|Season||Usually Open April-November|
|Terrain||Loose scree with mid size embedded rocks. A stock 4×4 high clearance vehicle should handle no problem,|
|Difficulty||Moderate/rocky climb with potential snow on higher elevations depending on previous snow season|
|Required Vehicle||Stock, high-clearance 4×4. Inexperienced drivers may be intimidated by potential for wheel slippage.|
|Time||1.5 hours one way|
Directions to Laurel Lakes: 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.
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 uphill 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.
Inyo National Forest: For primitive camping, fishing or back country hiking
|Reservations||Can be made 6 months in advance at Recreation.gov|
|Permit Info||A 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 Town||Mammoth Lakes|
|Water||Water from creeks, lakes and springs should be treated before drinking.|
|Restroom||Please Leave No Trace. Bury human waste away from water sources.|
|Operated By||Forest Service|
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