Backpack to Lower Ottoway Lake

Rate this Adventure Yosemite Mono Meadow Trailhead

Added by Emily Noyd

The hike is a long haul, but the reward is a remote lake at the base of Red Peak Pass. 

The hike begins at Mono Meadows trailhead along Glacier Point Road, first descending 2.8 steep miles to Illilouette Creek. Above the Illilouette Junction, take in views of the Valley's granite domes before beginning the post-burn forested slog. The trail covers an additional 10 miles of relatively ho-hum trail, skirting the epic Mount Starr King and gaining elevation slowly but surely. This section can be quite warm with few water sources in late summer. Be sure to check in with a wilderness station about trail and water conditions prior to your trip.

At the Merced Pass Junction, stay left towards Ottoway Lakes and Red Peak Pass. The last 3.1 miles gets more beautiful with every step as you rise from the forest into rocky slope heaven. Lower Ottoway Lake is the perfect basecamp with clean and clear water, an amazing backdrop, and nice campsites.

Enjoy a night or two at the lake, with side trips up to Red Peak Pass and Upper Ottoway Lake. Pro tip: use your sleeping pad as a floatie toy!

Pack List

  • Wilderness permit
  • Bear canister
  • Tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad
  • First Aid Kit + 10 Essentials
  • A good book 
  • Water (at least 3 liters) + treatment method
  • Stove, fuel, food
  • Warm clothing for high elevation camping
  • Camera
  • Sun protection (hat, sunscreen, sunglasses)
  • Trekking poles
Read More

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More



Backpacking, Camping, Chillin, Fishing, Hiking, Photography, Swimming

Skill Level:




Trail Type:



32 Miles

Elev. Gain:

2400 Feet


Swimming Hole

Are we missing something?

Suggest an edit

How to Get There

Have you done this adventure? Have something to add? You could be the first to leave a review!

Added by Emily Noyd

Wilderness ranger in Yosemite National Park. Raised by Washington mountains and Puget Sound islands. I live for sunrise, backcountry cooking, climbing, roadtrips, and coffee.

More Adventures Nearby

Hike the Shadow of the Giants Trail

Yosemite / Shadow of the Giants Trail

The Shadow of the Giants National Recreation trail is an amazing 1.1 mile self-guided hike through the heart of Nelder Grove.

Dan Deublein
8 Saves

Hike to Crystal Lake, Mammoth Lakes

Yosemite / Crystal Lake Trailhead, Mammoth Lakes

In Lake George, park along Lake George Road and walk towards Crystal Crag Trailhead sign to begin the hike.

Aaron Jaro
11 Saves

Hike to the Waterfalls of Lundy Canyon

Yosemite / Lundy Canyon Trail

In order to get to the trail you first have to drive past the beautiful Lundy Lake nestled in deep canyon.

Matt Purciel
11 Saves