Skelton Lake, Mammoth Lakes California

Mammoth Lakes California
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Skelton Lake

Hike to beautiful Skelton Lake for a taste of the Sierra’s backcountry; stay to enjoy abundant fishing and backcountry camping. Read More

  • Hike back to Skelton Lake from Duck Pass Trail.
  • Anglers enjoy pristine backcountry fishing.
  • Primitive backcountry campsites are available around the lakeshore.


Skelton Lake is a small alpine lake located in the Upper Lake’s basin. The lake boasts secluded backcountry camping and abundant fishing.

Skelton Lake is part of the Upper Lake’s basin along with T.J. Lake, Crystal Lake, Mcleod Lake, and Barrett Lake. All of these lakes are in relatively close proximity to each other, and many can be reached on the same visit. These lakes are not accessible by vehicle and can only be reached on foot.

Location & Information

Access this hike from Coldwater Creek parking lot.

Follow Lake Mary Road, just outside of Mammoth Lakes to the far southeast corner of the Lake where you'll find the signed Coldwater Creek Parking lot. Access this hike from Duck Pass Trailhead. The road to Lake Mary closes seasonally, so access to the Upper Lakes Basin is best attempted from May to mid October.

Contact Information
Phone: 760-873-5500
Website: Inyo National Forest


The Hike to Skelton Lake
The hike to Skeleton is a short 1.5 mile hike (one-way). The trail begins on Duck Pass trail. On your way to skeleton lake, you’ll pass Arrowhead Lake at approximately 1.25 miles. If you continue on Duck Pass Trail, you’ll find Barney Lake at 2.5 miles, and Duck Lake at 5 miles.

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, which is available from the Inyo National Forest.

This small lake provides secluded backcountry fishing.  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.

Horseback Riding
Horses are allowed on the trails to the Upper Lakes Basin. Consider hiring an outfitter for a unique backcountry experience.