Back to index Ruby Lake (Mono Pass) Hike
Trip Date:  06/25/2018

: 5.0 Miles

Vertical Gain: 1300'

Group Size: 1
Hike Rating:  Easy   Moderate    Hard   Strenuous
Ruby Lake Hike
Download GPX GPX for this trip
Ruby Lake Elevation Profile
Start Coordinates:   N 37 26.116, W 118 44.821     End Coordinates:   Same as Start Coordinates

Car Shuttle Req'd:   No Parking Directions:   Take Highway 395 to Tom's Place, just a little west of the town of Bishop.  Turn onto Rock Creek Road, and follow this all the way to the Mosquito Flat trailhead, where there is paved parking and overflow parking for when that area fills up.
Hazards of Note:   Lots of uphill all the way to the lake, but the entire hike is on well established trail. Crowd Factor:   Moderate.  The beginning of the hike before the split to Morgan or Mono Passes is crowded, but once taking the Mono Pass trail up to Ruby Lake will see the crowds dwindle quickly.
General Notes:
With the trailhead one of the highest in the Sierras starting at 10,500', you will want to make sure you are acclimated to the altitude before attempting any type of strenuous hike at this elevation.  From the Mosquito Flat trailhead begin heading south along the wide path which will take you into the John Muir Wilderness within the first quarter mile.  The trail rises up a couple hundred feet in the first mile, until you reach an intersection for Little Lakes Valley and Morgan Pass to the left or Ruby Lake and Mono Pass to the right.  Take this trail to the right, and begin an almost immediate series of switchbacks into the mountain that quickly take up far up over the valley and soon offer spectacular views south into Little Lakes Valley below and the impressive peaks of Mt. Abbot, Bear Creek Spire and Mt. Morgan encircling it.
Near the lake is another junction for Mono Pass, so stay to the left or you will begin a sharp ascent up the rocky side the ridgeline east of Mt. Starr and bypass Ruby Lake.  At almost exactly 2 1/2 miles from the trailhead you will reach Ruby Lake, situated in a granite bowl with the long, sharp ridgeline behind it topped off by Mt. Starr peak at its highest elevation.

Signs at the south end of the parking lot indicate the starting point for hikes for both Mono Pass and Morgan Pass treks. Mosquito Flat Trailhead
Less than a quarter mile from the trailhead you enter the John Muir Wilderness area just past this sign.
John Muir Wilderness 
Not only do you enter the Wilderness pass the sign, the trail also begins a gradual climb which will soon become much more pronounced. Starting up
Almost exactly one mile up the trail is a junction where you will take the Mono Pass trail to the right for the long climb up to Ruby Lake (and beyond if heading to Mono Pass.) Decisions, decisions... 
As you quickly gain elevation on the way up to Ruby Lake at over 11,000', the view south into Little Lakes Valley and Bear Creek Spire in the far distance make for a memorable sight.  From this angle, Mt. Abbott dominates on the right side of the view. Bear Creek Spire 
Continuing to head upward, the view into the Little Lakes Valley gets even better, with Bear Creek Spire dominating, Mt. Gabb to the right of it here and even part of Mt. Morgan far to the left. Even higher
Nearing Ruby Lake is this view up the outlet stream which is not to be missed.
Ruby Outlet 
Less than half a mile from the lake the ridgeline from Mt. Starr behind the lake dominates the view ahead of you. Mt. Starr 
Watch for this signpost near the lake so that you go to the left and not up the side of the mountain to your right, eventually heading up over Mono Pass. Choose wisely 
Coming across this waterfall along the lake outlet means you are almost there!
Ruby outlet
Right on the eastern end of the lake is a small campsite, with some sheltered spots for a tent and a pretty phenominal view of the lake. Ruby Lake 
Looking north from the lake, you can barely make out some switchbacks heading up and over the ridge and further into the Wilderness area. Mono Pass
GPS Track of the full hike. GPS Track of Hike