Inyo National Forest

An adventurous journey with 10+ mile hikes
Trek into the wilderness and sleep in the backcountry
Pups are welcome at camp and on hiking trails
Places we've visited and fallen in love with

Hiking to Alpine Lakes and Camping in the Big Trees in Inyo National Forest

Hiking to Alpine Lakes and Camping in the Big Trees in Inyo National Forest

Hiking to Alpine Lakes and Camping in the Big Trees in Inyo National Forest

Hiking to Alpine Lakes and Camping in the Big Trees in Inyo National Forest

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Last updated
May 24, 2024

Trip · 3-day camping trip

For · Families and eager adventures

Vibe · Moderate and adventurous

Drive · 4.5 hours from LA

Ideal dates · June to September to avoid snow

Pets · Welcome at camp and on trails

Hungry Packer and Baboon Lakes are two exceptionally beautiful and lesser known alpine lakes tucked into John Muir Wilderness in Inyo National Forest, located just outside the town of Bishop along the 395. In one short trip this backpacking route crosses through striking alpine meadows in glacial basins, past endless crystal clear lakes with quirky names and finishes each day at a campsite with 13,000+ foot granite peak backdrop along the Sierra Crest. The deeper into the mountains you climb, the more stunning the terrain becomes.

Official Forest Service Website

Latest Forest Service Alerts

Directions to Campground

Main image credit: Kendra Cobourn

‍Stuff to know

  • Black bears are active in this area so food storage is mandatory. Campsites come with bear food lockers. All attractants (food, toiletries, trash - anything with a scent) should be stored in the food locker or kept in the car at all times, not just overnight!
  • Some of the sites in this trip are at high elevation. To reduce the risk of altitude sickness, take it easy when performing strenuous activities and ensure you’re staying hydrated. If you feel altitude sickness symptoms occur, descend to a lower elevation as soon as possible.
  • Fire restrictions occur seasonally depending on wildfire risk. Make sure you check the latest official information before going.
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Inyo National Forest

Where to camp

Big Trees Campground

Each campsite comes with a:

  • Picnic table
  • Fire pit
  • Food storage container
  • Space for up to 6 people
  • Two parking spots
  • Vault toilets & flushing toilets (on site)
  • Drinking water

Named for the very large Jeffery pines that grace the site, Big Trees Campground is located along the banks of Bishop Creek and affords nice camping and fishing opportunities. Some sites in shade and some in open sunlight. Bear proof food storage containers available in the campground. 16 campsites in total, closes seasonally for the winter.

Check-in: Noon · Check-out: Noon

Nightly Rate: $34

Inyo National Forest
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Itinerary

Day One

Inyo National Forest. Credit: National Forest Foundation.

Leave LA by early and drive to the campsite

  • Campsites are first come first serve, so ensure you’re on the road early to have the best chance of getting a site. There are several sites along the mountain road, so alternatives can be reserved instead.
  • Set up camp and unwind after the drive with some lunch

Do an afternoon hike on Grass Lake Loop

  • Start out the weekend with your first alpine lake! This moderate 2.9 mile loop trail takes you around Grass Lake and to the Lamarck Lakes along Bishop Creek.
  • Remember that you’re at high elevation here, so you’ll want to take it slow and easy. Take breaks as needed and makesure everyone has plenty of water with them (1.5L or more per person).

Cook up dinner and settle in

  • If you’re looking for an easy dinner that’s sure to please everyone, try one pot walking tacos.
  • Enjoy your first night among the big trees.
Alpine lake systems are an important component of alpine landscapes. The ecology of alpine lakes is closely linked to conditions in the watershed, so problems with vegetation or water levels in the lake can be an early indicator of future issues.

Day Two

Long Lake. Credit: Trail Coffee

Make brekkie, pack up, and get ready for a day of lake hopping

  • Make a quick breakfast and get everyone ready for the day
  • Make sure you pack plenty of water to get you through until lunch (at least 2L per person), snacks, sun screen, a sun hat, and bug spray.

Hike Long Lake via Bishop Pass

  • This 4.7 mile out and back trail is moderate and features 1,000 feet of elevation gain, so make sure you’re prepared for the challenge.
  • This trail starts at South Lake and takes you up to Long Lake, with breathtaking views of Hurd Peak and Chocolate Peak.

Head to Sabrina Lake for lunch and a relaxing afternoon

  • After the long hike up to Long Lake, enjoy a break and relaxing afternoon at Sabrina Lake
  • Pack a lunch, or checkout the Waterfront Cafe located lakeside
  • Enjoy the views from this alpine lake and unwind for the afternoon

Head back to camp for dinner

  • Savor your last night in Inyo National Forest!
The name "Inyo" derives from a Native American word meaning "dwelling place of the great spirit."

Day Three

Inyo National Forest
Inyo National Forest. Credit: Kendra Cobourn

Cook up breakfast, pack up, and return home

  • Make breakfast for the whole crew and clean up
  • Pack up your gear and head home after a long weekend!

Head home!

John Muir Wilderness was designated and protected by Congress in 1964. Since then, it has become the second most-visited wilderness in the country!
June 1, 2024

Bewilder at LAist Super-Fun Saturday

Make wildflower seed bombs with Bezzi the Yeti at LAist's Super Fun Saturday

Event in 2 days

Bewilder Basecamp: Spooky Wonders

Join Bezzi the Yeti on her first spooky camping adventure!

Shop curated gear

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Bezzi's Pick
$399.95

NEMO 4-person Aurora Highrise

This colorful tent has plenty of standing room, is easy to set up, and pack out!

Bezzi's Pick
$249.95

NEMO Stargaze Reclining Camp Chair

Lean back, and we mean all the way back, in this comfy camp chair. You'll never want to sit up.

Bezzi's Pick
$159.95

NEMO Moonlander Camp Table

We can confirm that these camp tables withstand hot bevvies and rock collections.

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Meal and snack ideas

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Breakfast

Food For The Sole Blueberry Banana Crunch

Gluten Free • Vegan

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Breakfast

Packit Gourmet Diner Deluxe Eggs with Sausage

Bezzi's Pick
Dessert

Campfire cinnamon roll ups

Vegetarian

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Snack

Brookside Dark Chocolate Covered Blueberries

Vegetarian

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Angie's Boom Chicka Pop

Gluten Free · Vegan

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Santa Cruz Organic Apple Sauce

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Lunch

Summer rolls with almond butter satay

Gluten Free · Vegan

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Dinner

Dan dan noodles

Gluten Free · Vegan

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Asian chicken lettuce wraps

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Dinner

Pho ramen

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Curry ramen

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Peanut butter cheesecake overnight oats

Vegetarian

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