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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.

Duck Pass Trailhead to Duck Lake, CA

Guide 7 Triplogs  0 Topics
  3.7 of 5 
136 7 0
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Difficulty 3.5 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Round Trip 8 miles
Trailhead Elevation 9,138 feet
Elevation Gain 1,700 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 16.5
Interest Perennial Waterfall & Perennial Creek
Backpack Yes
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
30  2019-08-09
Pika Lake
17  2018-09-19 Oregon_Hiker
20  2015-08-06 slegal
15  2015-07-01 John9L
11  2015-06-21
Consolidated Mine Trail
73  2013-07-19 slegal
Author slegal
author avatar Guides 74
Routes 102
Photos 2,962
Trips 56 map ( 351 miles )
Age 59 Male Gender
Location Thousand Oaks, CA
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Jul, Aug, Sep, Jun → Early
Seasons   Summer
Sun  4:35am - 7:21pm
Official Route
0 Alternative

something to quack about
by slegal

Likely In-Season!
I’ve spent a lot of time hiking out to the Coldwater Creek Campground parking lot. There are three trailheads out of this parking lot. If you want the maximum number of lakes on one hike, then the Duck Pass trailhead is the trail for you. If you take the trail all of the way to the top of Duck Pass you are guaranteed to see at least 7 lakes.

The trail begins heading uphill quickly with a series of switchbacks for the first mile or so before leveling out a little. To your left the slope falls off steeply toward Coldwater Creek. You can’t see the creek, but you can hear it. Also to the left is a trail to Arrowhead Lake. The Duck Pass Trail does not get that close to Arrowhead Lake, but you can get a glimpse of it through the forest.

The next lake that you pass is Skelton Lake. The trail passes much closer to this lake and affords some very nice views of the lake.

Shortly after passing Skelton Lake the trail heads up some switchbacks and passes above the 10,000 foot elevation. After a brief flat section of trail, the trail descends to Barney Lake and Red Lake. These lakes have a different color to them because they have a considerable amount of dissolved minerals, making the water a light opaque turquoise color.

The trail crosses the creek that runs between the two lakes and then heads toward the 700 vertical foot ascent to Duck Pass. The ascent at first glance appears very sterile - lots of rock and very little vegetation. However, as you begin the climb you should see lots of wildflowers, particularly columbine. Another thing that you may marvel about is how well hidden the trail is to people looking at it from below. It kind of reminds me of the Yosemite Falls trail which can’t be scene from below.

The trail tops out at just about exactly 10,800 feet. Once at the top of the pass you are greeted with a spectacular panoramic view of Duck Lake and Pika Lake. I found a great vista point just beyond the Pika Lake sign to take photos and have a snack.

I found the trip back down the switchbacks from Duck Pass to Barney Lake to be a little tricky. The trail is all rock with lots of opportunities to twist an ankle or trip and fall. Add the fatigue factor from the climb up and it is worth being a little extra cautious on this section of trail.

When you reach the top of the switchbacks from the beginning of the hike you are greeted with a view of Lake Mary through the trees – a sure sign that the hike is almost over. Once finished, the hike is just over 8 miles.

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2013-07-20 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.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    From the town of Mammoth Lakes, take Lake Mary Road to the lakes. Turn left onto Lake Mary Loop Road. When the road rounds Lake Mary at the eastern end of the lake the road reaches the Coldwater Creek Campground. Turn left into the campground and head up the campground road all the way to the parking lot at the end of the road. The Duck Pass Trailhead is at the eastern end of the lot.
    page created by slegal on Jul 20 2013 3:50 pm
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills
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