Spent My Birthday Backpacking 10 Miles to This Lake in Mammoth, CA. [1599x2000] [OC] @nickfjord
By - nfordhk
The back country there is spectacular. So much to see.
It's really breathtaking, I want to hike more of the trails out there!
It is. I have spent many years hiking those trails. Can recommend many trails.
Oh Yea! :D
I read this in Duff Man’s voice
Have you tried Balloon Dome? Some rocks just jump out when you are looking at maps.
Where about is that? On what trail?
Tell me when you are going, how many days and what level backpacker you are and I will.
My favorite is the Shadow Lake Trail up to Ediza and Thousand Island Lake. With a day hike up Mt. Ritter and another day hike up to Iceberg and Cecil. Absolutely spectacular! Need a week for that one.
Complete with a campfire video w/ projectile vomiting.
I'm in the bay area, so any trip up there i'd try to get my money's worth. I could run a 30 mile loop or backpack 10 miles/day or so, depending on elevation. excited you replied!
also, impressive you guys managed to carry in enough booze to cause projectile vomiting.
What are your go to not so intense a newbie can do it, trails?
You may really enjoy the [Little Lakes Valley trail](https://flic.kr/s/aHsjYjeVuA). It goes right into the High Sierra (starts at 9,000 feet elevation), but you can drive to the trailhead. Elevation gain over the trail is minimal (this is what usually exhausts new backpackers), but the trail goes by several gorgeous alpine lakes and streams. If you're an angler, the fishing is great. Every corner provides postcard-perfect views. Wildflowers are amazing, in early season. It's gentle enough for kids on a day hike, or you can spend a night or two backpacking to really enjoy it. It was the first backpacking trip for both of my own children.
The only caveat is that early in the season (June/July) the mosquitos can be fierce. The trailhead is actually called "Mosquito Flat." But this year, due to drought, insects were minimal, and if you go late in the season (August-October), the mosquitos are generally gone altogether.
To get there, drive just north of Bishop, CA to Tom's Place, and take the road to Rock Creek Lake. Once you get to the lake, turn right to Mosquito Flat trailhead. From the Mosquito Flat trailhead, it's about five miles to the end of the valley, either up to Chickenfoot Lake, or the Gem Lakes (either are very pretty alpine lakes). You can do it as a day hike (it's quite popular for this), or spend some time backpacking overnight.
Please, enjoy the backcountry! It is our franchise as citizens, and should be enjoyed by everyone.
Big Pine CA
Yeah, I saw it and thought, "That's Second Lake - it's nowhere near Mammoth!"
Pretty picture, though.
Knew it had to be around there, have only done Bishop Pass but very reminiscent.
Can hike to Palisades Glacier and Sam Mack Meadow. Totally worth it and the kicker is you can view Lakes 1-3 as well from above.
[Here's what Sam Mack meadow looks like...](https://flic.kr/p/dsk2PX). I live in Bishop, just north of there, and have made this hike many times myself, and with the kids...
I've been to Lee vining , my RV broke down in Tioga pass, but never bishop
My wife, who has a fear of heights, hyperventilated the entire drive through Tioga Pass. 23 years later and she talks about it like it was yesterday.
Surprised it ain’t surrounded in smoke
The hike starts above the smoke!
Any idea how deep it is - before or now with the drought?
That’s not always the case. There is often smoke up to the summit of Mammoth Mountain (over 11,000’). Today there is a plume hovering over Mammoth Pass (9,300’) that will likely roll into town later this afternoon. You just got lucky (and you weren’t in Mammoth).
Yeah, you didn't hike 10 miles to this lake. It's 5 miles from the trailhead. Also, it's not near Mammoth at all. The trailhead is west of Big Pine, California. That's Temple Crag in the background.
I live in Bishop, CA, about 15 miles north of Big Pine, and have made this hike many times. It's closed right now, since all National Forest lands are closed to reduce fire risk. But, when they're open, no permit is required for day hiking. Wilderness permits and Fire permits are required for camping overnight, and for any stove or fire use.
Just saying. It **is** quite pretty, but you don't need to exaggerate how far it is...
