Inyo National Forest

Hikes in Inyo National Forest

Region in California, United States

Inyo National Forest's biodiversity and imposing mountainous terrain make it an ideal wilderness area for hiking! At an impressive 800,000 acres, Inyo National Forest boasts an abundance of routes for all ability levels. Leading you to picturesque lakes, up the summits of grandiose mountains, and alongside charming creeks, Inyo National Forest's hiking network is incredible in its scenery and accessibility.

Since the options for hikes within Inyo National Forest are so copious, we have made a list of some of our favorite hiking routes. While every route stated below is incredible, this list just scratches the surface of the trail possibilities within Inyo National Forest!

The 10 Greatest Hikes In Inyo National Forest

  1. Mount Whitney Trail - The piece de resistance of Inyo National Forest, the Mount Whitney Trail is an incredibly challenging route that boasts amazing sightlines of the surrounding Eastern Sierra Nevada landscape.
  2. Rainbow Falls via Devils Postpile Trail - Taking you past the stunning geological formation of Devils Postpile before delivering you to beautiful Rainbow Falls, you won't want to miss this popular route within Inyo National Forest.
  3. Kennedy Meadow to the Bridge via PCT - A moderately difficult hike, Kennedy Meadow to the Bridge via PCT is regarded as an excellent route to see wildlife as it takes you alongside a charming river and through picturesque meadows.
  4. Treasure Lake Trail - Ideal for intermediate hikers and families with older children, the Treasure Lake Trail delivers you to a pair of stunning lakes, where incredible sightlines can be enjoyed.
  5. June Lake Loop Trail - An excellent location for wildlife viewing, the June Lake Loop Trail is easily accessible and possesses great views of the surrounding Inyo National Forest landscape.
  6. Saddlebag Lake Trail - Circumventing the shoreline of an alluring alpine lake, the Saddlebag Lake Trail is a family-friendly route where you can take your time and enjoy!
  7. Hot Creek Interpretive Trail - The Hot Creek Interpretive Trail is a family-friendly route that takes you on an educational tour of a unique geothermally heated creek.
  8. Crystal Lakes Trail - After traversing a delightful forested section, the Crystal Lakes Trail arrives at a picturesque lake where you will want to stop and have a picnic!
  9. Mammoth Mountain Trail - A trail that leads you up the backside of Mammoth Mountain - a popular ski hill within California - the route is easily accessible and an excellent choice for a day hike with older children.
  10. Sky Meadows Trail - Leading you to a gorgeous alpine meadow, the Sky Meadows Trail is perfect for beginner hikers and families with young children.

When Is The Best Time To Hike In Inyo National Forest?

Although Inyo National Forest is a year-round destination, the best time to hike within its beautiful landscape is during the warmer months - from June till October. During this time the alpine wildflowers bloom, and the cornucopia of life that inhabits the ecosystem is most active - making for an experience that won't soon be forgotten.

Other Outdoor Activities In Inyo National Park

Along with its extensive hiking trail network, Inyo National Forest has no shortage of fun outdoor activities to do! During the warmer months, cyclists bike along the scenic roadways and technical mountain bike paths. Kayakers, canoeists and stand up paddle boarders make their way to the many lakes throughout the area, while rock climbers ascend the imposing cliff faces of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. As fall turns into winter, people ski and snowboard at world famous ski resorts such as Mammoth Mountain, and snowshoe along Inyo National Forests many trails and frozen lakes.

Inyo National Forest Adventure Tours

The Sierra Nevada Mountain range has an amazing variety of professionally guided and planned tours. If interested, take a look at adventure tours in Sierra Nevada.

Frequently Asked Questions About Inyo National Forest

Do I need a permit for Inyo National Forest?

Permits are only required for overnight trips and any route along Mt. Whitney.

How much does it cost to climb Mt Whitney?

Mount Whitney Permits cost $6 to apply and another $15 per person once the permit is granted. Permits are given out through a lottery that takes place annually.

Are campfires allowed in Inyo National Forest?

Outside of designated Inyo National Forest recreational sites, campfires are not permitted.

How many people climb Mt. Whitney each year?

Although approximately 30,000 people attempt to summit Mt. Whiney each year, a fraction of that are actually successful as the route is technically and physically demanding.

Other great Hiking Regions in California

Guide-book quality info for over 8,000 trails

View Hikes in Inyo National Forest on Map

View Map

Best Hikes in Inyo National Forest

Showing 41 to 60 of 73
    Open details for Lower Rock Creek Canyon Trail

    Lower Rock Creek Canyon Trail

    Moderate
    14.2 km
    393 m
    3.5-5h

    A scenic route within Inyo National Forest, the Lower Rock Creek Canyon Trail is an excellent route for intermediate hikes, and families with older children. Autumn is an especially nice time of year to do the route, as the colors of the changing leaves are sublime.

