Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Duck Pass Trail, Mammoth Lakes, CA



Decided to do another hike in Mammoth Lakes, this time choosing the Duck Pass trail. The trailhead is located at the back of Coldwater Campground off Lake Mary Rd. It begins at almost 9,100 feet, climbing past several lakes. And quite a climb it was.

The first one we came to, Arrowhead Lake, is not right on the trail so we detoured down the path to take a closer look.

Duck Pass Trail to Barney Lake (Arrowhead Lake)


We’ve hiked to so many beautiful alpine lakes in this part of California, but they are all different and we have yet to tire of seeing the next one.

There was lots more climbing before we came to Skelton Lake. Much of the trail looks like this.


But then we would see something like this.


Then Skelton Lake, which had a huge sandy beach on one side of the shore. We were surprised nobody else was there, since we saw several people with dogs along the trail.


Skeleton lake

The rocky trail continued to climb as our destination was getting closer, Barney Lake, at 10,200 feet. The trail continues to Duck Pass and Duck Lake, but that’s another couple miles and many feet of climbing. Not today.

This was a good place to sit and have a snack.

Barney Lake


When we were starting to head back, I noticed what looked like another lake through the trees. It wasn’t on our map, but was just a creek crossing away so we went to take a look.

So glad we didn’t miss this one, it was the best of all.




And even though we didn’t make it to Duck Lake, we were joined by this guy.


It was a much easier hike back, downhill almost all the way, with views we missed as we gasped for breath on the way up. Total mileage 5.9 with almost 1,200 feet of climbing. It required a stop at Pita Pit for lunch on the way home.



When we were almost at the end of the trail, we saw these hikers coming towards us. I asked the man if it was alright to take their photo. He said he doesn’t even know how many Facebook pages he’s on!

This is Toby, age 12, almost blind from cataracts, but still loves to be out hiking. Wonder who I’ll get to carry me when I’m unable do this any longer?



  1. Another gorgeous hike. I love that photo with the reflection of the mountain in the water.

    That little lonely duck is so cute.

  2. Beautiful!! That lake with the sandy beach and the clear water reminds me of June lake. The picture of Toby is so sweet. Glad his human still takes him out hiking.

  3. I never tire of seeing photos of mountain lakes with their beautiful color and mirror ability. Looks like another wonderful hike.

    Love the little dog in the carrier:)

  4. Great photos of a beautiful area. I've been following your adventures this summer with great interest. We're in So. California for a few days before heading back east. Don't know when you'll be heading back south, but maybe our paths can cross.

    - Joe

  5. Joe, we will be in CA until mid Oct I think heading further south as it gets colder. Hope to see you.


  6. What a sweet little dog.

    The water in some of those photos is so clear and beautiful. You get to the most photo-worthy places! :)