From the locked access gate, hike northwest along the dirt road and quickly climb into an unnamed valley, flanked by Basin Mountain and Mount Tom. At Horton Creek, pass through a small meadow protected from the harsh wind that’s common in the valley—a great place to set up camp. The climb continues to 10,000 feet before a short descent to two old miner’s cabins at Hanging Valley Mine. Turn left onto a faint fisherman’s trail and parallel Horton Lake to a campsite near the waters edge (there are several sandy tent spots and a well-used fire pit). Grab your fishing pole and explore the surrounding area before retracing your steps back to the access gate and your car.
Mapped by Rick Schneck
TO TRAILHEAD: From Bishop, Drive on CA 168/W. Line St. In 7.3 mi., turn right onto Buttermilk Rd. Go 5.9 mi., and turn right onto an unnamed dirt road. Park 4.5 mi. in the dirt turnout.
Optional: To start the hike at Waypoint 2, continue 0.4 mile to the locked access gate. A 4WD vehicle required.
Distance: 4.32 mi
Total Time: none
Speed: 0.0 mph
Pace: 0:00 / mi
Active Time: none
Speed: 0.0 mph
Pace: 0:00 / mi
Points of Interest
Location: 37.320408, -118.634453
Location: 37.314888, -118.626991
Hill Near Horton Lake
Location: 37.319878, -118.661514
Ore Chute at Hanging Valley Mine
Location: 37.319645, -118.663101
Hanging Valley Mine Cabins
Location: 37.319702, -118.662216
One of the cabins remains unlocked in case of an emergency.
Location: 37.313011, -118.626526
Location: 37.317120, -118.661926
Only full during wet years, this pond is crystal clear.
Location: 37.321228, -118.634041
Views Near Horton Lake
Location: 37.321228, -118.649010
Horton Lake is just beyond the trees.
Favorite Fishing Spot
Location: 37.315826, -118.665390
Meadow Near Sonny Boy Cabin
Location: 37.321877, -118.631218
Location: 37.316120, -118.668327
Location: 37.311481, -118.623238
Continue straight through the gate at the trailhead.
Views to Bishop
Location: 37.321228, -118.631340
Location: 37.311008, -118.618500
Park in the dirt turnout and begin hiking northwest along the road. Note: It is possible to continue driving further; however, high-clearance vehicles are recommended.
Location: 37.311344, -118.622963
A locked access gate marks the boundary of Inyo National Forest. Continue hiking northwest on the road.
Location: 37.321682, -118.630905
Sonny Boy Prospect Cabin: This small (and locked) cabin sits adjacent to Horton Creek on the edge of a small meadow. Since the trail can be hot during summer months, weekender's sometimes camp here on Friday night to break up the 5-mile hike.
Location: 37.321529, -118.633957
Cross a wood bridge over Horton Creek.
Location: 37.322495, -118.633400
Head 100 yards upstream from the wood bridge to find several swimming holes.
Location: 37.319901, -118.634567
Follow Horton Creek (home to wild brook trout) upstream into a large meadow.
Location: 37.319656, -118.662407
Two cabins from the Hanging Valley Mine are located on the left side of the road. Turn left and parallel the lake hiking on a faint fisherman's trail. Note: One of the cabins remains unlocked in case of an emergency.
Location: 37.317829, -118.662155
Continue over the small outlet stream to the campsite.
Location: 37.315723, -118.664406
This campsite has sandy soil for tents, shade from the sun, and less bugs than other spots around the lake.
Tip: Fish from several large rocks at the waters edge. To increase your chances of catching fish, hang red worms two to three feet below a bobber and cast northwest as far out as you can. The deep, calm water is ideal for snagging brook, Rainbow and hybrid trout.
To return to the car, turn around and follow the same route back down the valley.
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