Pets allowed
Elevation Gain
363.00 ft (110.64 m)
Trail type
1.70 mi (2.74 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 McLeod Lake Trail is an easy and surprisingly underused hike to quickly access a picturesque and serene Sierra alpine lake.

The trailhead is accessed at the end of Lake Mary Road and shares a parking lot with the dwindling Horseshoe Lake. The effects of California’s drought can’t be missed here. You're also sure to notice hundreds of acres of dead trees, a result of carbon dioxide that seeps from the ground near Mammoth Mountain, which is a relatively young volcano.

The well marked trail starts at just under 9,000 feet in elevation and is shared with the Mammoth Pass Trail. The path is wide and sandy with a short section of steep climbing, but it is generally level terrain with only around 300 feet of elevation gain. The hike to the lake is just under a half mile, and the sand and thin forest around the shore makes a loop around the lake a nice way to extend your trip.

The crystal clear water is mesmerizing, and it makes the shore a great picnic destination. You may also be sharing this place with the occasional fisherman as it’s a great spot for those enjoying catch and release fishing; it’s also an excellent hike for dogs. This trail is also a perfect choice for families or those looking to acclimate to higher altitudes.

Note that Lake Mary Road is closed from mid-November to mid-April, so if you want to explore up here during the snowier months you'll have to ski or snowshoe in for an additional 5 miles (which may make this adventure even better).

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

Not Required


Short hike. Pristine lake. Not crowded. Fishing.


Steep sections. Parking lot at Horseshoe Lake can be filled.

Trailhead Elevation

8,990.00 ft (2,740.15 m)


Bird watching
Old-growth forest
Geologically significant



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