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McLeod Lake Trail

Eastern Sierra + White Mountains Area, California

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McLeod Lake Trail

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  • Swaths of dead trees are a visual reminder that carbon dioxide seeps from the ground near Mammoth Mountain, a relatively young volcano.- McLeod Lake Trail
  • The McLeod Lake Trail is sandy and wide.- McLeod Lake Trail
  • Mammoth Mountain in the background.- McLeod Lake Trail
  • Clear signage to McLeod Lake or to Mammoth Pass.- McLeod Lake Trail
  • - McLeod Lake Trail
  • All fishing in the lake is catch and release only.- McLeod Lake Trail
  • McLeod Lake Trail.- McLeod Lake Trail
  • - McLeod Lake Trail
  • McLeod Lake, part of the crest in the background.- McLeod Lake Trail
  • - McLeod Lake Trail
  • Clear water and sandy shores.- McLeod Lake Trail
  • Mammoth Mountain in the background.- McLeod Lake Trail
  • The sandy and rocky shore makes it easy to walk around the enitre lake.- McLeod Lake Trail
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Short hike. Pristine lake. Not crowded. Fishing.
Cons: 
Steep sections. Parking lot at Horseshoe Lake can be filled.
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Region:
Eastern Sierra + White Mountains Area, CA
Congestion: 
Low
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Net Elevation Gain: 
363.00 ft (110.64 m)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
1.70 mi (2.74 km)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
8,990.00 ft (2,740.15 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Contributor

The McLeod Lake Trail is an easy and surprisingly underused hike to quickly access a picturesque and serene Sierra alpine lake.

The trailhead is accessed at the end of Lake Mary Road and shares a parking lot with the dwindling Horseshoe Lake. The effects of California’s drought can’t be missed here. You're also sure to notice hundreds of acres of dead trees, a result of carbon dioxide that seeps from the ground near Mammoth Mountain, which is a relatively young volcano.

The well marked trail starts at just under 9,000 feet in elevation and is shared with the Mammoth Pass Trail. The path is wide and sandy with a short section of steep climbing, but it is generally level terrain with only around 300 feet of elevation gain. The hike to the lake is just under a half mile, and the sand and thin forest around the shore makes a loop around the lake a nice way to extend your trip.

The crystal clear water is mesmerizing, and it makes the shore a great picnic destination. You may also be sharing this place with the occasional fisherman as it’s a great spot for those enjoying catch and release fishing; it’s also an excellent hike for dogs. This trail is also a perfect choice for families or those looking to acclimate to higher altitudes.

Note that Lake Mary Road is closed from mid-November to mid-April, so if you want to explore up here during the snowier months you'll have to ski or snowshoe in for an additional 5 miles (which may make this adventure even better).

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Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide + Trail Map

Field Guide + Trail Map

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(7 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(61 within a 30 mile radius)

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