Lundy Canyon Waterfalls

Inyo National Forest / Lee Vining / Mono County / Tuolumne County, California, USA

Rating: 2     Difficulty: 3
A trio of Lundy Canyon Waterfalls near the start of the hike
The Lundy Canyon Waterfalls consist of several ephemeral cascades lining the canyon as well as a few on Mill Creek, which is the main stream cutting through the canyon.

Had we intended to go backpacking, we could've gone as far as the 20 Lakes Basin, but since we were only intending to see as many waterfalls as we could on a day hike, we only ended up walking about 4.5 miles round trip (as described in the California Waterfalls book by Ann Marie Brown).

Since we did this hike on a July 4th weekend in 2002, it seemed like we were either at the peak or just after the peak of the snowmelt. Thus, the quantity of waterfalls that we've shown on this page reflect what I suspect would be above normal flow for most of the waterfalls here. I would imagine later in the Summer or under less runoff from the melting snow, there would be fewer waterfalls. In any case, we did see some wildflowers along the trail but we also had to contend with lots of mosquitoes (so we really didn't want to stand still for very long).

From the car park (see directions below), we embarked on a trail that seemed pretty straightforward to follow until we somehow lost the trail when we saw the first waterfall in Lundy Canyon (pictured at the top of this page). We'd eventually figure out that we were supposed to take the uphill trail signposted for "Lundy Pass" to continue with the hike.

After getting a few more partial views of the first set of waterfalls in Lundy Canyon, we then started to notice more cascades tumbling down the mountainsides flanking us from the melting snow. We'd eventually get to a bridge crossing over Mill Creek where there was another cascade just upstream (though we were looking against the sun on that one).

Then, the trail continued going gradually uphill past even more waterfalls tumbling down the flanking mountainsides. We lost track of how many waterfalls we were seeing at this point and basically just continued on while we would notice one cascade after another. It was also during this stretch that we made more crossings of Mill Creek over narrow beams or even logs to balance on. It was kind of nerve-wracking as my cousin narrowly avoided losing her balance completely and falling into the rushing creek below. But aside from that, the rest of the hiking pretty straightforward.

We eventually reached a multi-tiered cascade on Mill Creek while we were surrounded by a handful of more cascades from the flanking mountains that had now closed in as the canyon got a little tighter. It was too bad we were looking against the sun which kind of washed out parts of the photos we took of the falls (leading me to believe that perhaps morning we be best to photograph most of the waterfalls in this canyon, especially on Mill Creek). This cascade was our turnaround point, where it was mostly downhill past those same tricky creek crossings, and then exposing us to nice views of the V-shaped contour of Lundy Canyon as we approached the trailhead near Lundy Lake.




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PHOTO JOURNAL
Gorgeous alpine scenery backing one of the Lundy Canyon WaterfallsGorgeous alpine scenery backing one of the Lundy Canyon Waterfalls
Just south of Lundy Canyon was the attractive Mono Lake with its eccentric Tufa formationsJust south of Lundy Canyon was the attractive Mono Lake with its eccentric Tufa formations
And just west of both Lee Vining and Mono Lake was the steep and rugged Lee Vining Canyon, which also accessed the Tioga Pass Entrance of Yosemite National Park in the SummerAnd just west of both Lee Vining and Mono Lake was the steep and rugged Lee Vining Canyon, which also accessed the Tioga Pass Entrance of Yosemite National Park in the Summer
Driving alongside Lundy Lake to the trailheadDriving alongside Lundy Lake to the trailhead

Looking over some swampy pond in the direction of Lundy Canyon near the trailheadLooking over some swampy pond in the direction of Lundy Canyon near the trailhead

The first Lundy Canyon Waterfall we encounteredThe first Lundy Canyon Waterfall we encountered

Looking down towards that first cascade as the trail climbedLooking down towards that first Lundy Canyon Waterfall as the trail climbed

A cascade tumbling down the mountainsideA cascade tumbling down the mountainside

Looking directly at a cascade on Mill Creek near a bridgeLooking directly at a cascade on Mill Creek near a bridge

Another cascade tumbling down a canyon wallAnother cascade tumbling down a canyon wall

Deep blue reflections in a pond seen by the trailDeep blue reflections in a pond seen by the trail

Looking downstream as the trail continued climbingLooking downstream as the trail continued climbing

Another look back towards Lundy Lake as the trail continued climbingAnother look back towards Lundy Lake as the trail continued climbing

Another cascade we saw tumbling down a canyon wallAnother cascade tumbling down a canyon wall

Another cascade we saw tumbling down a canyon wallMore direct look at the same cascade as above

Another cascade we saw tumbling down a canyon wallThis was another cascade we saw though it was completely covered in shadow

A cascade in shadow near the turnaround point of our hikeA cascade in shadow near the turnaround point of our hike

A tumbling cascade at the turnaround point of our hikeA tumbling cascade at the turnaround point of our hike. This was the last Lundy Canyon Waterfall on Mill Creek that we saw.

Still another cascade near the turnaround point of the hikeStill another cascade near the turnaround point of the hike


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VIDEOS OF THE FALLS

Very long sweep of the last falls we saw and then some. Please forgive the dodgy quality as this is a very ancient video.


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DIRECTIONS
The canyon sits a few minutes north (6.8 miles) of the town of Lee Vining off the Hwy 395 (look for a sign on your left saying "Lundy Lake").

With Mono Lake dominating the view to the east, you head back into the rugged mountains (east of Yosemite) just beyond the manmade Lundy Lake and the Lundy Resort. The road is unpaved at this point and continues like this for a few minutes before reaching a car park that loops through the foliage.




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MAP OF THE FALLS


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TRIP REPORTS
For more information about our experiences with this waterfall, check out the following travel stories.




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TRIP PLANNING RESOURCES



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NEARBY WATERFALLS


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