Little Lakes Valley to Gem Lakes Trail

Difficulty
This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
Moderate
Duration
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.
3-4.5h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
12.9 km
Elevation
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.
323 m
User Ratings
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Directions to Trailhead
Little Lakes Valley to Gem Lakes Trail

The Little Lakes Valley to Gem Lakes Trail is an incredible route that brings you to a number of picturesque lakes within Inyo National Forest. Fairly long, and with a sizable amount of elevation gain, the Little Lakes Valley to Gem Lakes Trail is rated as moderately difficult and is therefore appropriate for intermediate hikers and families with older children.

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Route Description for Little Lakes Valley to Gem Lakes Trail

As Little Lakes Valley to Gem Lakes Trail is a popular route within Inyo National Forest, parking can be hard to find. We suggest arriving earlier in the morning in order to find parking, but to also avoid the larger crowds sometimes found throughout the trail midday. Those who are seeking a more secluded hiking experience may want to skip Little Lakes Valley to Gem Lakes Trail in favor of a less frequented route within Inyo National Forest.

From the trailhead, follow Little Lakes Valley Trail south over steadily inclining terrain. After crossing a number of streams, the path will arrive at Mack Lake, where it will then continue southward. The Little Lakes Valley Trail will plateau both before and after Marsh Lake, and will then cross two more streams as it makes its way towards Heart Lake.

After passing alongside Heart Lake, the pathway will bring you adjacent to Box Lake, and through a scenic meadow section, before arriving at Long Lake. From here, the elevation begins to incline at a greater rate as the route brings to you Chickenfoot, and eventually Gem Lake. After arriving at Gem Lake, take this opportunity to rest and enjoy the scenery before backtracking your steps towards the trailhead.

Getting to the Little Lakes Valley to Gem Lakes Trail Trailhead

The trailhead for Little Lakes Valley to Gem Lakes Trail is located at a parking lot off of Rock Creek Road.

Route Information

  • When to do

    July-September

  • Pets allowed

    Yes - On Leash

  • Family friendly

    Older Children only

  • Route Signage

    Average

  • Crowd Levels

    High

  • Route Type

    Out and back

Little Lakes Valley to Gem Lakes Trail Elevation Graph

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