Backpack to Long Lake

Rate this Adventure Yosemite South Lake Wildflower Trail

Added by Evan Thomas

  • Moderate, but very scenic backpack of 3.5 miles one way
  • Great campsites next to beautiful Long Lake
  • Great spot to use as a basecamp for enjoyable dayhikes
  • Several nearby peaks to climb with varying difficulty
  • Great spot for night-sky photography
  • Duration: 1 Day to a Couple Days, or more

The trailhead for Long Lake starts by South Lake outside Bishop, CA. You'll want to take Line Street, which is the 168, West out of Bishop. Approximately 14 miles up, you'll want to merge left towards South Lake. This junction is well-signed if you keep an eye out for it. Head the rest of the way up until the road dead-ends in the overnight hiker parking.

The Approach

To get to Long Lake (~10,700' in elevation) requires about 3 to 3.5 miles of hiking from the hiker parking area and a little over 1000' of gain. There are 1-2 trail junctions, where at each one where you'll want to make sure to head towards Bishop Pass. I don't believe there is a sign telling you when you arrive to Long lake, but it's fairly unmistakable when you get there! There is a also a small stream crossing right before the lake, to server as a reminder.

Suggested Activities

There's really many variations you could make out of this trip, even including just day hiking the area. But, it really is a nice spot to spend a few days, so I highly recommend it! There are some other lakes to camp at, but I think Long Lake is the most scenic, with a classic view of Mt Goode.

On our latest trip there, we enjoyed some night sky photography and a hike up Chocolate Peak, which passes by beautiful Ruwua Lake. My wife even enjoyed some Yoga on Chocolate Peak! The area is also popular with fishermen, so definitely bring your pole if you enjoy fishing. Hurd Peak, Mt Goode and Mt Aggasiz all make for reasonable, enjoyable ascents with incredible views. These involve some cross-country and/or scrambling - consult a topo map and a peak climbing guide for further info. Just hiking up to Bishop Pass is great too, with excellent views off into Dusy Basin and beyond. Depending on the year, some of the higher elevation areas can retain snow until as late as July.

If you're feeling energetic when it comes time to leave, you can include a small loop on the return, going by Ruwua Lake, Chocolate Lakes, and Bull Lake. Another very scenic area. The trail is a little easy to lose in spots through this loop, so keep an eye out. Of course, Chocolate Peak can be thrown in here too. The junction for Ruwua Lake is near the North end of Long Lake.

Chow Time

Bishop has some of the finest Eastern Sierra cuisine along the 395. If you like Mexican like me, Los Palmas and Amigos are both good choices. Jack's makes for a good breakfast or burger and fries for dinner. Whiskey Creek is a bit fancier and has Mammoth Microbrews on tap. And, Pizza Factory always hits the spot too.

Pack List

Suggestions for Partial Pack List

  • Tent
  • 20 deg Sleeping Bag
  • Warm Clothes
  • Food/Cooking Items
  • Fishing Pole and/or Camera
  • Hiking Boots
  • Gaiters, Optional but can be nice early in summer
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Backpacking, Camping, Fishing, Hiking, Photography, Yoga

Skill Level:




Trail Type:



7 Miles



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over 1 year ago

Beautiful hike! A perfect trail and lake destination for beginning Sierra season backpacking.

over 1 year ago

almost 2 years ago

Outstanding photographs! Is the road to the trailhead plowed in winter?

almost 2 years ago

Added by Evan Thomas

Avid explorer of the Eastern Sierra and Mojave Desert, with the occasional road trip to more distant locales. Love to hike, climb, cycle, dirt bike and have recently gotten very much into photography, especially the night sky. Staying active and living a healthy lifestyle is basically what my wife and I are all about. Cheers, Evan.

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