(1 vote)
  Add to favorites

Minaret and Cecile Lakes - California, United States

by steverod  
with a Garmin Oregon 550t
This trip was created using EveryTrail. Like what you see? Get the FREE iPhone App and share your trips.
My last Sierra hike of the 2011 season was retracing a fondly-remembered, gorgeous overnighter to Minaret Lake, and from there the plan was to follow a popular cross-country loop to Cecile and Iceberg Lakes.

The first day to Minaret Lake was smooth and uneventful: permit pickup in Mammoth Lakes, obligatory gawking at the Minarets from Mammoth Pass, then drive to Devil's Postpile and start hiking.  For a trail which gains 2,500 feet, the Minaret Lake trail is surprisingly mellow, with some delightful waterfalls and viewpoints along the way. I was surprised by the late-season flowers (nice) and mosquitos (not-so-nice). Only in the last mile or so (at 9,500'+) did things start to drag as the altitude and incline caught up with this sea-level dweller.

Minaret Lake is gorgeous and popular; on this late September weekend there were at least 8 of us there. But the view can't be beat, with the spiky Minarets right over the lake. I spent my afternoon relaxing and scouting out tomorrow's "cross-country" (but obvious) route up to Cecile Lake.

The next morning I took my time, as the route to Cecile and Iceberg Lakes is slow and time-contstrained: the permanent snowfield between Cecile and Iceberg is most safely crossed in the mid-afternoon when the sun's on it and it's soft. From Minaret Lake, the unofficial trail to Cecile Lake is obvious and straightforward, climbing towards a big cliff and then zig-zagging up one side of the cliff, with the last 20 or so feet involving some easy 3rd class (hands-and-foot) scrambling. Cecile Lake is as beautiful but more stark than Minaret Lake, placed right at the base of Clyde Minaret.

Scoping out the next leg of the trip, I noticed building thunderheads to the north and actual rain to the south. I waited for a while to see if they would clear but no such luck. Being solo and a little out-of-practice on my ice axe skills, I decided that the course of prudence was to get down and try Icerberg Lake another day. I joined with another party to try an alternate (2nd class) descent route by Minaret Creek, which turned out to be more bushwhacking than we had hoped. 

From Minaret Lake, I headed down and all too soon the rain reached me, but at least it passed quickly. The rest of the hike was uneventful, and I soon was looking at the overcast Minarets from Mammoth Pass, thinking about when to come back.

  • Getting to Devil's Postpile requires a shuttle bus ride through the summer months but not after Labor Day. This is not as onerous as it sounds, as it becomes easier to to point-to-point trips from one trailhead to another.
  • Bears are VERY active in this area. Bear canisters are not technically required here but are highly recommended.
Sierra Nevada, Minarets, Backpacking
Photos: See all pictures and videos from Minaret and Cecile Lakes
Trip Info
September 23, 2011
Trip Location: Lake Mary, California, United States
Length: 7.1 miles
Duration: 4 hours
Activity: Backpacking
Trip viewed 9,757 times
Share This Trip
Flash map with photos for websites & blogs

Share by email & IM

non-flash map for websites & blogs

Take this trip with you
Add this trip to your favorites, which instantly appear in your EveryTrail for iPhone App "Saved" tab, and in "My Favorite Trips" on EveryTrail.com."
 Add to favorites

Export This Trip
Please login to download KML and GPX files
How To Get There
Get directions from: