• With only a few hundred feet of elevation gain from either end, this relatively flat trail is a perfect, family-friendly introduction to the Lakes Basin backcountry. From the Emerald Lake trailhead at the end of the Coldwater road, follow the drainage uphill. Take the first right fork toward Barrett Lake, contouring gently along a bench through lodgepole, fir and an occasional small meadow. At the edge of Barrett, take the left fork around the shore, where a brief and worthwhile detour up and back takes you to you TJ Lake, with its view of Crystal Crag and the Mammoth Crest, before heading down to Lake George.

  • With only a few hundred feet of elevation gain from either end, this relatively flat trail is a perfect, family-friendly introduction to the Lakes Basin backcountry. From the Emerald Lake trailhead at the end of the Coldwater road, follow the drainage uphill. Take the first right fork toward Barrett Lake, contouring gently along a bench through lodgepole, fir and an occasional small meadow. At the edge of Barrett, take the left fork around the shore, where a brief and worthwhile detour up and back takes you to you TJ Lake, with its view of Crystal Crag and the Mammoth Crest, before heading down to Lake George.

Trail Alerts

  • 05/22/2017: Thanks to the drought busting winter of 2017, trails above 7500 ft are still covered in snow. Please check back for updates.

Reviews

Aug. 26, 2013

“Nice, less-traveled trail. Hiked in reverse direction, starting at Lake George. Beautiful stands of Western Hemlock, Western White Pine and White and Red Firs in the forest sections. Nice views of Crystal Crag from Lake George and wildflowers along Mammoth Creek from Emerald Lake to the trailhead. Many thanks to the volunteers for the trail work between George and Barrett. Used Summer Trolley to make this a loop hike.”

SmokeyJo, Mammoth Lakes, CA

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Related Destinations

Lake George

  • Hours/Season: Store: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., summer only | Year Round 

  • Boating  Fishing 

TJ Lake

  • Hours/Season: N/A | Year Round 

  • Climbing  Fishing 

Related Destinations

Destination Activities and Services
Barrett Lake Fishing
Coldwater Campground Camping
Lake George Boating Fishing
Lake George Campground Camping
TJ Lake Climbing Fishing

Related Experiences

Related Experiences

Experience Rating Length (mi) Surface Duration
Campground Camping at Coldwater Campground 1.3 Asphalt - Vehicle Accessible Overnight
Campground Camping at Lake George Campground 0.2 Asphalt - Vehicle Accessible Overnight
Hiking from Lake George to TJ and Barrett Lakes 1.5 Sand Less than 4 hours
Hiking to TJ Lake - Adaptive Option 1.5 Soil Less than 4 hours
Kayaking on Lake George 1.0 Water Less than 4 hours
Sport Climbing at the Dike Wall 1.5 Soil Half day
Wildflower Viewing at Coldwater Creek 0.9 Soil Less than 4 hours
How to get involved Local recreation resources Experiences and ratings Finding your way around the MLTS