Long sandy beaches, picturesque views of the backside of Mammoth Mountain, and crystal blue water make the short hike to McLeod Lake one of the best destinations in Mammoth. 

Start your journey at the Mammoth Pass Trailhead at the back of the parking lot for Horseshoe Lake. From the start, the trail ascends steadily through dense pines, and big granite stair steps.  Although it is a moderately steep route (and the altitude doesn't help), it is only about 0.6 miles to the edge of the lake. The trail is very well marked, moderately trafficked, and the views are picturesque. 

Once you get to the top, make sure you have some time to explore around the lake. There is a pretty trail that meanders around the entire lake, and you might be lucky to spot some wildlife! The lake's sandy beach makes it an ideal spot for a picnic, just make sure to pack out what you brought in. Don't forget that this is a summer only hike! The road to the Horseshoe lake parking lot is closed during the majority of winter and spring.

Pro Tip: For a longer adventure, add on the easy 1.8-mile loop trail that circles Horseshoe Lake, where you parked your car.  

Pack List

  • Water
  • Walking sticks
  • Camera
  • Picnic
  • Towel
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RT Distance 1.2 Miles
Elevation Gain 460 Feet
Activities Chillin, Photography, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Summer
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Picnic Area
Cliff Jumping


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