eastern sierras travel journal: june lake loop

The first day of this trip, we grabbed breakfast at the Tiger Bar (be sure to try the Tiger Chips!) and drove the full June Lake Loop to see how everything is since we last visited during the early summer. Though we’re nearing winter again, there was still plenty of snowmelt and the rivers were flowing beautifully, filling the lakes. June Lake Loop includes four lakes: June, Gull, Silver and Grant, though there are others in the higher elevations, reachable by hiking trails around the loop.


The best part of visiting the Eastern Sierras in the fall, particularly early to mid-October, is the changing color of the leaves. Though I have seen thousands of incredible images of the fall colors in the Sierras, nothing does the first-hand experience justice — the flame-colored leaves blowing the crisp, cool mountain air and, depending on where you pull over or hike to enjoy the colors, more than likely you’re in the company of a few deer grazing the meadow next to you.

Sound like something out of a novel that’s too good to be true? Pretty much.


We spent the afternoon fishing Grant Lake on the north side where a creek runs into it. Despite three poles in the water, we came up empty-handed but enjoyed the beauty of not only the lake but the picturesque backdrop of the mountain range.

We wrapped up our first day with a quick 12-mile trip up the 395 from the north Highway 158 junction to the tiny town of Lee Vining.


Per family tradition, rain or shine, sleet or snow, we stop at Mono Cone, which happened to be closing for the season that afternoon. We’re lucky we made it!

(Insider tip: park your car at Gus Hess Park, just around the corner and walk to Mono Cone, then take your ice cream, float, sundae or shake back to the park to let the kids stretch their legs while you enjoy the amazing view of Mono Lake!)

Before going to bed, we made sure we set our crawdad trap out to see what we could get out of Gull Lake, which is just 1/4 mile from our campsite. It’s a great after dinner walk, or anytime walk, really, that gets us out and moving and provides some great fishing as well!



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