Beside Laurel Lake
Beside Laurel Lake
Inyo National Forest-Bottom of Laurel Lakes Trail
Heading up Laurel Lakes Trail
GPS37.62266815   -118.9085818
Elevation7,300-10,000 feet
SeasonUsually Open April-November
TerrainLoose scree with mid size embedded rocks. A stock 4×4 high clearance vehicle should handle no problem,
DifficultyModerate/rocky climb with potential snow on higher elevations depending on previous snow season
Required VehicleStock, high-clearance 4×4. Inexperienced drivers may be intimidated by potential for wheel slippage.
Time1.5 hours one way
Inyo National Forest-Trailhead Laurel Lakes
Inyo National Forest-Trailhead Laurel Lakes

Directions Exit Hwy 395 to Mammoth Lakes on Hwy 203. From the Town of Mammoth Lakes, follow Old Mammoth Rd to Sherwin Creek dirt road. West of Sherwin Creek campground and picnic area a rough high clearance 4×4 road marker indicates the Laurel Lake trailhead.

Trail Length and Description  Trail length is 4.5 miles one way. This is an easy to get to gem of a trail close to Mammoth Lakes town. It’s a short trail in mileage, but relatively slow going due to up hill nature and loose, rocky terrain. There are few passing spots so slow down and be prepared to wait to let on going vehicles pass. (slow down and enjoy pulling over and looking at the incredible scenery). Half way along the trail (4S86) you’ll see campsite opportunities next to Laurel Creek. Well worth the stop and a beautiful area to pitch. The final descent down to the lake is a hard sharp dog-leg that may require backing up to get around. We saw a trailer camped at the lake, but this wouldn’t be something we’d attempt to do. A TAP recommended place to pitch a backcountry camp spot or simply spend the day trout fishing. For the swimmers amongst us, be aware the water is COLD.

TAP NOTE:  Laurel Lake is at 10,000ft so weather conditions can change quickly and trail conditions vary from year to year. Remember this is high mountain elevation. Come prepared.

Veiw of Laurel Lake from the trail
Veiw of Laurel Lake from the trail

Inyo National Forest: For primitive camping, fishing or back country hiking 

Reservations Can be made 6 months in advance at Recreation.gov
Permit InfoA John Muir Wilderness permit is required year round for overnight trips. Day use does not require a permit.
Restrictions-John Muir Wilderness regulations apply- No campfires above 10,000- Food and refuse must be stored so that animals cannot get into the food or trash.- Fishing restrictions: minimum size limit of 14 inches, artificial lures with barbless hooks. Bag limit is 2 per day: 2 in possession.- Groups cannot be larger than 15 people.- Quota of 8 people permitted to start overnight trips each day from May 1 to November 1.
Closest TownMammoth Lakes
WaterWater from creeks, lakes and springs should be treated before drinking.
RestroomPlease Leave No Trace. Bury human waste away from water sources.
Operated ByForest Service
Inyo National Forest-Laurel Lake
Inyo National Forest-Laurel Lake

 Information Center Information:  For wilderness permit information call (760) 873-2483; or for area information call the Mammoth Lakes Welcome Center (760) 924-5500

Inyo National Forest Contact Information: Inyo National Forest 
351 Pacu Lane 
Suite 200
 Bishop, CA 93514   Tel: 760-873-2400

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primative camp spot along laurel lake trail
Primative camp spot along Laurel Lake trail

Bluedog at campsite on the way to Laurel lake
Bluedog at campsite on the way to Laurel lake

Rubi going up to Laurel Lake
Rubi going up to Laurel Lake
Beside Laurel Lake

TAP rigs ascending to Laurel lake
TAP rigs ascending to Laurel Lake

Stream butterflies
Stream butterflies

stream above Laurel Lake
Stream coming from Laurel Lake