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Minaret Lake

Otherworldly views of the Sierra Nevada mountains.

Hiking Difficult

25 km
987 m
987 m
6-7 hrs
Low Point
2.3 km
High Point
3.1 km
Minaret Lake Map

The idyllic alpine scenery at Minaret Lake will stun you into awe and silence. “The jagged peaks of the Minarets are some of the most dramatic scenes in the Sierra,” according to Alice of BackcountryCow.com. This incredible alpine lake is a much sought after hiking destination, but hiking there and back in one day is an ambitious endeavor.


The route mapped here measures 15.6 miles round trip with over 3,200 feet of climbing and descending. While definitely achievable in a single day, many people choose to break this hike into an overnight backpacking trip by spending the night in the majesty of the Minaret Lake basin. Note that if you wish to camp at the lake, you’ll need a permit from Inyo National Forest.

While the hike may seem long, the rewarding scenery isn’t merely reserved for your final destination. Instead, along the hike, you’ll follow "Minaret Creek past meadows, an enormous waterfall, and eventually you'll see the entire range of the Minarets above you,” according to Alice.

But you have to make it all the way to your final destination. "Nothing about the first six miles of the hike gave any hint of the magical scenery held up in Minaret Basin,” writes Alice. "Out of all the places I've backpacked in the Eastern Sierra, the Minarets have to be the most jagged and dramatic section of mountain range in the Sierra."

Sources: https://www.backcountrycow.com/blog/backpacking-minaret-lake-mammoth https://www.mammothtrails.org/trail/106/minaret-lake-trail/ https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/inyo/recarea?recid=20540



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.

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.


3 out of 4

Little chance of being seen or helped in case of an accident.

Best time to visit

between July and October


  • Alpine
  • Picturesque
  • Wild flowers
  • Water features

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area