Hiking to Long Lake in Bishop, California

Miles: 5.5 miles round trip
Elevation Gain: 1843 feet
Difficulty: Moderately strenuous
Dogs: Yes
Permits: Not for day hikes, for backpacking only
When to go: June through early November

This is a short, family-friendly hike that takes you to postcard-worthy scenic views with a glistening alpine lake in the shadow of the High Sierra.

After my knee injury on the John Muir Trail, this was my first test hike back to see how I would do before I set out on bigger hikes. This trail is beautiful both in the summer and fall months. In the fall months, the whole trail explodes in yellow and orange colors.


The trail starts from South Lake about 20 minutes into the mountains from Bishop, CA. There’s plenty of day and overnight hiker parking at South Lake and there is also a boat launch at South Lake.

You’ll be hiking along the Bishop Pass Trail.

For about half a mile the trail follows along South Lake with beautiful views of the peaks around it and the lake. Then the lake continues to climb through the forest with the High Sierra peaking out here and there behind the trees.


If you want to backpack to Long Lake or the surrounding areas on that trail, you’ll need a backcountry permit. Permits are not needed to day hike.

You get a permit through recreation.gov for Bishop Pass – South Lake (JM21).

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