ROCK CREEK CANYON
INYO NATIONAL FOREST
Mosquito Flat Trailhead is located at the end of Rock Creek Road. From Hwy. 395, turn at Tom's Place and continue up Rock Creek Canyon to end of road. Trailhead parking is at Mosquito Flat. At an elevation of 10,300 feet, Mosquito Flat starts at an altitude many trails struggle to attain. As a result, this area is perfect for even the most inexperienced hiker due to its accessibility to easy trails. The area is a haven for photographers, fishermen, botanists, backpackers, and anyone who loves the backcountry. Two very popular hikes can be started from Mosquito Flat ranging from easy to strenuous, both leading to spectacular areas of Rock Creek's backcountry.
TRAILHEAD ELEVATION - 10,300 ft.
HIGHEST ELEVATION -
TRAIL DIFFICULTY - easy to strenuous
LITTLE LAKES VALLEY & MONO PASS and MORGAN PASS TRAILS
In Little Lakes Valley, glacial activity is portrayed vividly. This charming valley surrounded by 13,000 ft. peaks (Mt. Mills, Dade, Abbot, and Bear Creek Spire) has the typical U-shaped profile of a glacier carved canyon. Small lakes now top the lateral moraines that pushed to the sides of the valley by the force and flow of ice. This area with its long chain of lakes is a popular area for beginning hikers and for fisherman seeking brook, rainbow & brown trout. Please pack out all trash and empty bait containers. Hikers can continue up Little Lakes Valley to Morgan Pass. This can become a loop as the trail from Morgan Pass winds down into Pine Creek Canyon.
The Mono Pass Trail ascends up to Ruby Lake where sheer granite walls tower
over the emerald waters. The trail then climbs steeply over switchbacks
up to Mono Pass. (12,000 ft.) Views from Mono Pass are excellent
of the Mono Recesses and Pioneer Basin. The trail continues down
Mono Creek where it joins with the Pacific Crest Trail. This hike
is much more difficult than Little Lakes Valley, and is drier, particularly
on the upper slopes. This hike does have its advantages, however.
Incredible views of Little Lakes Valley can be had from various
points along the trail, fewer people use this trail compared to
the Little Lakes Valley trail, and Ruby Lake, a large, secluded,
and picturesque alpine lake, is accessible from here. The Mono Pass
Trail continues west over the Sierra Crest and drops down into the
Mono Creek Recesses and Pioneer Basin. Access to lakes containing
golden trout can be achieved from this trail. Golden Lake at the
headwaters of Mono Creek and Summit Lake at the top of Mono Pass
are 2 of these lakes. Mono Pass is very popular with the Rock Creek
Pack Station. Popular pack
trips are to Fourth Recess Lake and Pioneer Basin.
The Morgan Pass Trail winds through Little Lakes Valley, a beautiful area containing several lakes, incredible wildflowers, riparian meadows, and excellent views of the 13,700+ foot peaks surrounding the valley. Several species of wildlife thrive in the valley, including marmot, deer, chipmunk, squirrel, pine marten, pika, and many species of birds and fish. Although small brook trout is the most prevalent species of fish, 3-5 pound browns are caught out of these lakes every summer. Some lakes have wild rainbow trout in them as well. This is a heavily traveled trail, especially in July and August.
HILTON LAKES / DAVIS LAKE TRAIL
Trailhead parking for Hilton Lakes is located near the Rock Creek Pack Station at 9,600 ft. The Hilton Lakes Trail will take hikers through a forest of Whitebark and Lodgepole Pine before it enters the basin of Hilton and Davis Lakes. The upper Hilton Lakes contain Golden and Brook trout. The Lower Hilton Lakes and Davis Lake contain Brook and Rainbow trout.
TAMARACK LAKES TRAIL
Trailhead parking for Tamarack Lakes is located near the east side of Rock Creek Lake (9,600 ft.) and at Pine Grove Campground, (9,300 ft.) The Tamarack Lakes trail begins at the eastern shore of Rock Creek Lake. The trail is steep initially, but levels out around the intermediate lakes before starting the final climb to Tamarack and Buck Lake. Fisherman will find Golden Trout in Tamarack Lake, while the lower Dorothy Lake holds Brookies and Lahonton Cutthroat. Packstock often use trails in the Rock Creek area.
Rock Creek has some of the most beautiful campgrounds in the Eastern
Sierra. There are 13 campgrounds
in Rock Creek Canyon with over 300 campsites. Most of the sites
are tucked away under juniper, pinyon, Jeffrey pine, Lodgepole pine
or aspen trees. Except for Holiday Campground, the campgrounds in
Rock Creek Canyon are located near the creek and the lake. Nearly
all of the sites are provided with a metal fire ring, picnic table,
space to park two vehicles, and a good deal of seclusion and serenity.
Each campground is equipped with cold-water faucets, and all have
flush toilets, except for Upper Pine Grove that has clean chemical
Weather conditions change rapidly in the Sierra Nevada. Hikers should carry ample clothing for the changing conditions. It is recommended that all hikers boil water at least 3 minutes before drinking due to the presence of giardia.
Please remember that stock have the right of way on trails.
Stand quietly off trail until all stock have passed to avoid spooking the animals.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
White Mountain Ranger Station
798 N. Main St. Bishop, CA 93514