Helen Lake

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September 11, 2004

Planning and Description

Originally this was planned as a loop, climbing to the Kuna Crest from Helen Lake, walking from the Knife Cut out to Mammoth Mountain thence to descend back to the Parker Pass Trail. I aborted this plan due to the amount of thunderstorm activity over the crest when I got to Helen Lake.

Afterwards, as planned, I made contact with Boon H, who had found a nice campsite above the south shore of Mono Lake. As the rental agency had given me a 4-wheel drive, I was able to make it out to his campsite without arranging for him to pick me up at the end of the stable road. Very pleasant evening, in the tradition of VWA outings.

Hike Description

This starts with the familiar Parker Pass Trail, veering off where the Parker Pass Trail continues straight towards Mono Pass. The trail continues to Spillway Lake, then an increasingly faint use trail continues up to Helen Lake (10952'). Lunch at Helen Lake, and a whole bunch of skipping stones...I ran into like minded hikers there. As the weather stayed iffy, I circumnavigated Helen Lake and contoured over to Parker Pass Lake and the Parker Pass Trail. On the way out I did some cross-country variations, first cutting closer to Mono Pass, then following the old wagon road for a ways.

Summary and Technical Details

About 13 miles, with 1900' of ascent, over 3:35. Bunnyhike rating: 68

Weather and Conditions

Clear and cool at elevation, threatening thunderstorms in the afternoon.


Trip Icon


Map of hike location and route detail maps, route in blue and red

Map with route
Detailed Map (104K)

And the next day:Kuna Peak area Kuna Peak Mono Valley Mono Valley :two days hence.

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Helen Lake / Robert Parks / rparks@lvhot.org / revised July '05