Cars are comfortable, helicopters are scenic, and horseback riding makes the trip easier, but when it comes down to it there isn’t a better way to enjoy Eastern Sierra fall colors than by hiking.
There is nothing like feeling the cool fall air and hearing the sounds of the wilderness as you walk through the beautiful array of fall colors that blanket Mammoth Lakes and the surrounding area every year. We’ve listed a few of the best hikes for fall colors below to help you get on the trail faster, so keep reading to start planning your fall trip to Mammoth Lakes!
Hikes in Mammoth Lakes
You don’t have to go far to find extraordinary fall colors. Try out these Mammoth Lakes hikes if you’re staying in the area!
The Duck Pass trailhead is located in the Mammoth Lakes Basin near the Coldwater Campground and trail itself is 5.5 miles long. While this trail is one of the longest on our list there are plenty of opportunities to see fall colors all along it, so you can walk as far or little as you want and still walk away satisfied.
Duck Pass begins with a steep incline, but it flattens into a steady ascent that passes lakes, streams, and mountain views on the way to Duck Lake.
For an easier hike that is also in the Mammoth Lakes Basin, try Horseshoe Lake Loop at the end of Lake Mary Road.
Horseshoe Lake Loop is a 1.7-mile trail that circles around Horseshoe Lake. Thanks to the wide path that is mostly free of rocks and other obstructions, the Horseshoe Lake Loop is great option for families and beginner hikers. The Loop trail surface varies between dirt, gravel, and paved surfaces, but you’ll also a sandy lake shore to rest on!
Reds Meadow Valley
Reds Meadow Valley is a great area to explore and experience the beautiful fall colors whether you want to fish, camp, or just hike with your family.
Within Reds Meadow Valley you’ll find a campground, streams, Rainbow Falls Trail, and of course Devils Postpile National Monument which is one of the most unique rock formations you’ll ever see. While these attractions are good places to view fall colors, River Trail is the best in Reds Meadow Valley. River Trail is a 6.1-mile hike, but the golden aspen trees along the way make each step worth it.
Fall Hikes Outside of Mammoth
If you want to get your fill of fall colors by exploring the Eastern Sierras outside of Mammoth Lakes, use these hikes.
For an easy hike that still offers spectacular views, take the Convict Lake Loop.
Convict Lake is only a 15-minute drive from Mammoth Lakes, and the easy loop around the lake showcases the beautiful mountains and fall colors in breathtaking fashion. Plus, Convict Lakes is home to Convict Lake Resort which offers a store and fine-dining restaurant. Combine the resort with the public campground and picnic area, and you can see why Convict Lake is a great place to spend a full day exploring.
McGee Canyon is just over 20 minutes outside of Mammoth Lakes and offers incredible wildflowers in the spring and spectacular colors in the fall.
The trail leading to McGee Canyon travels for 14 miles, but you can walk as far or little as you want and still see beautiful fall colors. Once you see the aspens that run alongside McGee Creek and the mountains beyond though, you may walk further than you thought you could!