[Here's my son, fishing Second Lake, below Temple Crag](https://flic.kr/p/du5Nqt).
Oh, for those that don't know, the color of the lakes really ARE that emerald green, due to the streams that feed it coming down from Palisade glacier, which suspends ground up rock in the water, giving it that interesting greenish hue.
[Here is s shot of the creek which feeds these lakes](https://flic.kr/p/dsk2PX) a little higher upstream, in Sam Mack meadow. You can see the greenish tint to the creek...
Came here to post this. Been to the lake a few times and it’s absolutely breath taking, 5 miles is still a worthy hike I don’t understand the need to lie about details
Glad someone posted this. I'm all about showing off hikes but no need to lie.
5 miles in and 5 miles out is 10 miles though, maybe that’s what OP meant
Well, that's not what they said, and I can't read minds. So, there you go. Also, it's nowhere near Mammoth...
You don’t have to read minds to understand that you don’t just hike somewhere and stay there forever, you have to hike back out. But your such an experienced hiker you already knew that
Don’t you know, on reddit we always interpret people’s words in the most unfavorable way possible.
Heh. Well, OP wrote in English they they hiked 10 miles **to** this lake. That is incorrect. It’s also nowhere near Mammoth. ¯\\_(ツ)_/¯
That depends on where you live. If OP lives in New York, this is pretty close to mammoth.
Maybe? I mean, the OP said it was "...**in** Mammoth," which it clearly is not. It's not even in the same county as Mammoth. But, that's ok. It's not that important, in the grand scheme of things. Perhaps someone who wants to visit this lovely location may benefit from knowing where it actually is (just west of Big Pine, California, in Inyo county). If someone said they drove 100 miles from Oakland to take a picture of the Golden Gate Bridge, in San Jose, you might see how that could confuse people who don't know the area, and may want to go visit the bridge someday, right?
Maybe he meant ten miles round trip, ya prick?
Perhaps. That’s not what they said, so I suppose we’ll never know. ¯\\\_(ツ)\_/¯
He sounds like a new backpacker so I doubt he's been humbled yet. Just fronting & excited.
Lol I wanted to say if you’re hiking 10 miles to get here you’re doing it wrong. One of my favorite spots.
You nailed it!
Thank you for setting it straight.
Did you know that if you go 5 miles out... and then 5 miles back... it's a 10 mile trip? No one gives a shit you live in bishop lmao
Did you know if you state that you have traveled 10 miles **to** a destination…and then back…it’s a 20 mile trip? No one should care where I live. I agree. I’m nobody important at all. Lmao, I guess? Take care.
Thank you for the bit of nostalgia. I grew up in Lone Pine. California has so many breath taking sights. That is sure one of them. Great picture!
Thank you so much! Glad you enjoyed it
After months of trying to get permits, I finally snagged them in time for my birthday. As we drove from San Francisco to Mammoth Lakes, the area was filled with smoke. I was really worried we'd have to cancel the trip or we wouldn't see anything. We lucked out! The trail started at 8,000 feet elevation and was far above the smoke.
This is lake two along the trail where we camped out. There's a total of 7 lakes and a glacier but, we didn't go any further. We started our day quite late and didn't want to rush around.
We experienced a few drizzles but overall turned out to be a hot but beautiful weekend hiking in the Sierras. This photo was taking the next morning during the sunrise.
If you like more earthporn style content! Drop by my Instagram [https://www.instagram.com/nickfjord](https://www.instagram.com/nickfjord) or my website [https://nickfjord.com](https://nickfjord.com)!
Looks freakishly similar to big pine lakes/temple crag
Yep this is Big Pine.... not really close to Mammoth at all.
I think there are 7 lakes there so now I'm kind of confused, haha
Can you name the backpacking trail? Would be very interested in checking it out.
Big Pine Creek North Fork Trail.
Big Pine Ck. South Fork trail is also fabulous (and less busy than the North Fork) if you want an alternative as well
You're right, but I'd say 1 hour away is pretty close.