    User Ratings
    No Reviews
    Open details for Silver Lakes Sierras Trail

    Silver Lakes Sierras Trail

    Hard
    19.8 km
    1,021 m
    6.5-9h

    The Silver Lakes Sierras Trail takes you alongside a number of tranquil lakes, all while offering amazing views of the surrounding Inyo National Forest landscape. The route can be done as either a long day hike or broken up into a backpacking trip.

    User Ratings
    No Reviews
    Open details for Hungry Packer Lake Trail

    Hungry Packer Lake Trail

    Hard
    25.3 km
    873 m
    7-9.5h

    The Hungry Packer Lake Trail is a lightly trafficked route within Inyo National Forest. The route can be done throughout one long day or can be broken up into a backpacking trail depending on what kind of experience you are looking for. Regardless of how you choose the route, the Hungry Packer Lake Trail offers incredible sightlines of the surrounding alpine environment.

    User Ratings
    No Reviews
    Open details for Sotcher Lake Trail

    Sotcher Lake Trail

    Easy
    2.7 km
    56 m
    0.5-1h

    A beautiful route, Sotcher Lake Trail is ideal for families and those seeking a more casual hiking experience. Taking you along the shoreline of scenic Sotcher Lake, the trail boasts incredible views of the surrounding Inyo National Forest landscape. Wildlife is also prolific throughout the route, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled!

    User Ratings
    No Reviews
    Open details for Mammoth Pass and McLeod Lake Trail

    Mammoth Pass and McLeod Lake Trail

    Moderate
    12.4 km
    631 m
    4-5.5h

    Mammoth Pass and McLeod Lake Trail is a beautiful route within Inyo National Forest. Traversing the scenic alpine environment of the eastern Sierra Nevada Mountain range, the trail offers incredible views and is regarded as an excellent place to view wildlife.

    User Ratings
    No Reviews
    Open details for Honeymoon Lake Trail

    Honeymoon Lake Trail

    Hard
    18.8 km
    960 m
    6-8.5h

    A fairly long route with a notable amount of elevation incline, the Honeymoon Lake Trail is considered to be a difficult route within Inyo National Forest. The route can either be completed in one long day or can be broken up into a backpacking trip depending on what you are interested in doing.

    User Ratings
    No Reviews
    Open details for Sabrina Basin to Donkey Lake Trail

    Sabrina Basin to Donkey Lake Trail

    Moderate
    12.2 km
    510 m
    3.5-5h

    Sabrina Basin to Donkey Lake Trail is a scenic route within Inyo National Forest that is well suited for intermediate hikers and families with older children. Boasting incredible views of the surrounding eastern Sierra Nevada Mountain range, the route can be done in a day or broken up into a backpacking trip.

    User Ratings
    No Reviews
    Open details for Conness Lake from Saddlebag Lake Trail

    Conness Lake from Saddlebag Lake Trail

    Moderate
    10.1 km
    283 m
    2.5-3.5h

    A scenic route within Inyo National Forest, Conness Lake from Saddlebag Lake Trail is ideal for intermediate hikes and families with older children. Traversing the stunning alpine environment of the eastern Sierra Nevada Mountain range, the beauty of the Conness Lake from Saddlebag Lake Trail will not leave you disappointed.

    User Ratings
    No Reviews
    Open details for Bristlecone Pine Forest to Mexican Mine Ruins Trail

    Bristlecone Pine Forest to Mexican Mine Ruins Trail

    Easy
    2.3 km
    30 m
    0.5h

    The Bristlecone Pine Forest to Mexican Mine Ruins Trail is a unique route within Inyo National Forest that leads to an abandoned mining site. The trail is ideal for history lovers and families with young children as it is both short in distance and lacks a lot of incline.

    User Ratings
    No Reviews
    Open details for Lake George to Emerald Lake via Coldwater Campground Trail

    Lake George to Emerald Lake via Coldwater Campground Trail

    Easy
    8.5 km
    254 m
    2-3h

    An ideal route for families with young children, Lake George to Emerald Lake via Coldwater Campground Trail traverses stunning Inyo National Forest terrain while leading you past a number of beautiful lakes. The route is also considered to be an excellent location for wildlife viewing.

    User Ratings
    No Reviews
    Open details for Methuselah Trail

    Methuselah Trail

    Easy
    6.4 km
    232 m
    2-2.5h

    The Methuselah Trail is a scenic route within Inyo National Forest. Taking you through an ancient pine forest, Methuselah Trail possesses some of the most unique scenery found within the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountain range.

