Horton Lakes Trail


Horton Lakes Trailhead

After the increasingly worse dirt road through Bishop's Buttermilk Mountains, the Horton Lakes trail follows an old mining road into the hanging valley north of Mt. Tom. If your vehicle can drive as far as the locked gate at the wilderness boundary, it is a 3.8 mile hike to the end of the trail at Lower Horton Lake. Interesting remains of mining history can be seen in this area. Visitors should remember that the Antiquities Act protects all artifacts from being damaged or removed, so be sure to leave historical items where they are.

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

At a Glance

Reservations: Reserve up to 6 months in advance at Recreation.gov
Day use does not require a permit.
Permit Info: Wilderness permits are required for overnight trips into the John Muir Wilderness. Permits to start on this trail are issued at Inyo National Forest visitor centers.   
Usage: Medium
Restrictions: - No campfires at Lower Horton Lake; and no campfires above 10,000 ft. see Maps 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).
- Quota of 10 people permitted to start overnight trips each day from May 1 to November 1.
- John Muir Wilderness Regulations Apply.
Closest Towns:  Bishop, CA.
Water: Water from creeks, lakes and springs should be treated before drinking.
Restroom: Please Leave No Trace. Bury human waste away from water sources.
Operated By: Forest Service
Information Center: For wilderness permit information call (760) 873-2483; or for area information call the White Mountain Visitor Center ( 760) 873-2500.

General Information


From Bishop go west on Line Street (Hwy 168).  Follow Hwy 168 approximately 8 miles to Buttermilk Rd. and turn right.  Follow Buttermilk Road (dirt) past Wells Upper Meadow where the road becomes increasingly worse. It is likely you will need 4x4 to drive to the end. Look for small sign to Horton Lake.



Show detail SHOW


Hide detail HIDE

Day Hiking


Horse Riding & Camping

Show detail SHOW
Areas & Activities


  • Fee revenues make a diffrence
    Thank you. Your fees make a difference!

    National Forests in California are using recreation fee revenues to improve and enhance recreation opportunities. See how your fees have made a difference!


  Latitude : 

  Longitude : 

  Elevation : 
8,111ft at trailhead - 9,936ft at Horton Lake


USFS Emblem and Travel Management

OHV & Travel Management Information Link opens in a new window