Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
4,176.00 ft (1,272.84 m)
Trail type
15.00 mi (24.14 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 Mammoth Crest Loop is a 15-mile loop located outside of Mammoth, California. It is a strenuous high elevation route with incredible views, alpine lakes, and lush meadows. A variety of trails connect this loop, allowing you to lengthen or shorten the distance depending on your needs. The trail is suitable for trail runners, hikers, and backpackers and can be completed as a long day trek or as an overnight camping trip. 

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 Coldwater Creek watershed towards Duck Pass. After 3.7 miles and more than 1500 feet of elevation gain, you reach the pass and catch your first glimpse of the glistening Duck Lake. You will then descend along Duck Lake's northwest shore before turning right and climbing the Mammoth Crest. Keep your maps out and look for a faint use trail to locate the turnoff for the Mammoth Crest Trail. 

The Mammoth Crest Trail follows a rugged ridgeline path with spectacular 360-degree views. Occasionally, the sandy trail can be difficult to see, so users are encouraged to bring maps and familiarize themselves with the area and trail in advance. At Crystal Crag, the loop turns east and heads towards Crystal Lake and Mammoth Lakes Basin. Stay on Trail 2709 to the west of Lake Mary. Upon reaching Coldwater Creek, turn left and follow the trail back to the beginning. 


  • No permits are required for day use.

  • Permits are required for overnight camping and backpacking trips and can be obtained at

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


Mammoth Lakes Free Mountain Shuttle: 


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


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

Wilderness Permit Information 1-(760) 873-2483

Mammoth Lakes Trail Systems: 

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)


Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Alpine Lakes. Mountain Views. Lush Meadows.


Mammoth Crest / Rim Trail lacks water and at times difficult to see the trail.

Trailhead Elevation

9,138.00 ft (2,785.26 m)

Highest point

11,214.00 ft (3,418.03 m)


Near lake or river
Backcountry camping
Big vistas

Typically multi-day


Permit required




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