Trailhead: Mammoth, CA
Length: 8.5 RT
Elevation Gain: 750 ft. (you descend, then ascend, then descend, then ascend)
Difficulty: Strenuous due to exposure
Total time: 4-5 hrs
Parking: You can a) take the shuttle ($12/person) and get off on Stop 1, or b) pay the fee for the park and drive to the trail head. If you choose the drive route, get there early as spots fill up fast and they don’t allow you to drive down after 7:00 a.m.
When people ask me about my favorite hike I immediately shout “Shadow Lake” before they can even get out the words.
Shadow Lake has everything you’d want in a hike. Mountains. Meadows. Mules. Murderrrrr.
Okay, probably not the murder, but it does have a super awesome waterfall but that doesn’t start with an M and I wanted to keep the alliteration going.
You’ll start from Agnew Meadows where there’s a pack station with donkeys and whatnot. There will be a fairly large parking lot and a small PCT trail off to the left that passes over a small creek that’s the trail you want.
Follow this trail for a bit and you’ll pass through Agnew Meadows.
You’ll then enter a forest area where there’s an Ansel Adams Wilderness Sign.
After the sign, you’ll end up going dowwwwwwn into the valley, which is super fun because you’ll get to climb back up on the way back. Once you get to the bottom you’ll come to another junction. Take the trail on the right to continue towards Shadow Lake. Your next landmark will be a lake on your left hand side. We named this Mosquito Lake because there were a lot of bees.
Just kidding, we named it that because there were a lot of mosquitoes. Also it’s actually named Olaine lake.
This is where it’s pretty exposed and hot and stuff. If you haven’t already, you’ll begin to hear the roar of the awesome waterfall you’re about to climb next to.
Keep on climbing up and you’ll get to Shadow Lake:
Once you’re there go explore! There are lots of boulders to sit on and enjoy the view. And if you continue up the trail a bit you’ll get a stunning view of the lake from the opposite direction:
And if you continue a bit further up the trail and go to the right at the junction, you’ll see a semi-hidden waterfall!
AND if you go even further, you’ll make it to Thousand Island lake, but that’s like a super long hike and maybe you should slow down there, partner.
Once you’ve soaked up all the awesomeness, trace your steps back and enjoy that fun ascent back to Agnew Meadow, suckerssss.
Anything in the Mammoth area is incredibly beautiful, but this is definitely a favorite. Anyone who follows this blog knows I like to be super mean and complainy, so that alone should be testament to the awesomeness of this hike.
Definitely make the time for this hike if you’re in Mammoth. You won’t regret it.