photo of Barney Lake, Hoover Wilderness, CA

     Barney Lake

     Hoover Wilderness

     Barney Lake and Crown Point

Spectacular Barney Lake

Barney Lake, Hoover Wilderness, CA

Picturesque Barney Lake spreads in the shadow of 11,346-foot Crown Point in the Hoover Wilderness. An easy 4-mile hike from the Twin Lakes trailhead places visitors on a sandy beach at the foot of the lake, making it a popular destination. For backpackers, campsites must be at least ¼ mile from the lake. With no suitable sites at the lower end of the lake, backpackers will need to continue another mile to find campsites among the trees beyond the head of the lake.

The lake can serve as a jumping off point for a loop adventure in eastern Yosemite National Park or a base camp for day hikes to nearby lakes tucked among the jagged peaks.

photo of Barney Lake, Hoover Wilderness, CA

Barney Lake - Key Facts

Location: Hoover Wilderness, Mono County, southwest of Bridgeport
Trailhead: Twin Lakes, elevation 7,027 feet
Barney Lake elevation: 8,258 feet
Elevation Gain: 1,231 feet
Hiking Distance: 5.1 miles to campsite
Best seasons: Early to mid-summer through fall. Fall is best because mosquitoes are gone and day-hikers to the lake have diminished.
Campsites: Small sites among the trees ¼-mile beyond the lake.

sign to Barney Lake, 4 miles

Editors' Suggestions

Despite the limitations on campsites and the popularity of the lake, Barney Lake's setting is so beautiful that it warrants at least a one-night stop. Campsites can be found just off the trail along the granite ridge a quarter mile beyond the lake, but getting water requires a trek down to the creek. A little farther on the trail descends to make its first crossing of Robinson Creek. Good campsites can be found there among the trees close to water.

Bring your camera. Starting with the drive across Bridgeport Valley, the view west toward the Sawtooth Ridge is one of the most spectacular in the Sierra. At Twin Lakes stop at the first lake to soak in the view again. Autumn is a wonderful season for the hike, especially in early October when the aspens have turned to their brilliant colors.

Coming or going, the Burger Barn in Bridgeport is a great place to stop for a quick meal. Seating is outdoors at picnic tables. Ken's Sporting Goods is well supplied for fishing, hunting, and camping goods.


Bears know the area well and are on the prowl for unguarded food. Bear canisters are required in the Hoover Wilderness. Rattlesnakes are rarely seen along the trail or in popular camping spots, but it is always prudent to be watchful for them.

Mosquitoes are particularly bothersome in the early summer and can be annoying even into early August. The best time to visit Barney Lake is in the fall when the mosquitoes are gone. Deer are plentiful, especially around the Twin Lakes trailhead, but also along the trail up to Barney Lake.

Brook trout are found in Barney Lake. Twin Lakes are famous for trophy-size rainbows and browns.

Beavers take to Eastern Sierra streams where aspens grow. Look for their dams along Robinson Creek below Barney Lake.