Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
2,040.00 ft (621.79 m)
Trail type
15.50 mi (24.94 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 Lower Rock Creek Trail is a fantastic hike located about halfway between Bishop and Mammoth Lakes, California. The trail offers and variety of scenery and the terrain differs noticeably between the top and bottom sections thanks to 2,000’ of elevation change. Lower sections of the trail are usually snow free and can be hiked during the winter. The trail is also very popular with mountain bikers.

The Lower Rock Creek Trail is divided into three sections. The upper two sections are the shortest, while the lower section (section 3) is the longest. Each section can be accessed from Lower Rock Creek Road. This makes the trail easily accessible for people looking to only hike a short stretch.

If planning on hiking or biking the trail as an out-and-back, you’ll probably want to start at the lower trailhead. This way you’ll get the hard uphill out of the way first, and it’ll be all downhill on the return. Additionally you can choose to turn around anywhere if you decide the full 15 miles is too much.

Starting from the lower trailhead you’ll follow the road across the creek, before taking a left on the trail as it passes by a few homes. Stay on the trail and do not venture onto any homeowner’s property.

The trail begins gently climbing uphill as it parallels beautiful Lower Rock Creek. Large Pines provide ample shade, and stunning views of the High Sierra Nevada Peaks nearby abound.

The surrounding terrain becomes more rugged as you hike through the lower gorge. The gorge walls become higher and steeper as you work your way uphill.

You’ll finally leave the gorge and cross the Lower Rock Creek Road. You’re now on section 2 of the trail. The terrain noticeably changes and you’ll start to see some different scenery including Aspen Trees.

Soon you’ll cross the road again and be on the final section (section 1) of the trail. It continues to parallel both the creek and the road as it climbs the final bit of elevation before ending near Highway 395.

Unless you have arranged a shuttle, return via hiking the way you came and enjoy the fact that it’s all downhill!

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Beautiful scenery. Follows creek entire trail. Four different access points.


Upper sections are close to road.

Trailhead Elevation

4,974.00 ft (1,516.08 m)

Highest point

6,892.00 ft (2,100.68 m)


Near lake or river
Big vistas

Typically multi-day


Suitable for


Permit required




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