Looking for new hiking trails in California? Then look no further than the beautiful Inyo National Forest! I had the pleasure of exploring this stunning destination on a weekend trip in the summer of 2020 and it turned out to be an incredible experience. My heart was so filled with happiness after hiking through challenging trails to pristine lakes with mountain views.
In this short and sweet article, I would love to share my experiences at Inyo National Forest and provide you with some recommendations for your adventures here. But first, let me tell you a little bit about myself. My name is Danielle Giordano (@d.giordano_). I am originally from Boca Raton, Florida but have been living in Los Angeles, California since 2007.
I would say my love and desire for travel began at an early age whenever I would see my uncle and cousins traveling the world. I always admired their travel bug and wanted to follow in their footsteps. I’m so glad I did because now it’s something that will be part of my life forever. I have been to 15 countries so far and can’t wait to keep exploring our beautiful world.
My Experience at Inyo National Forest
I remember seeing a post on Instagram from someone hiking at Inyo National Forest and being mesmerized. I love being outdoors and hiking is one of my favorite activities. So I finally decided to visit last year when things were all closed down due to the pandemic and I was becoming stir crazy sitting in my house all day. Sitting by myself was getting old and I wanted to get away from people and stay safe. It was the perfect idea!
My best friend and I packed our bags and headed up north. We only hiked for the day and spent a total of two nights in Bishop, California. It was a blast! We woke up at 6am and headed towards the trail. I enjoyed the scenery and being away from Los Angeles. It was nice to reconnect with nature. I also couldn’t get over the insane colors of the lake. It was a gorgeous, majestic baby blue and the leaves and trees were so green.
We hiked a total of 16 miles there and back. We didn’t get a chance to see all of the lakes unfortunately but we saw the first two. The first lake and the second lake were called Big Pine Lakes. We parked near Glacier Lodge and there was a parking lot there. I advise going early in the morning so you can get a good spot and not have to do any additional walking to the trail.
We made our way through Big Pine Creek North Fork Trail where we saw the first two lakes. Then we turned around because it was starting to get dark and we had taken our time at the lakes. But if you keep going you will eventually get to more lakes. There is so much beauty to see!
Highlights & Challenges at Inyo National Forest
The highlight for me was the second lake on the Big Pine Creek North Fork Trail. I really enjoyed sunbathing on the rocks, swimming in the cold water and just soaking in nature. It was honestly breathtaking and such an amazing experience. This was the perfect reward after a fairly long trek.
I don’t recommend this hike to people who are new to hiking. The biggest challenge I faced was the fact that I didn’t have the best idea going into the hike and I overpacked. So I was carrying extra weight on my back that made the experience quite grueling to be honest! I learned my lesson though. Definitely pack light for this one and only bring what is necessary. Have quality gear like hiking shoes and stretch beforehand.
Need to Know Before you Go
As mentioned before, I stayed in Bishop during this trip to Inyo National Forest. Our Airbnb there was 30 minutes away from the forest. Not bad at all and perfect if you want to have the convenience of a shower and a bed but still enjoy nature at the same time. I highly recommend Bishop.
For the Big Pine Creek North Fork Trail, I would say pack light, bright a hat, wear comfortable hiking shoes and bring food/snacks and plenty of water! I also advise to really take in what is around you. If you have more time then I would recommend it! Three days would be a good amount of time if you want to see all of the lakes and not tire yourself along the way.
I only had a day at Inyo National Forest but am glad I didn’t push myself to see all of the other lakes. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have gotten to chill and enjoy the first two. I also heard through the grapevine that after the first two lakes, it starts to get long and more tedious. So prepare for that 🙂