We took the June Lake Loop on...
We took the June Lake Loop on our way home. It is a route up into the mountains with several little lakes and resort areas. Some of the most beautiful fall foilage I have seen. Lots of people fishing. Looking at the turn off towards the mountains you have no idea how incredible the drive is going to be.
Garnet Lake via the River Trail
One 'backdoor' to Garnet Lake is to take the River Trail up from Agnew Meadow trailhead - this is where options to Thousand Island Lake via the Pacific Crest Trail and hikes to the Minarets via Shadow Lake also begin. The River Trail comes off the Ediza Lake Trail just past Olaine Lake, where that trail drops to cross the Middle Fork of the San Joaquin. The River Trail continues to follow the eastbank of the Middle Fork up to just before Thousand Island Lake when it rejoins the Pacific Crest Trail. A few miles up, there is a small lateral trail that will climb steeply up through forested cliffs to Garnet Lake's outlet. Watch the way closely as it is not always obvious!!
Coffee, brew or a light meal
On the Mountain (or at least at the base of the Mountain) you can grab a quick bite between ski runs at the Mill. Right where the high speed quad lift "Stump Alley" and "Gold Rush: pick up, it can be very convenient. Or you can just kick back.
A Devil's Postpile page is obligatory for a "Mammoth Lakes' section. It is about 14 miles from the town. During the summer, because of crowds, the road down the valley from the Minaret Summit is restricted to shuttle buses during certain hours of the day. You either have to go before or after the hours of the shuttle buses to drive down into the valley.
At the Minaret Summit a wonderful viewpoint gives both hikers and non-hikers wide views over the upper valley of the Middle Fork of the San Joaquin river and on to the mountains surrounding - the awesome Minarets, Mt Ritter, Banner Peak, ....
The Devil's Postpile is a small national monument deep in the valley below. The whole area around Mammoth is alive from recent vulcanism and earthquakes. There are cinder cones to be found throughout the area - look at Mammoth Mountain, itself! The Postpile is a series of basaltic columns that have been exposed over time. A trail takes you around the Pile and up to the top where you can experience the geometry of the columns up close. Another nice and popular hike in the monument is to Rainbow Falls whihc is shown on others' Mammoth pages.
Thousand Island Lake
The name and the setting of this lake is alluring. The lake is about 7 miles from the trailhead at Agnew Meadows. The trailhead is off the road down from the Minaret Summit which, during the summer months, has a vehicle restriction during certain hours - you have to take a shuttle bus. There are two main trails - the River trail and the High trail - which is the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). The PCT route is much more scenic, with some great vista points over the upper Middle fork of the San Joaquin, the Minarets and the Banner and Ritter massif. The lake is at timberline and is a wonderful place to just sit and sun.