Gem Lakes

1 review #9 hike out of 316 in
3.3 mi
1 hrs 48 min
660 ft
Elev Gain


This is a easy one way trail to Gem Lakes in Inyo National Forest.

This trail goes by Marsh Lake, Box Lake, Long Lake, and Gem Lakes.

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    1 week, 4 days ago
    Easy, beautiful hike to Gem Lakes. Walk close to the creek at the beginning, then ascend up some rock steps (~150 feet) and once you get to the top of the incline, go to your left (east) and look down on Mack Lake. Continue down the trail and you can close to the shoreline of Mack Lake. Continue on gently going slight up and slight down-hill... pass the turnoff to Marsh Lake to your left and continue on to beautiful Heart Lake. During the summer it’s usually somewhat crowded here. Continue along the lakeshore and then head uphill until you are overlooking Box Lake. As you continue on towards Long Lake you will have to do a stream crossing... early in the season you will probably get wet... the deeper you get into summer and the snow melt has weakened, you can cross on the rocks rather easily. (There is a possibility that you can take a somewhat defined trail off to your right and get to Long Lake - and hope that the logs someone has placed to cross the creek at Long Lake are still there). After you arrive at Long Lake you will walk near the lake for ~ 0.5 miles then begin another ascent... this is probably the steepest part of the trail... near the top you will see a sign to the left (east) that points you to Chickenfoot Lake. Chickenfoot Lake usually has campers there, it’s a fairly decent size lake so there is plenty of room to still enjoy the peace and quiet. Continuing on... after another 0.5 miles or so, you can see Chickenfoot Lake on your left... as you go along you will see the remains of an old truck frame to your right... Remember, this trail use to be an old mining road back in the day... you will cross one more stream by walking over some specially placed rocks (much easier than the Ling Lake crossing)... you as you start ascending towards Morgan Pass, be on the lookout for a trail to your right... it is right after about 5-10 stair steps... there use to be a sign that pointed you to Gem Lakes, but the last 3-4 times I’ve been to Gem Lakes the sign is nowhere to be found. Go down this path looking to your north (right) and see several small lakes or ponds... then arrive at Gem Lakes and enjoy the magnificent turquoise blue color of the lake. Return the way you came. One additional note, this trail is so popular that if you don’t make it to the trailhead by 0800-ish on summer weekends you will have to park about 0.3 miles down the road. And if you don’t make it there by 0900-ish you might find yourself parking 0.5-0.75 miles (or further) from the trailhead! (I speak from experience!) Weekdays are not quite as bad... you can add an hour to the above times and probably be ok... Have a great hike!
    ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Public Tracks

mcgraham.1986 1 year, 8 months ago
Mosquito Lakes Trailhead > Morgan’s Pass
A million different options just off this main trail with lakes every .5 mile. Highest gate into High Country @Pyramid Peak/Bear Creek Spire. Road is maintained for XC in winter, excellent inroad to backcountry endeavors.
Lorette Ulasich 1 year, 11 months ago
little lakes valley to Gem lake 7/14/17
Little lakes valley to Gem Lake
Stephen Hine 2 years, 9 months ago
Jack Mary Lange 1 year ago
rainsley 1 year, 10 months ago
Lief 2 years ago
rocarr 2 years, 11 months ago
Jack Mary Lange 49 years, 5 months ago