After exploring the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest I made my way towards Mammoth Lakes. I originally planned to stay around Mammoth Lake; hiking and visiting the hot springs, however when you are camping alone, there is almost too much time in the day to keep busy. When I camp with others we play card games and talk about life, however when you are alone there isn’t much to do other than read a book and hike all day!
So after driving towards Mammoth Lake, I still had like 5 hours until sunset, so I decided to just continue driving towards June Lake (knocking some more time off my drive). I decided to camp between June Lake and Lee Vining (where Mono Lake is and the Yosemite National Park Entrance were). I found a Free campsite called Glass Creek Campground only 6 miles from the Southern June Lake Loop. The campground had over 23 sites, no water, but vault toilets and bear lockers. There is a nice and refreshing creek backing several campsites which provided a nice opportunity to cool down and ice my body from hiking!
I left early the next morning to go explore and hike around the June Lake Loop (CA-158). I had to stop in the cute little town (June Lake) for some ice for my perishables, when I found some information about nearby trails. The trail they recommended was the Parker Lake Trail. So I drove the June Lake Loop until I found the trailhead (located on the northern side of the loop). The drive to the trail was beautiful! I passed June Lake, then Gull Lake, then Silver Lake, and finally Grant Lake before reaching the Parker Lake Trail (sign was to the left). The June Lake Loop provided gorgeous views of the snow capped mountains and lakes full of fishermen and boaters. There is also camping and picnic areas along the loop too if you so desire to stay in the surrounding area.
The Parker Lake Trailhead can be found off the CA-158 from the 395 Hwy. I took the Southern entrance, the beautiful scenic way, however the Northern entrance is closer to the trailhead. There is a parking lot at the beginning of the trailhead, and then you begin your 4 mile, round trip, hike. I arrived at the trailhead at 8:30am and started out on the trail at 8:45am which was a great time since I only saw one other person on the trail. I had the trail and beautiful lake entirely to myself.
There was an initial climb, until you meet Parker Creek and follow it back to Parker Lake. The trail follows baby Aspens along the creek with incredible views of the snow capped mountains. The ending view was just surreal. I thoroughly enjoyed finding a spot at the edge of the Lake enjoying the peacefulness. The hike took me about 2 hours, however I did stop and chat with someone on my way back for about 15 minutes.
Afterwards, I still had half a day so I decided to go back into the quaint town June Lake and eat my lunch at the lake and enjoy the beautiful day.