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Glass Flow Trail System

Inyo National Forest

February 20th, 2010

1.7 miles
150 vertical feet
Total Time: 2:38

Starting elevation
8028 feet
Max elevation
8198 feet

Rating: 5/10

Directions: From Mammoth Lakes, take Highway 395 north. Just north of Deadman Summit (and south of the June Lake Loop), turn left into the Glass Flow Trail System parking lot. You probably won't see a named sign from the highway, but will see a cross-country ski icon.   View Driving Map

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GPX File

I hadn't really planned to do this hike, but I saw the cross-country ski icon and thought this might be a good alternative to the Silver Lake hike I was originally planning on doing on the June Lake Loop. While I couldn't find much info on the Silver Lake trails, I knew that a groomed cross-country area would probably be easy for the kids.

The large parking lot (capable of holding 15-20 cars) was only about half full when we arrived. It looked like most of the people there were going cross-country skiing. There's no parking fee, and trail access is free, as well. The trails are groomed, meaning they are hard packed (about 15 feet wide), but there are no tracks for the skiers.

We started off on the trail under clear skies. We passed the two entry points to a loop on the right, opting to keep going straight. The pretty forest was covered with a blanket of snow on both sides of the trail. We had some nice views of the surrounding mountains, mostly from near the start of the hike.

Hiking along the trail

View of the mountains to the west from the trail

View of the mountains to the north from the trail

We came upon another trail intersection on the left, a semi-loop. Again we decided to head straight. I asked a couple of skiers here if there were any views up ahead, but they said no. There was a view of Obsidian Dome to the left, but they said it wasn't much to see with the snow covering it.

Forest and shadows alongside the trail

Forest and shadows alongside the trail

It was almost lunchtime, so we started scanning for places to stop. I was looking for bare rocks or downed trees that we could sit on. I soon spied a large boulder on the right, up a small hill. It was mostly covered with snow, but we decided we'd stop there for lunch. It was fun trudging up the softer snow up to the boulder. There were actually three boulders here, and we stopped at the last one. I put the tarp down on the snow and we had lunch.

View from our lunch perch

After lunch, we returned to the main trail, then went back to the parking area the same way we came. It was a simple, short hike without any real destination. The highlight of the hike is probably just the simple feeling of crunching snow under foot, and the beauty of the trees on a bed of snow.

View above our lunch spot

Note you'll probably see a lot of cross-country skiers on the trail, and a lot of dogs, as well. It seems to be a popular place to take canines.

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