Ruby Lake is a high-altitude lake in the Eastern Sierra, located in one of the most beautiful parts of the state, and is a fantastic short hike in the Rock Creek area. The hike itself is 4 miles round trip with 900 feet of elevation gain, and while that might not seem like a lot, the hike starts at 10,200 feet and ends over 11,000 feet, so it will get your blood pumping. The lake it ends at is well worth the effort, though, and here is all the information if you want to check it out.
- 4 miles round trip
- 900 feet of elevation
- Trailhead: Mosquito Flats in Rock Creek
- I hiked this in 2021
From Highway 395, heading north from Bishop, you will turn off on Rock Creek Road on the left-hand side. From there, it is about 15 minutes drive to the trailhead. As you get to the end of Rock Creek Road, it becomes a one-lane road where you will have to pull out and watch for other cars as you make your way back. Eventually, the road will end at the parking area. NOTE: Parking fills up fast here! I wouldn’t get there later than 7 AM on summer weekends.
The Ruby Lake Trail
From Mosquito Flats, the trail heads past bathrooms and into the backcountry. This is a very popular trail, especially towards Little Lake Valley, so there will most likely be many people on the trail when you go.
The trail begins gradually as you walk along a small creek heading back. I saw many people fishing here, and it was a beautiful start to the hike.
The trail then heads up before it reaches a split, with one way going into Little Lakes Valley and the other going towards Ruby Lake and Mono Pass.
We headed to the right, going up towards Mono Pass. Be sure to look over to the left though, where you can see the above view of Mack Lake.
From here, you will be going up pretty much all the way to Ruby Lake.
The trail is mostly switchbacks and large rock steps, and you may want to bring a hiking pole for the hike back down.
The trail continues its uphill climb as you start leaving the valley behind and get some great views down towards it and out into the distance.
While it is not too hard, the elevation will get you breathing heavily and stopping often.
We kept pushing on until the trail bent towards the backcountry, leaving the valley behind.
This part of the trail connects with a creek that heads off Ruby Lake and has a small meadow you walk along.
The trail then connects with the creek, and you will travel alongside it as you make the last push up to Ruby Lake.
If you are anything like me, you will be blown away when you reach Ruby Lake.
The lake is massive, and it has large granite peaks surrounding you on all sides.
The water in the lake was crystal clear, and you could see fish swimming in the cold water.
We sat by the water and watched the sunset, just soaking it all in. I’m a sucker for the Eastern Sierras, and this is a perfect example of why. The lakes, peaks, and views in the Sierras are second to none.
If you want to spend more time exploring this part of the Eastern Sierra, check out my post on the Little Lakes Valley hike. Let me know what you think in the comments.