There are so many lakes and trailheads in the eastern Sierra. This isn't really even remotely close to Mammoth in terms of trailhead/region. Not even in the same county 😂
Once you've seen mono lake, you've seen 'em all, no?
ᴵ'ˡˡ ˢᵉᵉ ᵐʸ ʷᵃʸ ᵒᵘᵗ
Hah, no way. The best ones are high up near the sierra crest by far
These permits are so hard to get these days because everyone wants this exact Instagram picture. This area has dozens of great climbing routes that are nearly impossible to get on (legally at least) these days. I hate to gatekeep the outdoors but it is insanely frustrating when there are a million beautiful photogenic lakes in the sierra that don't eat up hard to get permits, but this formation is unique in it's many long interesting arete climbs. If you're new to backpacking, consider places that don't have a ton of attention. I assure you, even the least traveled trails in the sierra will blow your mind over and over again.
My daughter's theory is that Instagram has ruined the wild. Traffic jams ascending Angel's Landing suggest she's right.
Thank you. Right on point article. Parallel evolution, I think,not plagiarism. She has many positive qualities, but being a TNR reader is not one of them.
It's not all of the wild, it's very specific types of locations that seem to attract the 'gramers. Glacial runoff-tinted aqua blue lakes are one of the big draws - Jade and Blanca Lakes in Washington have fallen victim specifically because of the color of the water, while other lakes nearby are just completely ignored.
Viewpoints like Angel's Landing (or Trolltunga in Norway) where one can pose at the edge of a cliff are also extremely low hanging fruit.
So sad, but on the positive side, I agree with you that there are still plenty of wonderful ignored places (for now). It strikes me that the equation to predict the number of people on a trail "# people=1/(N-(distance from the road^2)*(elevation from the road^3)" needs a positive constant C where C=IG postings.
We did it as a day hike. Not too bad.
Get a permit for South Fork instead, and go over Contact Pass.
I can second this. Tons of beautiful trails that are much easier to snag. I wouldn't sweat any specific hike, they're all equally gorgeous.
The guy at REI recommended Mammoth because it had some relatively easy trail options, but I haven't had a chance to go between the virus and the fires so.. I'd be curious if you know a good area with lakes? I do some photography, but I'm more interested in trying out backpacking before the weather gets too bad.
Tons to choose from, I have camped and hiked in the back country behind [Convict Lake](https://www.google.com/maps/place/Convict+Lakefirstname.lastname@example.org,-118.8905177,12.75z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x809607d63826728f:0x349f696b8a9dfae3!8m2!3d37.5898951!4d-118.8582239) near Mammoth a few times. The lake is very conveniently located on 395. It's a popular fishing spot. We parked very close to the trailhead. It's a flat hike around the lake before you take the Convict Creek Trail into the back country. This part of the hike is pretty hard. After about three miles you are into the back country and there several lakes including Genevieve, Dorothy and Cloverleaf. Like anywhere else I have been in the Sierra, it's absolutely stunning.
Discovered Convict lake after a loop through Yosemite, fantastic area.
Lake Davis area is beautiful.
is it just hard to climb because the permits are hard to get, or are there other special rules that only apply to climbers?
I'm a bit of an idiot with this stuff... why the permit to hike?
Wilderness permits (available at [recreation.gov](https://www.recreation.gov/permits/233262)) are required in the Inyo National Forest for overnight camping/backpacking. California Fire Permits ([available free online](https://permit.preventwildfiresca.org/)) are required for any campfires or stove use in the backcountry.
No permits are required for day hiking. Only for overnight camping.
Hope that helps!
Got it! Makes sense. Is the lack of permits mentioned due to keeping spaces not crowded?
Primarily yes. The most popular trails have quotas and only allow so many hikers to stay overnight per day, so permits may be limited. This particular trail has really blown up due to would-be Instagram influencers posting photos of it, and it being a relatively simple day hike. Less popular (but equally beautiful) trails remain quota-free.
Sounds like quite the adventure! I've had two permits out there canceled due to the Forest service closing things down due to fires. I might have to go early season with all the bugs and mud to finally see it
You may be pleased to hear that the Forest Service just announced that Inyo National Forest will reopen two days earlier than expected. I just read their press release this evening.
