The famous Starkweather Lake, named after the Mammoth mining pioneer JW Starkweather, sits in a granite catch basin at the altitude of 8,037 feet in the Reds Meadow Valley. This hike is relatively straightforward as you take the start of the Starkweather trial head all the way down to the lake’s base.
This is rated an intermediate hike as the trail descends 1,000 feet over a 2.6 mile stretch. As you can imagine, the hike back up will be a bit grueling. On this trail you will encounter small creeks, switchbacks, and a few other intermediate sections to look out for, such as loosely packed or unstable ground.
Regardless of these technical obstacles, this hike is a true Mammoth Lake gem. You will hike through a winding forest of trees, possibly see some wildlife and end up at a breathtaking lake.
Hikers will often picnic on the inviting sandy shores of the lake. So feel free to pack a lunch and make a day out of this adventure. Just be sure to clean up after yourself. Respect your environment and avoid leaving a carbon footprint on this beautiful landmark.