PINE CREEK CANYON
Pine Creek Canyon is the gateway to several destinations in the John
Muir Wilderness. With an elevation at 7400 ft. it is lower than Mammoth Lakes ,so the trails start at relatively low
elevations, so expect some serious climbing. Before starting any hike, check with the Ranger Station to make sure the trail is cleared and open. In addition to these
day hikes, Pine Creek can be the entry or exit for several point-to-point
backpacks. The Forest Service can answer all your questions as well as give you detailed maps so you can enjoy this portion of the Inyo National Forest.
TRAILHEAD ELEVATION - 7,400 ft.
HIGHEST ELEVATION - 12,300 ft. at Italy Pass
TRAIL DIFFICULTY - Moderate to Strenuous
PINE CREEK TRAILHEAD
Heading northwest from Bishop on US 395, turn left on Pine Creek Road and drive 10 miles to the trailhead parking area near the pack station.
The trail ascends moderately from the pack station through a forest of Jeffery Pine, Juniper, Red Fir, Quaking Aspen, and Birch trees. Just through this, the trail merges with a mining road, which leads to the Brownstone Mine. The slope is steep here but the grade is fairly moderate. Views include the Owens River drainage, the volcanic tableland and the White Mountain range. The road ends just above the mine, and turns once again into a trail, which ascends talus and scree with short, steep switchbacks. The trail then turns north to reach the northeast end of Lower Pine Lake.
The trail to Upper Pine Lake (10,200') continues along the northwest shore of Lower Pine Lake and ascends to the west side of the upper lake. The trail parallels the outlet stream from Upper Pine Lake, and the camping is excellent.
Continue past Upper Pine Lake. The trail ascends moderately to the Pine Creek Pass/ Italy Pass trail junction. Take the right fork towards Italy Pass and continue west to Honeymoon Lake.
Continue on the trail past Honeymoon Lake to Italy Pass (12,300'), where it then descends steeply into the Jumble Lake Basin. It follows the north slope of the lake and then drops into the Lake Italy Basin, and Lake Italy.
The trail to Moon Lake follows the left fork of the Pine Creek Pass -Italy Pass junction. Towards Pine Creek Pass. Before reaching Pine Creek Pass, the trail climbs above timberline, leaving the Lodgepole Pines behind, and through white granite walls to reach 11,100'. From the pass it descends to French Canyon, and meets the signed trail branching left to Elba and Moon Lakes. The trail ascends steeply to Elba Lake (unnamed on the topo map), and then on to Moon Lake. The right fork of the junction in French Canyon will take you to Hutchinson Meadows, and Piute Pass in Bishop Creek Canyon.
GABLE LAKES TRAILHEAD
Use the same trailhead parking area as for the Pine Creek trail, walk uphill through the remains of an old mining operation to find the trail. Lightly used, this rocky, steep, exposed trail leads up to several Gable Lakes. The area is rich in mining history, but remember the Antiquities Act protects all artifacts on federal land.
TRAILHEAD ELEVATION - 7,400 feet
TRAIL DIFFICULTY - Strenuous
|Upper Pine Lake
|Pine Creek Pass
FOR MORE INFORMATION
White Mountain Ranger Station
798 N. Main St. Bishop, CA 93514