US Road Trip || Hiking Mono Pass, California

I was determined to do some hiking during our US road trip. I had heard there were some great hikes in the Yosemite area and I even bought myself a brand new pair of hiking boots before we left for the US. We stayed in the Crowley Lake area (about 15 miles from Mammoth lakes) for three days and after spending the day exploring Yosemite we decided to take a hike nearby where we were staying. After a bit of googling we decided the Mono Pass was the hike for us!

Mono Pass

Our hiking adventure did not start off well. It turns out we aren’t very good at following the directions given by Google and had several false starts before finding the trail head. The photos above were taken at these detours so that was one good thing to come out of it at least. Anyhow, we did finally find the start of the Mono Pass trail and narrowly avoided a full blown domestic. Win. By the time we actually reached the start of the trail I was over it to say the least. However, Carl had got his heart set on it and frankly after all the time and effort it took to find the bloody trail it would have been stupid not to hike it.

We had read that Mono Pass was a strenuous hike, but we figured we had hiked the Tongariro Crossing in New Zealand with a hangover so this would surely be a doddle! What we failed to take into account was the heat. You may remember me prattling on about how hot it was during our entire stay in the US and this was no exception. It was so HOT. We had tried to be prepared with two massive bottles of water but it just wasn’t enough. We survived to tell the tale though. The trek itself was quite steep at times and at one point I did find myself getting a little dizzy but at it’s highest point the trail is about 11000 ft above sea level so the air does start to feel a little thin. Enough of my whinging though, this hike is totally worth the effort.

The pass offers some simply stunning views of the Little Lakes Basin and Ruby lake. The surrounding mountains look magnificent and there was still quite a bit of snow dotted about despite it being the middle of June and there being a heatwave. In fact the snow was very useful at cooling us down when we got too hot. The hike is about 7 miles and it took us a few hours to complete, I can’t remember exactly but let’s just say I stopped a fair few times to have a whinge and a drink of water, so if you are a season hiker you will do it a lot quicker! I also noticed that it wasn’t busy at all. We saw maybe five other hikers in total along the way which was nice.

And there we have it! A beautiful hike as I am sure you can see. I would definitely recommend it if you are staying in the area, you can find more info here about the Mono Pass trail. There is no better feeling than completing a hike like this and I am always left wondering why I don’t hike more often!

Here are a couple of snaps from my phone which probably shows how tired we were!

Where has been your favourite hike in the world? Let me know below.

Read more about my US road trip!



  1. Natalie 8th February 2017 / 3:46 am

    Looks stunning! I agree, sometimes it is such a pain to look for the start of the trail; some places signpost it so well.. and others.. well they leave a lot to desire. Glad to see that you did go on and complete it!

    My favourite would be at Flinders Ranges in SA, Australia. A very very long hike but was stunning

    nat // dignifiable

  2. Melissa Hamilton 13th February 2017 / 11:47 am

    The photos are incredible. I love the little squirrel. I havent done much hiking. But a recent one was in Canada in Whistler. You are battling with the heat as you are high up even if there is snow. Thankfully you guys made it out to tell the tale

  3. Flo @ 13th February 2017 / 2:15 pm

    Your photos are incredible! Congrats on finishing the 7 mile hike – it sounds intense but worth it. It’s so fortunate that it’s not a crowded place with a million other hikers. What a hidden gem of a place!

  4. Debra Schroeder 14th February 2017 / 6:22 pm

    My husband walked in while I was reading your post and instantly recognized your pictures, “Looks like the Sierras and Yosemite.” I”m not sure what my favorite hike is – all have been great for different reasons whether it be the view, setting, or the company. Glad you survived Mono Pass. The elevation can make the hike harder than people realize.

  5. Susan McNulty 18th February 2017 / 1:07 pm

    I LOVE YOSEMITE! We also made a stop on our road trip across the USA, but we didn’t have time to hike (we also had all of our worldly possessions packed in the back of our car). I would love to go back and do some hiking and camping. My favorite hikes are found in Washington, but I couldn’t decide between the North Cascades and Olympic National Park if you paid me! There are just too many beautiful trails!

  6. Glimpses of The World 18th February 2017 / 5:15 pm

    It’s not that bad that you didn’t hit the right track at first, it sure gave you some great photos to share here! Thank you for that. The park looks amazing, just the right place to put your mind at ease!

  7. Stephanie Frias 19th February 2017 / 1:50 pm

    The photos with the tree stump are fantastic! I have been to Yosemite several times and as much as I love the park, with each passing year I am disturbed by the increasing prevalence of concrete paths. I am so pleased to see these not so typical photos of a traveler experiencing the raw beauty of the place.

  8. Caroline @ TheTravellingSloth 19th February 2017 / 8:51 pm

    I am a keen hiker but I have yet to hike in North America… this looks like right up my alley. I always love it when the trails aren’t busy with a bunch of other hikers, looks like you went at the right time!
    I’m loving the snowcap mountains in the background. Stunning scenery always makes the hike better! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  9. Colby 19th February 2017 / 9:44 pm

    I am not much of a hiker (mainly because I’m so utterly out of shape), but this place looks so worth strapping up some hiking boots and trying not to pass out on the way up :). It looks so peaceful. Love your photos and glad you made it, even in the scorching heat.

  10. Frenchie Globe Trotter 19th February 2017 / 10:59 pm

    Wow !
    these landscapes are so scenic, and your pictures are stunning.
    It was really worth doing this hike even if you had trouble finding the trail 😉

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