Mammoth Lakes, CA: Robinson Creek Canyon
Witness an explosion of fall colors en route to the alpine waters of Barney Lake on this 11.5-mile out-and-back.
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Despite the Robinson Creek Trail’s popularity, you can still be alone on this route after Labor Day, when the crowds go home and the Hoover Wilderness is bathed in yellow and gold. Start at the Mono Village Campground and hike either of the two main roads (it’s a loop). From the high end of this loop by a meadow’s edge, hike a closed road up canyon about .25 mile to the Robinson Creek Trail. Initially the route is forested, but it soon opens to reveal the canyon’s impressive scenery with views of Twin Lakes and Crown Peak. After about 550 feet of gain and 2.75 miles, you’ll enter the wilderness, then gain a similar amount in 1.75 miles to reach pristine Barney Lake (8,258 feet). Turn around here, or camp on a flat behind a granite outcropping at the lake’s NE corner.-Hike provided by Jeffrey P. Schaffer, author of “Yosemite National Park: A Complete Hiker’s Guide” (Wilderness Press)
Location: 37.5645143, -118.9679432