Summer in the Lakes Basin is in full swing accompanied by an orchestra of booming thunderclaps and whispering pine breezes.  With the great weather, flowers and warm days comes lots of fun. Just a gentle reminder that part of the fun is packing out what you’ve packed in. This week Friends of the Inyo’s Lakes Basin Steward removed over ten pounds of trash from around just part of the Lake George shore. Help those behind you notice the blooms – such as brilliant orange tiger lilies and cottonball-like ranger’s buttons – not the plastic bags.

This past weekend’s third SOS day at the Mountain View Bike trail was a huge success! Over forty people showed up to improve the Mountain View trail, install new signs, and clean up the trails around the incomparable Minaret Vista. Jump on a bike (or bus) and take a ride up (then down) to check out what lots of hands can do before they enjoyed a free lunch and an avalanche of raffle prizes.

The Starkweather Lake trail starting at the Minaret Vista still has many flowers in bloom. Sixty-two different plant species were recorded in this 2.5-mile hike! This includes two types of monkey flower, purple larkspurs over 4 feet tall, and the parasitic orchid striped coral root.  There is a crashed snowmobile in the trail less that .5 miles from the trailhead, but it is easy to navigate around.

Now that the trail to Valentine Lakes is completely melted out there are many misleading switchback cuts along the last mile to the trail. Friends of the Inyo restored many of these shortcuts, but please protect this trail by staying on the true path. Around wet areas look for the large, pink Lewis’ Monkeyflower.

Two trail-blocking trees have been cut out from the Mammoth Crest trail, and in addition to epic vistas this trail boasts beauty right at your feet, too.  Look for low-growing Brewer’s Lupine, Wooly Sunflower, and Butterballs.

Interested in seeing a truly excellent high Sierra flower display? Head to the short trail between Duck and PikaLake on the Duck Pass trail. Flowers abound with yellow Soft Arnica, bright pink and red paintbrush, and even the late summer-bloomer, Sierra Gentian. A few fire rings have been cleaned up around the lakes and some trail maintenance has been completed to protect walkability through better water drainage.

As the summer burns on, Heart Lake moves beyond peak bloom, but many flowers, like fireweed and monk’s hood, are just popping out.  Thanks to members of the Inyo-Mono Advocates for Community Action Youth Conservation Corps out of Bishop who helped Friends of the Inyo recently maintain this well-loved path.


This trail report is compiled by Friends of the Inyo with support from the Town of Mammoth Lakes – Mammoth Lakes Trails System funding. The next opportunity to get out and give back to your public lands is August 3 at the trails from the Coldwater and Consolidated Mine Trailhead. For more info contact Drew Foster at