Bishop, CA: Pioneer Basin

Climb a high-altitude California mountain pass to breathtaking views of the Little Lakes Valley.
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Climb a high-altitude California mountain pass to breathtaking views of the Little Lakes Valley.

Splendid scenery greets you at the beginning of this 19-mile shuttle hike to lake-dotted Pioneer Basin, and never lets up. From Mosquito Flat Campground, start the steep 4.5-mile climb up the Mono Pass Trail, with its views of verdant Little Lakes Valley. On the mile-long descent from the 12,060-foot pass to Trail Lakes, enjoy sweeping views of the basin perched above Mono Creek’s deep canyon. On day 2, drop to the creek and head downstream into thick forest, passing a spur to Fourth Recess Lake. Next, traverse a boulder studded meadow bordering the sparkling Pioneer Basin lakes. The maintained part of the trail ends near the first lake, but the open terrain allows for easy cross-country travel. For solitude, check out campsites near the upper lakes.-Hike provided by Mike White, coauthor of "Sierra South: Backcountry Tips in California’s Sierra Nevada" (Wilderness Press)

Waypoints

Mosquito Flat Campground Parking

Location: 37.4353142, -118.7466931

Mono Pass

Location: 37.425048, -118.7729359

Fourth Recess Lake

Location: 37.4427, -118.7865829