Fall Colors · Lake · Swimming · Views · Waterfall
Within less than a mile of the trailhead, kids can see fall colors, a waterfall, and a small pond. Older kids would probably find the hike up to the second and third waterfalls pretty easy and fun.
This trail enters the Hoover Wilderness and the usual federal wilderness area regulations and restrictions apply here. Practice Leave No Trace (LNT) backcountry skills and ethics. Camp 100 feet from fragile areas; bury human waste at least 200 feet from water, trails, and campsites. This trail (and the road to the trailhead) is usually closed by snow between November and May.
Need to Know
Wilderness permits are required for overnight, but not day use, trips into the Hoover Wilderness. Permits are issued at Inyo National Forest visitor centers. The Lundy Canyon Trail is a non-quota trail, so no reservations are needed. Parking at this trailhead is awkward and limited—it may be hard to find a close-in parking spot on busy fall weekends.
Of all the fall color hikes in the eastern Sierra, this one is likely to provide the most color for the least effort. And there are also three delightful waterfalls to enjoy too.
The trail starts at a sign board at the end of Forest Road 2N01, passes through a grove of small aspen trees (where it has been re-built after being obliterated by a mud slide), and in a half-mile, climbs to a rocky outcrop with a great view of the first waterfall.
It continues climbing past a small pond above the first falls and in about 1.5 mile passes through a grove of remarkably huge quaking aspens. Look for the old trapper's cabin alongside the trail here.
Past this grove, the trail continues climbing easily through more groves and open meadows until, at less than two miles from the trailhead, you pass the second and then the third falls. Both are tumbling cascades rather than direct drops but both are very charming nonetheless.
Just above the falls, a little over 2 miles from the trailhead, you'll reach a rocky bench with a great view up and down-valley. If your goal is just to see fall color, this is a good place to turn-around following lunch or a snack.
The trail continues on through some short switchbacks, then a long climbing traverse, and finally makes a steep, scree-laden ascent to Lake Helen. This climb isn't worth it for fall colors but may be of interest if you're looking for a non-quota way into the Hoover Wilderness.
Flora & Fauna
There are groves of amazingly large quaking aspens about two miles in from the trailhead.
Shared By: Bruce Hope