Author Topic: A Hidden Gem in Mammoth Lakes  (Read 11365 times)

wshawkins

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A Hidden Gem in Mammoth Lakes
« on: February 05, 2018, 07:06:57 AM »
A Hidden Gem in Mammoth Lakes


This lake I知 hiking to is really a gem!  This trip was taken in late October on my last day in the Eastern Sierra in 2017.  I decided to go to Mammoth Lakes.  Mammoth Lakes have dozens of trails to choose from so I decided on Duck Pass Trail.  I believe it痴 one of the more spectacular and scenic hikes in the Mammoth Lakes Basin.  The Duck Pass Trailhead is at the end of Coldwater Campground near Lake Mary.

This is a simple out and back hike so should not take long to get the photos uploaded and start this trip report.


Cold morning at the Duck Pass Trailhead

"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."

vhbcinc

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Re: A Hidden Gem in Mammoth Lakes
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2018, 05:55:18 PM »
I am looking forward to the photos.

Thanks

wshawkins

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Re: A Hidden Gem in Mammoth Lakes
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2018, 06:53:19 AM »
It was a chilly 18*F at the trailhead and snowed about 3-4 days prior.  The trail was solid ice and unsafe for travel I知 told by the many who are returning after abandoning their morning hike or run.  I知 an oddity in this group as I知 clearly a fisherman, so I get the strange looks which I知 used to.

You notice I never said what lake I知 going to and that痴 on purpose.  See if you can guess before I get there.


Duck Pass Trail

"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."

wshawkins

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Re: A Hidden Gem in Mammoth Lakes
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2018, 06:54:51 AM »
Today痴 hike calls for ice-cleats, hiking poles, high top waterproof boots with wool socks and many thin layers to keep my body warm.  I strap my fishing pole and snow shoes to my day pack and I知 ready to go.  I was told all the lakes were still ice free 2 days prior so I知 hopeful.  If the lakes are all frozen, then I値l have a lovely hike in the high country and take lots of pictures.  It痴 all good to me and I値l make do.



Frozen Duck Pass Trail
"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."

TEX

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Re: A Hidden Gem in Mammoth Lakes
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2018, 02:28:57 AM »
 :fishing3:
"I知 an oddity in this group as I知 clearly a fisherman, so I get the strange looks which I知 used to."
I hike with 93% fishing in mind; I know the feeling.  That trail is heavily used by runners.
The E.S. is where I come to get back to sanity and to the real me.

wshawkins

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Re: A Hidden Gem in Mammoth Lakes
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2018, 07:04:36 AM »
Usually lots of runners on Duck Pass Trail, but not today with ice on the trail.  In the past runners have past me going over Duck Pass and back.  Amazing!
"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."

wshawkins

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Re: A Hidden Gem in Mammoth Lakes
« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2018, 07:05:54 AM »
The trail crosses into the John Muir Wilderness and climbs steadily through lodgepole and Jeffrey pine forests, past alpine meadows usually speckled with wildflowers in season, but filled with snow today and around the countless lakes, creeks and ponds on this trail.


"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."

wshawkins

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Re: A Hidden Gem in Mammoth Lakes
« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2018, 07:08:18 AM »
Arrowhead Lake is at 1.3 miles and there痴 about 4-6 snow on the ground.  No footprints in the snow towards Arrowhead Lake so I知 the first to check out Arrowhead Lake since the last snow.  Arrowhead Lake is completely ice free but not my target lake today so I rejoin the main trail.


Arrowhead Lake Sign



Arrowhead Lake
"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."

wshawkins

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Re: A Hidden Gem in Mammoth Lakes
« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2018, 06:41:22 AM »
About 1.5 miles up and the trail is still icy.





"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."

wshawkins

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Re: A Hidden Gem in Mammoth Lakes
« Reply #9 on: February 08, 2018, 06:43:45 AM »
Emerald Lake Turnoff.  In season, this is a great alternative to Duck Pass Trail.  But maybe not today!  I could easily do a trip report on this turnoff alone as this loop crosses over more than a dozen lakes and streams with views to die for.  I did the Emerald Lake Turnoff trip earlier this season on the Deer Lakes loop trail, but that痴 a story for another day.





