Hike to Little Lakes Valley in the John Muir Wilderness

Details

Distance

3.2 miles

Elevation Gain

300 ft

Route Type

Out-and-Back

Added by John Sunich

Enjoy dramatic High Sierra views and beautiful alpine lakes. This hike through the John Muir Wilderness is great for all skill levels. You turn this day hike into an overnight trip (permit required) or camp in one of the many campgrounds nearby. 

The Little Lakes Valley located in the John Muir Wilderness provides easy access to spectacular views of High Sierra peaks as well as a long list of beautiful alpine lakes.

The area is accessed via the Mono Pass Trail starting from Mosquito Flat/Little Lakes Trailhead.  From the trailhead at the end of Rock Creek Road the trail follows closely along Rock Creek while gaining little to moderate elevation before formally enter the John Muir Wilderness.  Shortly after entering the wilderness the trail comes to Mack Lake.  At Mack Lake the trail has its first junction with the Little Lakes Valley Trail. Keep left at the trail junction.

From there it is a short drop down to Heart Lake as well as Marsh Lake which is just out of view to the left as the trail converges on Heart Lake.  A short distance further and the trail comes to Box lake.  

Heart Lake as well as the other neighboring lakes are a great destination for the casual hiker as well as families with children to gain great views of the High Sierra without grueling elevation gain and strenuous trips that many other area trails. For the more adventurous individuals there are many options for exploring further up the valley toward Morgan pass, Long Lake, Chickenfoot Lake, Gem Lake etc.

If you plan on spending the night in this area make sure to check the Recreation.gov website for permit availability before planning your trip.  It's always a good idea to check the trail conditions with the local ranger station as well before heading out on your trip.

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Know for

Chillin
Camping
Fishing
Photography
Swimming
Hiking
Bathrooms
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Lake
River
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildflowers
Wildlife
Swimming Hole

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Reviews

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Gorgeous hike!

We hiked the Little Lakes Valley to Gem Lake. The hike was beautifully scenic and Gem Lake what truly impressive. It was covered with a layer of ice and beautiful!

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5.0/5

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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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