Hike to secluded McLeod Lake to experience the Sierra’s backcountry; stay to enjoy abundant fishing and backcountry camping.
- This pristine alpine lake offers beautiful alpine scenery in a secluded, lightly trafficked locale.
- Anglers enjoy pristine backcountry fishing.
- Primitive backcountry campsites are available around the lakeshore.
Though McLeod Lake is only a short 1.75 mile hike, the lake is lightly trafficked and offers a quiet respite from the crowds in Mammoth Lakes.
McLeod Lake is part of the Upper Lake’s basin along with T.J. Lake, Crystal Lake, Skeleton Lake, and Barrett Lake. All of these lakes are in relatively close proximity to each other, many can be visited on the same day. These lakes are not accessible by vehicle and can only be reached on foot.
Location & Information
Access this hike from the horseshoe lake parking lot.
From Lake Mary Road just outside Mammoth Lakes, continue straight for 5 miles to the Horseshoe Lake parking lot.
The road to Lake Mary closes seasonally, so access to the Upper Lakes Basin is best attempted from May to mid October.
Website: Inyo National Forest
The McLeod Lake Hike
The hike to McLeod Lake is a short at 1.75 miles (round trip), yet in this short distance visitors are treated to one of the most beautiful, secluded alpine lakes in the Inyo National Forest. The trail begins at the sign for Mammoth Pass trailhead. Follow the well worn path until you reach a sign which indicates McLeod Lake to the left and Mammoth Pass and Reds Meadow to the right. Continue on to the left to find the lake.
For the adventurous, primitive backcountry camping is available around the lakeshore. Make sure to practice leave no trace ethics, pack out what you pack in, and camp at least 100 feet from the shore line. Also take note, bears are active in this area, so make sure you pack your food and scented items in bear proof containers. All backcountry campers must possess a wilderness permit. Permits are available from the Inyo National Forest.
McCleo Lake provides a secluded backcountry fishing experience. Expect rainbow trout, as well as possibility for some brown and brook trout. Backcountry fishing can be more variable than typical lake fishing. Hire a guide for expert advice on the best locations and gear selections.