    User Ratings
    No Reviews
    Open details for Lundy to Oneida Lake Trail

    Lundy to Oneida Lake Trail

    Moderate
    13.0 km
    567 m
    4-5.5h

    A scenic route within Inyo National Forest, Lundy to Oneida Lake Trail is ideal for intermediate hikers seeking a longer route. Considered an excellent trail for wildlife viewing, the Lundy to Oneida Lake Trail leads you through gorgeous terrain characteristic of the eastern Sierra Nevada Mountain range.

    User Ratings
    No Reviews
    Open details for Skelton Lake Loop

    Skelton Lake Loop

    Easy
    5.5 km
    262 m
    1.5-2.5h

    A beautiful route within Inyo National Forest, the Skelton Lake Loop traverses the stunning alpine environment of the eastern Sierra Nevada Mountain range. The route brings you alongside several picturesque alpine lakes and is considered to be a great location for wildlife viewing.

    User Ratings
    No Reviews
    Open details for La Hupp Picnic Area To Green Lake Trail

    La Hupp Picnic Area To Green Lake Trail

    Moderate
    8.0 km
    562 m
    3-4h

    A trail that boasts incredible views of the surrounding alpine environment, the La Hupp Picnic Area To Green Lake Trail is an ideal route for intermediate hikers, and families with older children. Taking you alongside charming creeks and picturesque lakes, the trail will not leave you disappointed!

    User Ratings
    No Reviews
    Open details for Yost Creek to Yost Lake Trail

    Yost Creek to Yost Lake Trail

    Moderate
    7.2 km
    546 m
    3-4h

    Yost Creek to Yost Lake Trail is a beautiful route within Inyo National Forest that is ideal for intermediate hikers and families with older children. Boasting great views of the surrounding Inyo National Forest landscape, the route takes you through a scenic forested section before delivering you charming Yost Lake.

    User Ratings
    No Reviews
    Open details for Steelhead Lake via McGee Pass Trail

    Steelhead Lake via McGee Pass Trail

    Hard
    17.9 km
    769 m
    5.5-7.5h

    Steelhead Lake cia McGee Pass Trail is a beautiful route within Inyo National Forest. A longer route with a fair amount of elevation incline, Steelhead Lake via McGee Pass Trail is ideal for more experienced hikers who are seeking a challenge.

    User Ratings
    No Reviews
    Open details for Cirque Lake via Cottonwood Lakes Trail

    Cirque Lake via Cottonwood Lakes Trail

    Hard
    19.0 km
    489 m
    4.5-6.5h

    Cirque Lake via Cottonwood Lakes Trail is an incredible route within the eastern Sierra Nevada Mountain range. Bringing you alongside charming creeks, past beautiful lakes and throughout imposing mountains, the Cirque Lake via Cottonwood Lakes Trail is an excellent choice for your next hike within Inyo National Forest.

    User Ratings
    No Reviews
    Open details for Reversed Peak Trail

    Reversed Peak Trail

    Moderate
    11.1 km
    600 m
    3.5-5h

    Reversed Peak Trail is undoubtedly an underrated route within Inyo National Forest. A lightly trafficked pathway, Reversed Peak Trail boasts mesmerizing sightlines of the surrounding Inyo National Forest landscape and is considered to be an excellent route for wildlife viewing.

    User Ratings
    No Reviews
    Open details for Lone Pine Campground to Whitney Portal Trail

    Lone Pine Campground to Whitney Portal Trail

    Moderate
    10.6 km
    660 m
    3.5-5h

    The Lone Pine Campground to Whitney Portal Trail boasts incredible views of the surrounding landscape. Sightlines of the imposing mountains of the eastern Sierra Nevada range can be enjoyed throughout the route's duration as the pathway takes you alongside charming Lone Pine Creek.

    User Ratings
    No Reviews
    Open details for Cabin Trail to Methuselah Loop

    Cabin Trail to Methuselah Loop

    Moderate
    7.7 km
    295 m
    2-3h

    Cabin Trail to Methuselah Loop is an excellent choice for your next hiking route within Inyo National Forest. Boasting sublime views of the surrounding eastern Sierra Nevada mountain landscape, Cabin Trail to Methuselah Loop is a breathtaking trail that is also considered to be an excellent location for wildlife viewing.

    User Ratings
    No Reviews

    Essential Tools for Any Adventure

    Find a hotel in some of the most beautiful locations on earth.

    Book your own car to have complete freedom on your next adventure.

    Gear-up for your next adventure.

    This page may include affiliate links. We may get a small commission for the purchases made through these links at no additional cost to you.
    We only recommend tools we personally think are great.

    Detailed Route Guides
    Real GPS Coordinates
    Reliable Trail Reports
    Experienced-Based Travel Tips
    GPS App
    Extensive Travel Guides

    Subscribe to our newsletter

    Get a weekly dose of discounts and inspiration for adventure lovers

    Tours

    Routes

    Blogs