Lundy Canyon

Notes by piero scaruffi | Travel resources | Other California destinations | California hikes
Lundy Lake is located in the Hoover Wilderness north of Mono Lake. The road dead ends 2 kms after town at the trailhead and parking lot. This is a popular hike that, in late spring and early summer, guarantees great views of waterfalls. The most impressive of these waterfalls is the last one, just below Lake Odell, reached via very steep switchbacks.

A loop from Warren Canyon via Saddlebag Lake

The trailhead for this loop is the Warren Fork trailhead (2700m) located on highway 120 about 3 kms east of Ellery Dam. The exact location is easily recognized by the sign "9000 Feet" (in 2015). You can park safely on the south side of the road (a large parking area that is in the national forest and therefore can also be used to sleep) and the trail (a gated dirt road) is on the north side of the road. About 100 meters into this old dirt road you cross a little creek and enter a picnic area with three tables.

After about 35' of walking you reach a meadow where the trail often disappears. Keep walking in the general northwest direction and in about 30' you will reach a second, larger meadow. In front of you are two northern saddles that look like passes. Neither is good (they would drop you in the wrong basin) but head for the westermost one whose base is the entrance to the correct canyon. Walk up the canyon (now you are heading west). I am not sure what "Dore Pass" is supposed to be but the ridge to the west is the ridge that separates this region from Saddlebag Lake. Climb this ridge whichever way you can. There is no obvious low point and the wall is fairly steep.

To Dore Pass:

One at the top of the ridge you have great views of Saddlebag Lake and, across it, Mt Conness. The slope on the other side is much gentler. Regardless of where you summited, walk down a bit on the Saddlebag Lake side and you should hit the trail that comes up from the lake. You can ignore this trail and simply descend vertical to the lake but it is safer and easier to follow this trail north: it dead ends in a place where it is much easier to descend to the lake. Just before hitting the lake you hit the trail to Lundy Pass. This is an easy trail with little elevation. After Hummingbird Lake you reach Odell Lake, where the trail starts descending (there is no "Lundy Pass" sign) to reach Lake Helen. This all happens relatively quickly and painlessly.

After Lake Helen the trail plunges down a long series of waterfalls. This steep rocky trail is a marvel of human ingenuity as it drops down towards the valley very quickly; alas, it is in bad conditions. You lose elevation very rapidly and, in the right season, you see waterfalls virtually everywhere. The rocky trail eventually enters a forest and becomes less steep, occasionally even going uphill. After a few confusing crossings of the creek and one steep uphill section to bypass a beaver-infested pond, the trail ends at the parking lot and trailhead of the Lundy Canyon. From here it is a painful 3 kms walk to the little village on the western tip of Lundy Lake.

It used to be possible to cross the creek here and get on a shortcut connecting with the May Lundy trail but the beavers (as of 2015) have complicated matters. Hitchhike to the other end of Lundy Lake, where a kiosk marks the May Lundy trail. This trail begins with a very long straight section that basically runs the entire length of the lake. Then it enters the canyon leading to Lake Oneida. This "trail" is actually an old road, and at times it is wide enough for a two-lane highway. It passes two lakes which you may or may not see and then reaches Lake Oneida. Before this you can see on your left the ruins of the cabin and of the gold mine. There are debris even by the trail.

The route to the pass:

The trail crosses the creek and continues to the left (east) of Lake Oneida. When it is about to leave the lake behind, it forks (this is not easy to see). Turn left up the switchbacks. This steep rocky trail is not maintained but in 2015 it was easy to follow. The trail climbs a gulley to the left and drops you at the top of the plateau overlooking the Lake Oneida drainage. The southern side of this plateau is the highest part of the Warren Canyon. Cairns mark the continuation of the trail on the other (southern) side of this pass but soon the trail disappears in the forest. Just head south and downhill and you'll eventually reach the meadow. Avoid the thick vegetation by staying a little higher to the left. Eventually the meadow ends and it is easy to walk down to the right where the Warren Canyon trail is. Soon the picnic tables appear and you are back where you started.

  • Warren Fork trailhead (2750m)
  • Lower meadow 35'
  • Upper meadow 1h
  • Dore Pass (3443m) 2h15'
  • Saddlebag Lake cabin 3h15'
  • Hummingbird Lake 3h30'
  • Odell Lake/ Lundy Pass (3100m) 3h50'
  • Lake Helen (3100m) 4h
  • Bottom of the switchbacks 4h45'
  • Lundy Canyon trailhead: 5h30'
  • Lundy Lake (2378m) 6h15'
  • Crystal Lake: 8h15'
  • Cabin and ruins 8h20'
  • Oneida Lake (2950m) : 8h30'
  • Beginning of switchbacks: 9h
  • Top of switchbacks/ Pass 9h35'
  • Warren Fork trailhead 10h50'

This loop is sort of modular:
a) one can leave a car at Saddlebag Lake and simply hike from the Warren Fork trailhead to Saddlebag Lake
b) one leave a car at Lundy Lake and hike one-way from Warren Fork to Lundy Lake
c) one can hike the whole loop

Where is Hoover Wilderness