Crystal Lake Trail

This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
5.0 km
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
254 m
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Directions to Trailhead

A stunning route, Crystal Lake Trail traverses some lovely forested terrain before arriving at picturesque Crystal Lake. A fairly short route, Crystal Lake Trail is both family friendly and easily accessible. The route boasts incredible views of the surrounding Inyo Forest Landscape and is regarded as an excellent place to see wildlife.

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Route Description for Crystal Lake Trail

Crystal Lake Trail is a popular route within Inyo National Forest, and because of this, we recommend starting the route earlier in the morning so as to avoid the larger crowds that often develop later in the day. The trail is also fairly steep in sections, and while it is appropriate for all skill levels, it can become rather slippery if any snow is on the ground.

Crystal Lake Trail is an excellent choice for your next hiking adventure simply because of how accessible and family friendly it is. While longer, more challenging routes can be lots of fun for the right people, sometimes it's nice to just enjoy a straightforward trail that doesn't take up your entire day. Crystal Lake Trail is also an excellent place to view wildlife, and boasts incredible views throughout its duration.

Having arrived at the trailhead, follow the Crystal Lake Trail northeast. Almost immediately, the trail veers sharply to the southeast and begins to incline in elevation. With George Lake visible to the west, the Crystal Lake Trail will then turn into a series of switchbacks to help aid you in your incline of the elevation.

With the switchback portion of the route completed, you will arrive at a junction within the trail. At the junction, stay on Crystal Lake Trail by taking the western pathway. A few hundred feet after the junction, the elevation incline will taper off, and the trail will deliver you to beautiful Crystal Lake. Enjoy the scenery and maybe stop for a picnic before backtracking your steps towards the trailhead.

Trail Highlights

Crystal Crag

A picturesque granite monolith located adjacent to Crystal Lake, Crystal Crag is a sight to behold. Standing at 3,158 m, Crystal Crag is a popular rock climbing and mountaineering destination, as its imposing cliff faces are well suited for alpine activities. Its huge scale and unique shape make it one of the most recognizable features within the area.

Insider Hints for Crystal Lake Trail

  • Hungry after your trip? Check out John’s Pizza Works in Mammoth Lakes for some grub!
  • Wear a good pair of hiking boots. Your ankles and knees will thank you!
  • Bring some extra layers of clothing - it can get chilly at higher elevations.
  • A fan of independent breweries? Mammoth Brew Co. has an excellent selection of locally brewed beer.

Getting to the Crystal Lake Trail Trailhead

The trailhead for Crystal Lake Trail is located off of Lake George Road.

Route Information

  • Backcountry Campground

    Crystal Lake Trail

  • When to do


  • Pets allowed


  • Family friendly


  • Route Signage


  • Crowd Levels


  • Route Type

    Out and back

Crystal Lake Trail Elevation Graph

Weather Forecast

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Crystal Lake Trail Reviews

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