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Crystal Lake

A truly stunning alpine lake vista!

Hiking Difficult

4 km
241 m
241 m
1-2 hrs
Low Point
2.8 km
High Point
3 km
Crystal Lake Map

"Crystal Lake, with bird's eye views of the lakes below and the 10,700-foot Crystal Crag as a backdrop, is one of the area's most popular destinations," writes Meghan Miranda on VisitMammoth.com. With the Crystal Crag on one side of the lake and the Mammoth Crest on the other, this short hike leads to some of the best alpine lake views in the region!


While the hike to Crystal Lake isn't long, that doesn't mean it's easy. "The hike to Crystal Lake climbs straight up the hillside in less than a mile and the trail can be steep in some areas," writes Miranda. The steep grade accounts for the "Difficult" trail rating, but other hikers may only consider this to be a moderate hike.

As you survey the view, take a careful look at the Mammoth Crest above you. If you're interested in a more difficult hike, the climb you ascended to reach the lake continues to the top of the Crest, traverses the entire top of the ridge, and then descends back into the Mammoth Lakes Basin via the Duck Pass Trail. The total distance for that loop is 13.1 miles with 3,215 feet of climbing and descending. If you have plenty of energy and supplies, consider tackling that loop, or file it away in the back of your mind for another day.



Hiking trails where obstacles such as rocks or roots are prevalent. Some obstacles can require care to step over or around. At times, the trail can be worn and eroded. The grade of the trail is generally quite steep, and can often lead to strenuous hiking.

Low Exposure

1 out of 4

The path is on completely flat land and potential injury is limited to falling over.


1 out of 4

Close to help in case of emergency.

Best time to visit

between July and October


  • Alpine
  • Picturesque
  • Water features

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area