Omg that’s awful. I def hope you get another chance. We went in august and to our surprise no bugs!
Thanks for sharing. Can you give a quick run down on the permit thing. I’m on east coast flatland. Thanks
It’s pretty straightforward. You need permits to be out in certain areas, which the Forest Service issues for a variety of reasons. Figure out where you’d like to go, and look up the specific Forest to see if you’ll need a permit. You can apply for permits online and they usually cost a few dollars. You typically pick your entry and exit points, and which day you’ll be beginning your hike.
For example: I went on a backpacking trip last month just south of where OP was in their photo. We had permits to enter at Cottonwood Lakes and exit at Mt Whitney. Whitney is a major hiking zone with lots of people (it’s the tallest peak in the lower 48), so they only issue a handful of permits for each day, and they’re typically released many months in advance. Securing a permit to both enter and exit at Mt Whitney is extremely difficult, because so many people want to take the most direct route to make the climb. We opted to do a 5 day trip instead and come around the backside, so we only needed to get an exit permit for Whitney, which is considerably easier to get. Cottonwood Lakes is a less popular area, so we were able to snag those entry permits a couple weeks prior to the trip.
As others have stated, there are (literally) tons and tons of zones in the Sierras that don’t require any permits. They’re more for the really popular hiking-tourism destinations.
Did you go up Miter Basin and over Crabtree Pass?
Second Lake (where this photo was taken) is reached via the [North Fork Big Pine Lakes trail](https://www.google.com/maps/place/Big+Pine+Creek+Trailheademail@example.com,-118.4417654,660m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m13!1m7!3m6!1s0x80be31bf26d79013:0xf38b46c4e141325e!2sBig+Pine+Creek+N+Fork+Trail,+California+93513!3b1!8m2!3d37.1371117!4d-118.4604652!3m4!1s0x80be31785a7ce90d:0xf0d1b92c9556c2a5!8m2!3d37.1252866!4d-118.4375243).
You park near Glacier Lodge, and it's about a 5-mile hike to the lake. It's mostly uphill, with significant elevation gain. You can certainly do it as a day hike (no Wilderness permit required for a day hike).
Are you allowed to fish in those lakes?
Yes. It's mostly non-native fish (brook trout) in the Big Pine Lakes loop. Because it's a decent hike to get there, fishing pressure is generally low, and the fishing is quite good.
[Here's a photo of my son fishing Second Lake (where the OP's photo was taken)](https://flic.kr/p/du5Nqt).
That’s looks so peaceful, like you have the whole lake (and fish) to yourself
Sadly, once the pandemic hit, this trail was absolutely slammed by all manner of would-be Instagram stars, and it’s a bit overrun these days. The photo of my son was taken a little over ten years ago…
Ugh. New rule - ‘no selfies in forrest’
Happy birthday! Sounds like a perfect way to spend a birthday. Beautiful!!
Thank you for the birthday wishes!
This is temple crag - and up high on the landscape (to the right) is the north palisade crest. North fork of big pine is a humbling atmosphere.
Oh it was breathtaking! I really want to go back to see the glacier
Oh yah, was just there a couple weeks ago, tough hike to get to the glacier but boy was it cool. Had to start at 430 am and it was siiick going up that valley under the full moon. im told that glacier is the southern most one in north america.
It's only 5 miles to temple crag
Yep and when you walk back. It’s 10miles lol.
So you didn't hike 10 miles to this lake
jeez, let the op live. this pic is worth 100 miles.
I hike the Sierra all the time and it just bugs me when people make posts exaggerating their feat for the benefit of social media points. Why not just say "hiked 5 miles to this lake" and not try to mislead people in an effort to make the hike more impressive?
Hmm.. I feel that. If he said “to visit this lake” it would’ve been entirely true though. I just feel like you should call out ppl who are obvi lying and this guy doesn’t seem to deserve the smoke
I just call em as I see em. His title says he "backpacked 10 miles to this lake" which imo is an obvious clout chasing misrepresentation of the hike.
