Pets allowed
Not Allowed
Elevation Gain
8,801.00 ft (2,682.54 m)
Trail type
Loop
Distance
36.30 mi (58.42 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.

Lamarck to Piute Loop is a 36.3-mile loop located in Inyo National Forest outside of Bishop, CA. This strenuous loop features incredible alpine scenery, expansive mountain views, and epic backcountry camping. This route is accessible for hikers, backpackers and trail runners. 

This route consists mostly of well maintained singletrack trails with the exception of a class 2 route over Lamarck Col and a brief cross country section through Darwin Bench (however both of these sections have been well trodden and faint foot paths are visible and fairly easy to follow). 

Starting from the North Lake Campground follow signs for Lamarck Lakes Trail. This loop begins with a climb that starts off shaded by aspen and pine trees. As you ascend the trail becomes steeper and the views become much more grand. The trail passes by flowing creeks and granite peaks as it winds its way up to Upper Lamarck Lake. A short rugged and rocky climb leads to the top of Lamarck Col (patches of snow may be present on the pass depending on the season and whether or not it was a wet or dry year in the area). 

The route descends through talus and boulders towards Darwin Bench. The lakes at Darwin Bench are a beautiful place for camping. 

Continue through Darwin Bench towards the John Muir Trail/Pacific Crest Trail (JMT/PCT). Turn right (north) on the JMT/PCT and enjoy several miles of well maintained and nicely graded singletrack miles. 

Turn right at the Piute Pass Trail junction and follow this well maintained, easy to follow trail back to the campground and the trailhead where you started. 

CAMPING
A backcountry permit is required for camping and can be accessible via:
www.recrecreation.gov

BEAR CANISTER
Bear canisters are strongly recommended for most of this area and may be required in certain parts. Always check with the forest service for updated regulations and details before setting out for your trip.

PARKING
Day use and overnight parking is available at the North Lake parking area. If you are parking at the campground there is a fee. There is no fee, however, for the regular hiker parking area located about 1 mile south of the trailhead. 

MORE INFORMATION
For detailed information about the location, weather, and permits contact: 

White Mountain Visitor Center: 1-(760) 873-2500

Wilderness Permit Information: 1-(760) 873-2483

Inyo National Forest: http://www.fs.usda.gov/inyo

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

Yes

Days

2

Pros

Alpine Lakes. Solitude. Mountain Scenery.

Cons

Requires Permit. Mosquitos.

Trailhead Elevation

9,332.00 ft (2,844.39 m)

Highest point

12,874.00 ft (3,924.00 m)

Features

Near lake or river
Backcountry camping
Glacier
Wildflowers
Wildlife
Fishing
Bird watching
Big vistas

Typically multi-day

Yes

Permit required

Yes

Permit self-issue on site

No

Location

Nearby Adventures

Eastern Sierra + White Mountains Area, California
Eastern Sierra + White Mountains Area, California

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Eastern Sierra + White Mountains Area, California
Eastern Sierra + White Mountains Area, California

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