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A good family hike
Horseshoe Lake is situation just south of Mammoth Mountain in the Mammoth Lakes Basin. The area offers an interesting geology lesson. At the parking area for the lake you will quickly notice that the trees are dead. The geology lesson is that the reason the trees are dead is because magma deep beneath the area has pushed carbon dioxide to the surface. The carbon dioxide has smothered the roots of the trees. The same problem exists beneath the lake. The water is full of carbon dioxide.
It doesn’t take long to leave the dead trees behind you on this hike. The trail quickly reaches a heavily forested area. If you travel around the lake in a counter clockwise direction you reach the prettiest part of the hike right away. The trees are mature. The trail travels beneath the Mammoth Crest, making for steep slopes rising out of the lake. Several stream pour into lake.
As you near the southeastern end of the lake the terrain flattens out. Here you’ll find a chimney, which is all that remains of a burned out cabin. I don’t think that the cabin was all that big, but the fireplace and chimney were enormous.
After leaving the cabin site the terrain becomes straighter and flatter. It’s not as nice here, but you can spice your hike up a little by heading toward the lake to your left and hike closer to the water. If you choose to stay on the main trail, the trail will take you back to Lake Mary Road, where you can follow the road back to the parking area.
It’s worth noting that this trail is a multi use trail. That means that hikers, mountain bikers and horses share the trail. Keep your eyes open for others.
Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.