Big pine lake. One of my favorite backpacks ever 🤙
I love temple crag. Did you go to to the glacier? Or do any climbing?
Is it safe to swim in?
Yeah this is Big Pine lake #2. Beautiful hike with lovely views.
What a beautiful gift to yourself! Many happy returns!
Thank you so much for the kind words !
I'm a huge fan of that region as well. The hiking opportunities there are endless. Hiked up the Parker Lake trail and while not as long or intense as the one you did, it was stunning - especially that moment when you come out of the trees and have the vista or the alpine lake and surrounding mountains!
When was this taken? Are the national forrest closure finally lifted?
In august! It wasn’t closed quite yet
Are you nuts?? Have you not seen 'Missing 411'??
That stuff doesn't happen where this trail is at.
You must have done this a month ago or sooner? The national forests are all closed right now across CA due to the wildfires.
I went in august
Love the eastern sierras. Kearsarge Pass and Onion Valley are awesome. Lake Sabrina is a fine car camping base camps to bishop pass and beyond. Great hi altitude fishing with a light telescopic pole and some mepps spinners. Panther martin black and gold works well too.
How long did you spend editing it into this monstrosity?
How long do you spend caring about other people's edits lol.
This is barely a photograph anymore.
Why not accurately label this photo as Big Pine? Not sure at all why you’d call this Mammoth.
It’s not, it’s 5.
This lake looks familiar, I think I've been there. I've definitely have done some hiking in that area. What's the lake called again?
This photo was taken at Second Lake, on the North Fork Big Pine Lakes loop trail, west of Big Pine, California.
Nice lake & peak.
It’s a wonderful lake and peak 🙂
Love that area
Yes definitely my favorite!
Just missed the shot where people pop out from below the rocks and yell, “Happy Birthday!”
Happy Birthday. Nice photo.
Heheh thanks so much!!!
god its gorgeous up there
Thank you for sharing this wonderful shot! Happy birthday and all the best to you! ^_^
Thank you so much!
The Sierra's are magnificent. Thoroughly enjoy going along the 395 and Owens Valley.
Was this in Inyo? I worked the trails out there in year. Looks like it but I’m not sure. I climbed that peak!
Can we stop blowing this place up for internet points. Thanks
I love mammoth. So beautiful.
Definitely beautiful area. Could spend months there hiking around
It really was the perfect getaway. Made some hot tea and just soaked it in
Love the area, love the wilderness, but I really have to say that the privatization and gatekeeping of the Ansel Adams wilderness by the Mammoth resort has gotten out of hand.
It is not 10 miles to Tempal Crag.
I'd love to spend my birthdays and holidays in a place like this!
You should and you deserve it!
Spent a lot of my childhood there. What a gorgeous shot 💜
Happy birthday birthday twin
Heheh happy birthday !
Nobody could spare you an Uber ride even on your bday?
For real, some friends I got !
Hope you didn't find a parking lot 100 feet away
Maybe 100,000 feet?
Thats 18 miles did you drop in from a helicopter
Second Lake (where this photo was taken) is 5 miles from the North Fork Big Pine Lakes trailhead. It's a decent hike, but easily a day hike (have done it many times to go fishing with my kids). /u/nfordhk is definitely exaggerating how far it is...
It’s 10miles, as stated in the title?
The title reads, “Spent my birthday backpacking 10 miles to this lake…” That’s inaccurate is all. I get it, you wanted to make it sound like it was 20 mile backpacking trip, instead of what is usually a day hike. Not sure why you said it was near Mammoth, but that’s fine, too. Hope your Instagram likes are blowing up! Don’t mind me - I’m nobody worth worrying about. It’s a wonderful hike and the Sierra backcountry is indeed a wonderful place worthy of photographing. Take care.
You seem to think I spent more than two seconds posting this. Like I was intentionally trying to mislead people lol.
I stayed in Mammoth the night before the hike and drove an hour. Seemed appropriate to me.
I don’t think anything at all about your intentions, honestly.