"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."

wshawkins

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Re: A Hidden Gem in Mammoth Lakes
« Reply #10 on: February 09, 2018, 07:18:54 AM »
Duck Pass Trail


"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."

wshawkins

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Re: A Hidden Gem in Mammoth Lakes
« Reply #11 on: February 09, 2018, 07:20:00 AM »
Mammoth Creek





"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."

wshawkins

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Re: A Hidden Gem in Mammoth Lakes
« Reply #12 on: February 09, 2018, 07:21:50 AM »
I reached Skelton Lake in about 2 miles.  There is a thin layer of ice on about シ of the lake.  Near here are the remains of the Skelton Boys stamp and saw mill, dating back to the 1870's.  Hence this is how the lake got its name.  The sparkling, blue waters of Skelton Lake are quite scenic.





"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."

bj

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Re: A Hidden Gem in Mammoth Lakes
« Reply #13 on: February 09, 2018, 08:02:35 AM »
I think I know where you're headed :flyfish:
" Rock on..........Rock the Creek"
Hardrock

wshawkins

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Re: A Hidden Gem in Mammoth Lakes
« Reply #14 on: February 09, 2018, 02:36:35 PM »
Yeah, I bet you do as I heard you speak of this lake in your previous travels. :hiking2:
"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."

wshawkins

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Re: A Hidden Gem in Mammoth Lakes
« Reply #15 on: February 10, 2018, 07:04:49 AM »
The best picture spot for Skelton Lake is the tip of a small peninsula which faces south and offers stunning views of this "L" shaped lake.  But not my Target Lake but hope to have enough time later today to fish it.


"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."

wshawkins

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Re: A Hidden Gem in Mammoth Lakes
« Reply #16 on: February 10, 2018, 07:06:30 AM »
Duck Pass Trail





"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."

wshawkins

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Re: A Hidden Gem in Mammoth Lakes
« Reply #17 on: February 10, 2018, 07:07:34 AM »
Near the headwaters of Mammoth Creek.  Mammoth Creek drains the Mammoth Lakes Basin, which flows through the Town of Mammoth Lakes and discharges into Hot Creek and eventually into the Owens River and then Crowley Lake.


"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."

wshawkins

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Re: A Hidden Gem in Mammoth Lakes
« Reply #18 on: February 13, 2018, 06:51:49 AM »
After about 3 miles up Duck Pass Trail you arrive at Barney Lake.  Barney Lake appears to be 100% frozen, but it痴 early still and the sun is out so I plan to come back later in the afternoon and hope it thaws out.  The Mammoth Crest is just breathtaking from here!  Still not my Target Lake but Barney Lake is a fun lake to fish for decent sized Eastern Brooks. 


"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."

wshawkins

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Re: A Hidden Gem in Mammoth Lakes
« Reply #19 on: February 14, 2018, 07:45:31 AM »
Barney Lake Outlet Creek.  This is where I met the only other hiker I seen on the trail today.  That痴 saying a lot for the Duck Pass Trail.  The hiker was heading up and over Duck Pass.  No human footprints beyond this point, only animal tracks.


"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."

wshawkins

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Re: A Hidden Gem in Mammoth Lakes
« Reply #20 on: February 14, 2018, 07:47:11 AM »
It痴 a cross-country hike to special lake and glad I brought my snow shoes as the sun has begun to soften the snow a bit and it痴 up to 3 feet deep or more in spots.  This cross-country hike would have been near impossible without snow shoes.  There is another way to this lake but way too much ice on path to safely get up there on this particular day.





"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."

vhbcinc

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Re: A Hidden Gem in Mammoth Lakes
« Reply #21 on: February 14, 2018, 03:28:56 PM »
Thanks for taking us on the adventure.  The photographs are amazing.

wshawkins

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Re: A Hidden Gem in Mammoth Lakes
« Reply #22 on: February 15, 2018, 07:02:36 AM »
Thanks Vhbcinc!   :hiking2:
"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."

wshawkins

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Re: A Hidden Gem in Mammoth Lakes
« Reply #23 on: February 15, 2018, 07:04:37 AM »
On my way to the Hidden Gem Lake, I pass by mostly frozen Red Lake.





"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."

wshawkins

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Re: A Hidden Gem in Mammoth Lakes
« Reply #24 on: February 15, 2018, 07:05:59 AM »
Finally my Target Lake!  Any guesses?  And to my surprise, it痴 completely ice free!  What makes this unusual is this lake is actually higher in elevation than frozen Barney Lake!


"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."