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Upper Hilton Lakes Route

Intermediate/Difficult
 4.0 (1)

Off-trail route climbs to 5 of the 6 high Hilton Lakes with wide open views of the granite ridges.


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Map Key

1.6

Miles

2.6

KM

85%

Runnable

11,046' 3,367 m

High

10,375' 3,162 m

Low

697' 212 m

Up

26' 8 m

Down

9%

Avg Grade (5°)

35%

Max Grade (19°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Fishing · Lake · River/Creek · Swimming · Views

Description

This was a constructed trail and is easy to follow as far as Hilton Lake 5. However, it no longer shows on the Forest Service maps. A trail of use continues all the way to the highest lake. It becomes fainter and less used the farther you go, but it's not very difficult.

The upper lakes route branches the Lakes 3 and 4 trail just before the top of the ridge above Lake 3. There is no sign, but if you look carefully you can see 2 small cairns that mark the branch. The trail follows the top of the ridge and then switchbacks steeply up to Lake 5. This is a beautiful lake with great camping on the ridge a little above the west shore.

The trail goes about 1/3 of the way along the western shore. After that, the route is essentially a trail-of-use that is a little hard to follow. However, if you keep heading up among the lakes, you should be able to find your way. The path climbs up on the side of the Lake 5 ridge before dropping back down above the south end of the lake.

If you look at the pictures of the higher lakes, you see talus everywhere, but the path avoids the talus, and it is fairly easy running. The next 3 lakes are beautiful, but smaller and shallower. Finally, we reach a larger alpine lake in a bowl directly beneath the Sierra crest. It is barren, except for short grass and a few trees on the northern shore.

Contacts

Shared By:

Lee Watts

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 1 vote

#24

in Bishop

#18681

Overall
  4.0 from 1 vote
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Trail Rankings

#24

in Bishop

#1,990

in California

#18,681

Overall
2 Views Last Month
17 Since Jun 17, 2021
Intermediate/Difficult

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Photos

Hilton Lake 5
Jun 18, 2021 near Mammoth…, CA
Hilton Lake 6. Route goes around the right side of lake and crosses the small stream.
Jun 18, 2021 near Mammoth…, CA
Looking back towards Hilton Lake 7
Jun 18, 2021 near Mammoth…, CA

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