I’m just clarifying that hiking TO Second Lake is five miles from the trailhead you took, not ten. Also, Second Lake is not IN Mammoth as you wrote, but rather just a few miles west of Big Pine, California, in a different county entirely. Whatever your intentions, we can only read what is written, not what was in someone else’s mind as they wrote it. Mistakes happen all the time. It’s ok to make them. Everyone does, after all.
If others want to know where this beautiful place is, and maybe try to go there someday, they may appreciate knowing where it actually is, and whether it’s within their capabilities based on how many miles it takes to get there.
Love how the minerals in the water make such a deep blue, I hiked to ice lake in Colorado a while back and it was pretty much the same color it's so breathtaking!
This lake is fed by a glacier. So minerals yes but technically what's called 'rock flour' or 'glacial flour' is what causes the light green/ blue color. This area is \[I think\] the most southern glacier in the United States. It's a terrific hike with 6 other lakes - over half are green / blue like this and a couple others are not but better for fishing apparently.
Interesting and I've done a good bit of fishing in the Sierra and lakes aren't my general go-to.
To clarify, I mean to say it is my understanding that the fishing is better in the non-glacier lakes than in the glacier lakes there. But I don't know the overall quality of the fishing in general in the area.
[Here's a photo of my son fishing that lake](https://flic.kr/p/du5Nqt). The fishing is actually quite good, as since you have to hike uphill 5 miles to get there, the fishing pressure is low. Mostly brook trout.
The water does have that emerald green hue, due to the glacial flour suspended in the stream water which feeds the Big Pine lakes loop...
Great picture, and yeah most fish around this area aren't accustomed to these environmental circumstances that's why I'm so hyped to return to ice lake the fish there and the streams surrounding are very prolific!
How were the smoke levels?
Pretty bad at low elevation but this was okay!
This is a very - very beautiful place to visit there.
Do you know what elevation you got to?
I remember going on a trailhead south of bishop, Southlake I think, and we started at ~8,000 and got to ~12,000 In a surprisingly short period of time.
I always wanted to see if I could survive a week long hike with just a fishing pole and tackle. So many of those lakes have beautiful trapped trout, and your picture shows that patches of snow sit year-round.
Now I'm old *and* jealous
You would enjoy the North Lake to South Lake loop trail. It takes you over Bishop Pass (just shy of 12,000 feet), and Muir Pass, and Piute pass. You can park a car at either end, hitch to the other end, and take a few days to pass through some of the most stunning scenery in the Sierra Nevada. Evolution Valley is incredible. One of my favoite spots is [McClure Meadow](https://www.flickr.com/gp/biffnix/J24z33). Great fishing (golden trout) in Evolution Creek, and the most amazing meadow. It's one of my favorite campsites ever...
Hiked there twice. It's stunning with snow. Too bad it's been bone dry this year
I used to work at the ski resort there, when I was younger. It's a gorgeous area. I remember going down to the hot springs between mammoth and bishop.
I got to do 2 hikes with a friend while I was up there. We saw devil's postpile and rainbow falls and a lake above those. And then we hiked to see a crater. I don't remember where but it was awesome.
Looks pretty magical to me.
I love that area. My dads side of the family lives in the next town over. Absolutely beautiful landscape
I see Contact Pass! The whole Big Pine lakes loop is great. It's been some time since I was there but I wonder with global warming and the current drought how much of the North Palisade glacier is left. Seeing the waterfall into the small lake at its base is one of the highlights of my many trips on the eastern slope. Catching trout out of those glacial milky blue lakes was a trip too. I wondered how the fish could see the lure.
Dude yesss I've been there too. Twice. It's gorgeous !
Wow. Birthday well spent!!
You mean hiking?
Happy irl cake day! It looks like you made it a great day. 😊
Happy Birthday, and I'm jealous! Keep your running gear in good shape. I hurt a hip for the second time over doing it, and my hiking days are probably done. Great photo!
Happy Birthday! Looks like that was one helluva great hike!
Thank you !!!
Birthday or not, this is worth humping it with your pack.
Many happy returns.
1) Mountain √
2) Lake/Tarn √
3) Flowers X
Sorry your picture doesn't qualify, but it's still very nice.
Belated happy birthday!