McGee Pass Trail


Wildflowers along McGee Creek Trail

Abundant wildflowers mixed with sage fill the lower part of McGee Canyon on the way to Horsetail Falls. Water crossings may be high during spring snow melt. Expect to get your feet wet and use caution with high spring runoff . As the canyon turns west and climbs into Aspen and Lodge Pole Pine, side trails lead to Steelhead Lake and Baldwin Canyon. Farther up the canyon are Big McGee and Little McGee Lakes. Crossing over McGee Pass leads to Horse Heaven and Tully Hole on the John Muir Trail.

Common Destinations: Big and Little McGee Lakes, McGee Pass, John Muir Trail

Download area map for trail location.
To purchase more detailed maps or guidebooks of the area, visit

At a Glance

Reservations: Reserve up to 6 months in advance at
Day use does not require a permit.
Rentals & Guides:  McGee Creek Pack Station is located near this trailhead providing wilderness pack trips and day rides. For information and reservation call: (760) 878-2207. Or visit their website:
Permit Info: Wilderness permits are required for overnight trips into the John Muir Wilderness. Day use does not require a permit. Permits to start on this trail are issued at Inyo National Forest visitor centers. Quota of 15 people permitted to start overnight trips each day from May 1 to November 1.
Usage: Light
Busiest Season: July-August
Restrictions: - No campfires. See Map of Campfire Restrictions.
- All food, trash and scented items must be stored in bear-proof containers, or counter balanced at least 15 feet above the ground, and 10 feet horizontally from a tree trunk.
- Groups cannot be larger than 15 people (includes day use).
- Check the area map for the correct trail name. There are other McGee Creeks in Inyo National forest that are a different permit.
- John Muir Wilderness regulations apply.
Closest Towns:
  • Crowley Lake (gas, food)
  • Mammoth Lakes (full service, hospital)
  • Bishop (full service, hospital)
Water: Water from creeks, lakes and springs should be treated before drinking.
Restroom: Vault toilet at trailhead. Please Leave No Trace. Bury human waste away from water sources.
Operated By: Forest Service
Information Center: Wilderness permit information (760) 873-2483
Area information call White Mt. Visitor Center (760) 873-2500

General Information


Leave Hwy 395 at the north end of Lake Crowley. Turn onto McGee Creek Road and drive until the road ends. The last mile is dirt. Paved parking, pit toilet and picnic tables near the aspen shaded creek.



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Day Hiking


General Info:

Safety Information

Bear lockers are not available at this trailhead. All hikers must safely store all food and scented items left in the vehicles. It is recommended to secure your food in the trunk of your vehicle and cover your ice chests.

Seasonal Information

Depending upon the weather, this trail is normally clear of snow by early June.   

Horse Riding & Camping

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Areas & Activities



  Latitude : 

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  Elevation : 
8,131ft. at trailhead - 11,900 ft. at McGee Pass