TJ Lake, Mammoth Lakes California

Mammoth Lakes California
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TJ Lake

Take the short hike to T.J. Lake to experience the Sierra’s backcountry; stay to enjoy abundant fishing and backcountry camping. Read More

  • Enjoy both T.J. Lake and Barrett Lake on this short hike.
  • Anglers enjoy pristine backcountry fishing.
  • Primitive backcountry campsites are available around the lakeshore.


Visitors hike to T.J. Lake for pristine backcountry camping, and abundant backcountry fishing.

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

Location & Information

Access this hike from the Lake George parking lot. The trailhead begins at the north end of the parking area.

Directions to Lake George Parking Lot:
From Lake Mary Road outside Mammoth Lakes, continue southwest, until you cross the bridge over Twin Lakes. At approximately four miles, find a store where you’ll turn left, across the Lake Mary Outlet. Find the junction of Lake George Road where you’ll turn right. The parking lot if 0.3 miles down the road. The road to Lake George closes seasonally, so access to the Upper Lakes Basin is best between May and mid October.

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


TJ Lake Trail 
Begin your hike from the Lake George Parking lot. Follow well worn single track 0.5 miles to the lakeshore. On your way, pass Barrett Lake at 0.25 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 are available from the Inyo National Forest.

Tj Lake boasts abundant 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.