Hike to Pika Lake

Rate this Adventure Yosemite Duck Pass Trailhead

Added by Gregg Boydston

There are multiple lakes on the way along with great views overlooking Mammoth Mountain and the Minarets. Duck Pass is the gateway to a ton of different trails and lakes in the area. There is rarely any crowds up this way and you will have your own beach area to hang out. Catch it at the right time of year and you can even have your own alpine lake to swim in.

As many of the other hikes start in this area, you start at the Goldwater Creek Campground where there is plenty of parking and restrooms. You will take the Duck Pass Trailhead for this hike.

• I wanted to point out that this is not the easiest hike to do as a day hike. Many people do overnighters up here but for those who are in decent shape and hike often, it's a doable hike. I made it up there in 1.5 hours walking fairly fast and not stopping until I got to Pika.

So you will hike past Arrowhead, Skeleton, Red, Barney, and Duck lakes on your way to Pika. It is an easy trail to keep track of and are plenty of turn offs to take a quick peek at all the other lakes along your way. You will start out with some winding walking until you get to Arrowhead and then its fairly straight up to Barney. After Barney is Duck Pass, and will be some rock switchbacks until you get up on top. This is quite a view of the canyon/valley. Once on top you will walk for a few more minute until you hit a fork in the trail where you will want to stay left to get to Pika Lake. This will walk you around the North end of Duck Lake for another 10 minutes or so until you make a sharp left up and over to Pika.

There are trails to walk around the lake both ways and are a couple pools created to the south from water levels dropping.

• Phone signal almost all the way. I lost it at the fork for Pika.

Pack List

Again, this is my pack list for an autumn day hike.

• Rain/Wind jacket • Water • Snacks • Comfortable Shoes with decent soles and ankle support. (rocks) • Camera • Swim attire (weather permitting) • Sun glasses • Warm layers (usually windy)

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Chillin, Hiking, Photography

Skill Level:



Spring, Summer, Autumn

Trail Type:



10 Miles

Elev. Gain:

2000 Feet


Easy Parking
Swimming Hole

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Added by Gregg Boydston

U.S. Forest Service Hotshot Living in and exploring the Eastern Sierra.

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