FATMAP difficulty grade
The short loop run around Horseshoe Lake is one of the easiest and most-accessible trail runs in the Mammoth Lakes area.
The Lakes Basin area, anchored by Lake Mary, is extremely popular with tourists, meaning that this easy trail is likely to be crowded.
But the area is popular for a good reason: the views of the lakes and the surrounding mountains are simply superb! “The Mammoth Crest escarpment and the southern flank of Mammoth Mountain [serve as a] backdrop” for this run, according to [Mammoth Trails.org](https://www.mammothtrails.org/destination/10/horseshoe-lake/).
“The area is further distinguished by more than 100 acres of tree kill,” they continue.
“Carbon dioxide from cooling magma seeped through the surface after a swarm of small earthquakes hit in 1989-1990.” The level of the lake fluctuates from year to year depending on the amount of snow that fell the previous winter.
In dry years, the water level in the lake very low, which leaves broad expanses of dry sand beaches that families play on.
The trail itself is about as flat and mellow as you’ll find anywhere! Enjoy a leisurely ramble through a forest of incredibly tall pine trees, with views of the mountains and the lake peeking through.
If you finish this run and haven’t had enough, the Lake Mary area serves as a popular trailhead for more ambitious hikes, such as Duck Pass and Mammoth Crest.