into the mid 30s. It was a nice respite from August in Arizona.

    We spent the next night with the obnoxious group in Mammoth Lakes and a yearling bear kept visiting. It destroyed one empty tent for a single m&m, and while not at all confrontational with people, it was also pretty ballsy. I'd be surprised if they don't put it down before the summer is over. :cry:

    Sunday morning we headed out for perseids and hot springs. I didn't realize this area is a caldera like Yellowstone on a smaller scale. A lot of warm water coming out of the ground. Probably the most scenic hot spring I've ever soaked in.
    Barney Lake
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Claire and I headed up to Mammoth Lakes on Tuesday and got settled in that evening. On Wednesday morning we picked up our permits for backpacking the next day and then wanted to do a moderate day hike. After researching HAZ we picked Duck Lake because of the proximity and the length. Also, I was on the JMT two years ago and camped about a mile below Duck Lake so I was already aware of it.

    We started hiking from the Coldwater Creek Campground day parking area around noon and the trailhead sits at roughly 9,000 ft elevation. The trail immediately starts gaining elevation and we entered the John Muir Wilderness. We continued on and took a short detour over to Arrowhead Lake. From there we continued hiking under overcast skies but no threat of rain. Next up was Skelton Lake which is another picturesque lake where we stopped and took pics.

    We continued on and passed Barney Lake and could see Duck Pass roughly 400 vertical ft above us. The trail is in excellent condition and switchbacks it's way up to the pass that sits at 10,800 ft. Once on top Duck Lake came into view. It's another magnificent lake. We decided to drop down to the lake to take our lunch. It was easy going as we descended a few hundred ft and we took our break at a lookout over the lake. It's a beautiful day and our view cannot be beat!

    After lunch we headed back up to the pass and then started our return. On the way back we decided to detour over to Emerald Lake. This is a small but intimate lake surrounded by mountains. From there it was roughly a mile back to the trailhead. This was a nice hike and was perfect for getting us acclimated before our backpacking trip the next day.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    Turn off Highway 395 at Mammoth Lakes junction and drive through the town of Mammoth Lakes on Highway 203. Reach the Lake Mary Road at 3.7 miles from the junction. Continue through the intersection and drive 3.9 miles before turning left onto Road 4S09 to Lake Mary and Lake George Campgrounds. Drive 3.6 miles and turn left towards Coldwater Campground. Stay to the right as you pass the lengthy campground along Coldwater Creek. After .7 miles you will come to the trailhead for the Emerald Lake Trailhead. Keep going past this trailhead to the end of the parking lot where there is a sign posted for the Duck Pass Trail. Water and toilets are available at both trailheads.
    page created by Tim on Aug 02 2011 12:21 pm
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