Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
3,854.00 ft (1,174.70 m)
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
13.50 mi (21.73 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The Duck Lake Trail Plus Pika is a 13.5-mile out-and-back hike that takes you over Duck Pass to Duck Lake plus a short side trip to Pika Lake. The trailhead is located at Coldwater Campground near Mammoth, California. It is a moderate adventure which can be completed in one day or enjoyed overnight while camping amid sparkling blue lakes and lush meadows. The stunning views, countless trails, and magnificent scenery make it a popular destination for trail runners, hikers, and backpackers. 

Starting at Coldwater Campground's southern end, Duck Lake Trail ascends towards Duck Pass. Along the way, the singletrack trail passes numerous alpine lakes and peaceful meadows as it winds up the watershed towards Duck Pass. After 3.7 miles and more than 1500 feet of elevation gain, Duck Lake and Pika Lake can be seen magnificently from the top of the pass. Next, you'll descend along Duck Lake's northwest side for 2.8 miles. The Duck Lake Trail ends at a junction with the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) / John Muir Trail (JMT). 

Turn around here and retrace your steps along the lake back to Duck Pass. From the pass, follow the 1.32 mile Pika Lake Trail which heads around the northwestern shore of Duck Lake until reaching the small, yet stunning, Pika Lake. To shorten this route, you can cut out the Pika Lake Trail and retrace your steps from Duck Pass back to the trailhead. The pass will still offer a great view of Pika Lake, so no matter which way you go, you won't miss out on seeing it. Once you're done with Pika Lake, turn around and retrace your steps back to the pass and continue down the watershed toward Coldwater Campground. 

PERMIT INFORMATION

  • No permits are required for day use.

  • Permits are required for overnight camping and backpacking trips and can be obtained at www.recreation.gov.

  • Permit quota season is from May 1 - November 1.

WATER

Water along the route can be found from creeks, lakes, and springs and should be treated before consumption. 

TRANSPORTATION

Mammoth Lakes Free Mountain Shuttle: https://www.mammothmountain.com/transportation/free-mountain-shuttle 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Mammoth Lakes Welcome Center 1-(760) 924-5500

Wilderness Permit Information 1-(760) 873-2483

Mammoth Lakes Trail Systems: https://www.mammothtrails.org/ 

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Alpine Lakes. Beautiful mountain scenery. Lakeside camping.

Cons

Some areas may be more crowded on weekends.

Trailhead Elevation

9,164.00 ft (2,793.19 m)

Highest point

10,786.00 ft (3,287.57 m)

Features

Near lake or river
Backcountry camping
Wildlife
Big vistas

Typically multi-day

No

Permit required

No

Location

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