Hiking in the Sierras is always exciting. Hiking in Eastern Sierra is spectacular.
We spent Labor day in Mammoth Lakes/Bishop region without any strict plan (actually, I had one, but it failed). All three days started with my opening alltrails.com, searching trails in the area, and scrolling through its photos.
Rock Creek Lake and Canyon were so easy choice. The region was well described everywhere. But it was also a problem. The well known Little Lakes Valley Trail is hugely visited and crowded. I guess, when I opened Ruby Lake Trail, I expected the same. But the path that is frequently used for backpacking looked like less visited.
We drove Rock Creek Road to Mosquito Flat trailhead around 4 or 5 pm. We had more than 2.5 hours before the sunset for 4 miles moderate trail. Cars already started to leave the parking lot, as I expected the majority tried to finish the hike before 5 pm to get to the town for dinner.
The trail to Ruby Lake follows Little Lakes Valley Trail for around .5 mile. It’s the most crowded section in my opinion. After half a mile you will reach the junction. Little Lakes Trail will go left, and you need to go right.
Ruby Lake Trail is an exceptionally scenic trail. You will follow gentle switchbacks that will open the view over Little Lakes Valley. With each turn, the view will be better and better. There are several branches to the rocky outlooks where you could stop for a break, photo, or lunch.
After a mile and a half, the trail will start to move away from the canyon edge. And you will begin to follow a stream. Soon the path reaches another junction, the way to the right will lead to the backcountry (Pack Trail), and if you want to explore further, make sure to get a permit – it’s the territory of John Muir Wilderness.
Another 0.2 miles, and you reached the lake.
When the trailhead has 10,200 feet elevation, the lake is at 11,200 feet. I read that it’s one of the highest lakes in Sierra.
The lake has nice emerald-ish color, clear and cold water, and rocky shore. There are a lot of angles and spots around the lake to explore.
On our way back sunlight was already softer, so I stopped in a few places for photos. I like the cascades on the stream that goes from the lake. There was no right place to put a tripod, and I struggled a bit with the legs, I still was able to get close up of the stream.
We reached trailhead right before the sunset. The sun already lit the eastern mountains and colored skies pink.
Links and Maps
- Ruby Lake Trail on alltrails.com
- Trailhead directions on Google Maps
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