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Duck Pass via Wood Lakes + Duck Pass Trail

Eastern Sierra + White Mountains Area, California

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Duck Pass via Wood Lakes + Duck Pass Trail

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  • Arrowhead Lake.- Duck Pass via Wood Lakes + Duck Pass Trail
  • Half frozen Skeleton Lake.- Duck Pass via Wood Lakes + Duck Pass Trail
  • Frozen lakes in early July.- Duck Pass via Wood Lakes + Duck Pass Trail
  • Surrounding granite peaks.- Duck Pass via Wood Lakes + Duck Pass Trail
  • Duck Lake from an unnamed peak near Duck Pass.- Duck Pass via Wood Lakes + Duck Pass Trail
  • A mix of snow and scree surrounds the upper elevations.- Duck Pass via Wood Lakes + Duck Pass Trail
  • Climbing the steep slope from Duck Pass.- Duck Pass via Wood Lakes + Duck Pass Trail
  • Barney Lake.
- Duck Pass via Wood Lakes + Duck Pass Trail
  • Barney Lake.- Duck Pass via Wood Lakes + Duck Pass Trail
  • Looking back toward Mammoth Mountain, Arrowhead Lake, and Skeleton Lake.- Duck Pass via Wood Lakes + Duck Pass Trail
  • Views from Duck Pass.- Duck Pass via Wood Lakes + Duck Pass Trail
  • Looking down toward Duck Pass.- Duck Pass via Wood Lakes + Duck Pass Trail
  • Frozen Duck Lake.- Duck Pass via Wood Lakes + Duck Pass Trail
  • Great views from above Duck Pass.- Duck Pass via Wood Lakes + Duck Pass Trail
  • Steep canyon walls define the route.- Duck Pass via Wood Lakes + Duck Pass Trail
  • Pausing to transition to snow travel.- Duck Pass via Wood Lakes + Duck Pass Trail
  • Ascending on the snow field.- Duck Pass via Wood Lakes + Duck Pass Trail
  • Ascending on the snow field.- Duck Pass via Wood Lakes + Duck Pass Trail
  • The snow field is intermittent and patchy in July.- Duck Pass via Wood Lakes + Duck Pass Trail
  • Solitude along the route to Duck Pass.- Duck Pass via Wood Lakes + Duck Pass Trail
  • Mammoth Creek.- Duck Pass via Wood Lakes + Duck Pass Trail
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Solitude. Choose your own adventure. Big vista.
Cons: 
Condition dependent. Technical.
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Region:
Eastern Sierra + White Mountains Area, CA
Access: 
Vehicle
Climbing:
Snow / glacier / ice route
Congestion: 
Low
Pets allowed: 
No
Site characteristics: Drinking water: 
Unfrozen water
Recommended Equipment:
Helmets, Ice axe / crampons
Highest point: 
11,214.00 ft (3,418.03 m)
Alpine climbing NCCS rating: 
Grade III
Net Elevation Gain: 
2,247.00 ft (684.89 m)
Year round: 
Yes
Parking Pass: 
None
Permit required: 
No
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Summer, Fall
Primary aspect: 
East facing
Total Distance: 
6.10 mi (9.82 km)
Total elevation gain: 
2,247.00 ft (684.89 m)
Trailhead Elevation: 
9,324.00 ft (2,841.96 m)
Typically multi-day: 
No
Current Local Weather:
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Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Pro Contributor

Compared to a more popular and shorter trail nearby, Duck Lake Trail often doesn't see a lot of traffic. The trail can be access all year, though the condition in the winter will be very different and require a much more preparation. The trailhead is located at the south end of Lake Mary past Coldwater Campground, which is usually closed during the winter. There are two entrances that will lead to slightly different routes, but these eventually meet up just south of Arrowhead lake. There is no shortage of beautiful alpine lakes in this area. Not too far south of Arrowhead Lake is Skeleton Lake. Both lakes can still be half frozen even in July after a heavy winter season, so be mindful of where you step when you get closer to it. 

Sticking to the Duck Lake Trail will get you to Barney Lake. When the snow is present and in good condition, and if you are feeling a little bit more adventurous, keep following Mammoth Creek to Wood Lake, which is located in a different valley just north of an unnamed peak. Keep going southeast and to your right; there is a pretty steep slope that will take you to the top of that peak. It can be ascended just by using crampons and an ice axe, but make sure that you know how to use your gear and that you know how to self arrest. Also, don't forget to wear your helmet. 

Once you reach the top there is a small and flat area that is perfect to have lunch while enjoying the gorgeous views of the Eastern Sierra. To the north you can see Mammoth Mountain, and to the south you will be able to Duck Lake and the jagged peaks in the Sierra National Forest. When you are finished, simply retrace your track or follow the ridge to the south and down toward Duck Pass. You can keep going until you find the Duck Lake Trail again, or make a careful decent on the steep snow slope toward Barney Lake. From there it is pretty much easy going back to the trailhead while passing Skeleton Lake and Arrowhead Lake again on the way back.

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(9 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(53 within a 30 mile radius)

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Adventure Community

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Who's Done It
1 Members
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Pro Contributor
59 Adventures Explored
56 Adventures Published

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