Deer Lake Trail


Deer Lakes trail is sometimes called the Crystal Crag trail. This trail begins with a steep climb up the ridge from Lake George to the Mammoth Crest and yields spectacular views of Crystal Crag and Crystal Lake. The trail continues along the rim of the Sierra Crest with views into the back country toward the Middle Fork of the San Joaquin River. Deer Lake is at the end of the trail. If you want to connect to the John Muir Trail use the Duck Pass or Red Cones trail.


Download  area map for trail names.

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.
Permit Info: John Muir Wilderness permit is required year round for overnight trips.
Usage: Light
  • No campfires above 10,000 ft. No fires at Deer Lakes or near Coldwater Canyon, Duck Creek, or Purple Creek.
  • Food and refuse must be stored so that animals cannot get into the food or trash. Surrounding areas require use of bear containers.
  • Camping is not allowed at Crystal Lake.
  • There are several different trails in the area. Check the area map for the correct trail name.
  • Groups cannot be larger than 15 people.
  • Quota of 10 people permitted to start overnight trips each day from May 1 to November 1.
  • John Muir Wilderness regulations apply.
Closest Towns:  Mammoth Lakes
Water: Water from creeks, lakes and springs should be treated before drinking.
Restroom: Vault toilet at trailhead. Please Leave No Trace. Bury or carry out human waste.
Operated By: Forest Service
Information Center: For wilderness permit information call (760) 873-2483; or for area information call the Mammoth Lakes Welcome Center (760) 924-5500

General Information


Leave Hwy 395 at Mammoth Lakes, Hwy 203 and follow Lake Mary Road. Follow the signs to Lake George. There is a large parking lot with separate parking for day and overnight hiking.



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Day Hiking


Areas & Activities


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  Elevation : 
9,041ft. at trailhead - 10,669 ft. at Deer Lakes


USFS Emblem and Travel Management

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