Hike to Skelton Lake



4 miles

Elevation Gain

872 ft

Route Type


Added by Samantha Drake

Stunning lake views close to town.

The hike to Skelton Lake in Mammoth Lakes, CA starts off at the Duck Lake Pass trailhead just past Lake Mary. The hike starts off with quite a few switchbacks as you climb through the John Muir Wilderness. About one mile up the trail, you'll see an option to veer off to Arrowhead Lake. Continue on the Duck Lake Pass trail for another mile and you will reach the shore of Skelton Lake. Skelton has a small sandy beach, which can be great for a quick snack and a chance to take in the view. There is also another small sandy beach about a quarter mile around the like if you continue on the trail. 

There are trout in the lake if you want to bring your pole (and fishing license). It's also good for a "very quick" dip if you're looking to cool off, but the water is cold enough that you won't be in there for more than a few seconds.

Once you're heading back, you can return the way you came or create a loop by hiking back past Emerald Lake, which returns to the lower parking lot from where you started and only adds about a half mile to the overall hike.  

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Known for

Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly



Leave a Review

about 1 year ago

Great Mammoth Hike

Hiked this trail with my wife and mom over the 4th of July weekend. (If you're there over a holiday, make sure to get to the trailhead early, before 8am, as parking gets pretty packed). This hike is only about 15-20 minutes from the village. The sandy beach at the lake is great for hanging out and getting a little rest before hiking back. I did jump in the water for a quick swim. It was probably somewhere in the high 40s to low 50s range...needless to say, the swim was short.

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We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

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