Barney Lake

Skelton, Barney and Duck


Those are the names of the lakes we visited on this hike.  …Continuing from our last post

Inyo National Forest Camping Trip – Part 2

I finally fell asleep after 12:30 AM. That was the last time I checked the time. I woke up a few times thinking I thought I heard a noise then drifted away into the dreamland each time. I woke up at the first daylight and felt so relieved. I came out of the tent and carefully investigated our camp. Everything was the way I left it the night before. No signs of a bear invasion. We made it through the night!

Jen got the campfire going and we had breakfast around the fire until the sun came up over the mountains. It got warmed quickly after that. We hustled to tidy up the camp and get ready for the much-anticipated hike.

Mammoth Lakes is 24 miles northwest of Toms Place.

We drove to Cold Water Creek Campground in Mammoth Lakes where the trail begins. There are two trailheads – Emerald Lake and Duck Pass. Look for Duck Pass Trailhead.

At 9,160 feet, it wasn’t hot but it wasn’t cool either. We hoped it would get cooler as we go higher for the fur-kids sake. Jack has endless energy and a high tolerance for heat. On the other hand, River and Xena have almost zero tolerance for heat.

Overall, the trail has a gradual incline. The steepest part of the trail is in the first 1.5 miles. The trail gained 783 ft before it leveled out. It was partially shaded and well-maintained. I recommend hiking shoes. At the 1.3 mile marker, the trail splits. Stay on Duck Pass Trail and go straight. If you turn right here, it will take you to Emerald Lake instead.

After 1.65 miles, we reached the first lake of the day. Glorious!

Skelton Lake

The water was so refreshing after the climbing we did. At first, that is. Then, it quickly turned too cold for Xena and me. We are so sad. Haha.


Then, there is Mermaid Jen and her water dogs making it look so easy and inviting. Other dogs decided to join in the fun.


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We played fetch a few times to make Xena go in the water in an effort to help her cool down.


It was great until we were attacked by an army of malicious mosquitoes. They were relentless even with the insect repellent. I put on the long sleeves and we continued on.

After 2.75 miles, we reach the second lake. Oh, my!! Barney was even more picturesque and dramatic than Skelton. The sparkling turquoise lake was breathtaking against the snowy Crown Point in the backdrop. We were awestruck by its spectacular view.

Barney Lake


View of Barney Lake from the top

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I felt like we hiked a long distance already but it was just an effect of the thin air. At this point, we were a little over 10,000 feet, the highest elevation Xena and I reached by foot/paws so far. 


It was pretty flat around the lake then at 3.3-mile mark, the switchbacks started and we began the final stretch of the climb. Jen and I looked at where we were headed and we both said, ‘Whaaaaat!’ The air began to get thinner noticeably. We took small breaks to give our body time to get used to the high altitude.


Remember I didn’t get enough sleep the night before? Oh gosh, I was definitely feeling it about then.


The trail finally leveled out after about 0.8 miles. Thank goodness. And then, we were presented with the final lake for the day. It was so picture-perfect, it was hard to believe that we were actually there witnessing this natural beauty.

Duck Lake


So that is the story about Skelton, Barney, and Duck. This is an awesome hike with non-stop stunning views. If you are ever near Mammoth Lakes, be sure to check out this beauty yourself. You won’t be disappointed!

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Extra! Extra!

While playing fetch, Xena lost 2 boots in the lake. Jen found one of them but we lost the 4th one. She hiked the rest of the trail with 3 boots which everyone we ran in to had to point it out to me. 🙂 Did you notice the missing boot in the previous photos? 😉
Have you seen my boot?
Power nap

We would have stayed longer at each lake if it weren’t for those pesky mosquitoes. They attacked viciously when we didn’t move. They even got into several of my pictures. Check this out. How rude! By the look of it, we both just got a mosquito bite on our forehead. They were beyond annoying!


We came down from the mountains a lot faster than we expected. We were practically running away from the vicious mosquitoes. 😂

Mosquitoes and all, it was still amazing! I’d do it again in a heartbeat. … the fall.

Good to Know:

  • Hike Date:  7.31.17
  • Trailhead:  Google Duck Pass Trailhead
  • Distance:  9 miles RT, out and back
  • Elevation Gain: 1,718 ft (Max elevation: 10,788 ft)
  • Difficulty Rating:  Challenging
  • Permit/Fee:  No permit required for day hikes in Inyo National Forest; Permit required for overnight camping
  • A strong insect repellent is a must during summer! Natural insect repellent gave me no protection. I had over 100 mosquito bites from this hike! I stopped counting after 100.


Get Our Latest Comprehensive Dog-friendly Trail List Here. Enjoy!

Happy Hiking!

13 comments on “Skelton, Barney and Duck”

  1. This was one of the best hikes of all time! Even with the misquotes 😬 Can’t wait to go back! Great photos!

    1. HAHA, yes!! Deet free did not protect me. 😒 Painfully learned my lessons. Haha. Over 100 bites! That’s just crazy. Other than that, this was am amazing day! Can’t wait to go back next Fall! 😍

  2. Now that looks like a real hike… just beautiful. Great photos! Congrats!! In case you didn’t know, I absolutely love the Sierras. 😉

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