Hike to Crystal Lake, Mammoth Lakes

Yosemite Crystal Lake Trailhead, Mammoth Lakes

Added by Aaron Jaro

The hike to Crystal Lake offers up breathtaking view of Lake George, Lake Mary, and Lake Mamie at the top.Then, you'll experience the beauty and serenity of Crystal Lake. If you're lucky, you might see a fairy (I had that feeling!).

In Lake George, park along Lake George Road and walk towards Crystal Crag Trailhead sign to begin the hike. If you couldn't find it, you can head to the boat rentals by the lake and you will see a sign saying trailhead is behind you. The trail is well maintained and it is really easy to follow.

As you go up, you will slowly have a bigger view of Lake George. There are some big rocks where you can climb and take photos. At the top, you will definitely have a breathtaking view the the three lakes. This is also a good spot to take a short break.

You can then descend to reach the beautiful Crystal Lake. We took our hike just before sunset, and the sun just turned our view into a painting. It was a very relaxing and serene experience.

  • Total hiking time 2 hours or less. 
  • No permit needed and parking is free.
  • Start early or late to avoid crowd.

Pack List

  • Water
  • Snack
  • Camera
  • Comfortable shoes
  • Windbreaker jacket (if needed)
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

Share

Activities:

Chillin, Fishing, Hiking, Photography

Skill Level:

Beginner

Season:

Spring, Summer, Autumn

Trail Type:

Out-and-Back

Distance:

2.5 Miles

Elev. Gain:

700 Feet

Rating:

Features:

Dog Friendly
Family Friendly
Forest
Lake
Romantic
Scenic

Are we missing something?

Suggest an edit

How to Get There

3 months ago

Worth every minute

Semi strenuous hike but completely worth it for the surrounding views and lake itself. Make sure to not accidentally wander into private property or roads on your way up or down, the locals are sensitive to trespassers. For a real treat hike to the lake in the winter or early spring, it’s much harder to find the trail but views are unmatched. For the rock climbers out there; Crystal Crag, for which the trail gets its name, is an amazing and unique place to climb. The crag its self offers both sport and trad routes ranging from 5.6 to 5.11, with a couple routes that go to the summit.

3 months ago

5 months ago

Gorgeous!

I highly recommend going early when the light on the mountains is best and before the crowds hit the trail. Going early also increases your chance of arriving before the wind and getting to see all the mountains perfectly reflected in the lake.

5 months ago

Added by Aaron Jaro

Live in the moment.

More Adventures Nearby

Hike 20 Lakes Basin Loop

Yosemite / 20 Lakes Basin Trailhead

This trail is overall very easy to hike, but the 9.1mi distance at a 10,000ft altitude is what makes it a bit of a doozy for people who aren't frequent hikers.

Marlena Steiner
9 Saves

Hike to Inspiration Point in Yosemite NP

Yosemite / Inspiration Point Yosemite

Inspiration Point is a granite slab located on the mountainside above Tunnel View.

Bianca Isidro
6 Saves

Photograph Panamint Valley from Father Crowley Overlook

Yosemite / Father Crowley Overlook

Father Crowley Overlook is an easily missed overlook on the western edge of Death Valley National Park off State Highway 190 overlooking Panamint Valley.

Josiah Roe
9 Saves