Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
550.00 ft (167.64 m)
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
3.90 mi (6.28 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.

Located immediately before Junction Campground about two miles east of Yosemite's eastern entrance gate is the hiking trail that leads past the gold mining ghost town of Bennettville and on toward a series of small calm lakes along Mine Creek near the base of Mount Conness.

Walking upstream at Lee Vining Creek before quickly turning to bypass the campground, the trail has a gradual uphill slope, though it should be doable by almost all hiking ability levels. The path heads through forest soon paralleling Mine Creek with a couple small scenic falls visible from the trail and easily accessible. 

At just under a mile in, the trail reaches the townsite of Bennettville. Once a silver mining camp named Tioga that worked a mine located just across Mine Creek at a stone outcropping, the town changed its name to Bennettville in 1882, and went through a period of growth, with investors spending about $300,000 on bringing in eight tons of mining equipment - much of it up from Lundy Canyon before a new road was built on the gentler grade that is now known as Tioga Pass.

After all this investment, miners never found a large vein of silver, and by 1890, the site was a ghost town. Today, the mining ruins at Bennettville make up part of the Great Sierra Mine Historic Site. Two buildings stand at the townsite, a smaller assay office and a larger bunkhouse, both of which went through restoration in the early 1990's.

Beyond the ghost town, the trail continues to parallel Mine Creek, reaching Shell Lake, the first in a series of lakes in the canyon. The trail sees relatively few other hikers, so visitors may get this part of the scenic mountainous landscape to themselves. Nearby mountain faces reflect off of the shallow lake surfaces, and the calming flow of Mine Creek adds a sweet ambiance to the air.

The trail winds past an unnamed lake, before following Mine Creek up to Fantail Lake at about 1.75 miles in. There is plenty of shade around here, along with grassy banks to find a seat beside the water.

Trails continue beyond Fantail Lake and into the backcountry, where it is possible to explore as much as you'd like, though proceeding further up the Mine Creek drainage, the slopes becomes much more dramatic. At whatever point you choose, turn around and retrace your route back to the parking area near Lee Vining Creek.

Aside from a trash can, there are no amenities at the trail.

Tioga Pass is closed near Lee Vining during winter conditions each year, shutting down vehicle access to this area during those months typically until late May or June.

 

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Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Summer
Fall

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

No

Open from

May 01 to October 31

Pros

Excellent views. Relaxing hike.

Cons

Limited parking.

Trailhead Elevation

9,505.00 ft (2,897.12 m)

Highest point

9,845.00 ft (3,000.76 m)

Features

Near lake or river
Historically significant
Waterfalls
Fishing
Family friendly
Big vistas

Typically multi-day

No

Suitable for

Biking

Permit required

No

Location

Nearby Lodging + Camping

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