Lundy Canyon Waterfalls

Inyo National Forest / Hoover Wilderness / Lee Vining, California, USA

About Lundy Canyon Waterfalls


Hiking Distance: 5.5 miles round trip
Suggested Time: 4 hours (to head of Lundy Canyon)

Date first visited: 2002-07-05
Date last visited: 2016-07-11

Waterfall Latitude: 38.00711
Waterfall Longitude: -119.28815

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The Lundy Canyon Waterfalls page was my homage to the myriad of waterfalls that we’ve seen in the scenic Lundy Canyon.

There wasn’t a specific signature waterfall that we targeted on the times that we’ve done this hike.

Lundy_Canyon_367_07112016 - The last and most impressive of the waterfalls we encountered in Lundy Canyon
The last and most impressive of the waterfalls we encountered in Lundy Canyon

However, most of the waterfalls that we did encounter were impressive enough to get their own entry on this website if they weren’t so concentrated in a singular excursion like this one.

In fact, the fairly high rating that we gave this excursion was indicative of the quality of the waterfalls in addition to the overall quality of the hiking experience.

Not only we were getting a lot of waterfall action, but we were also getting gorgeous Eastern Sierra scenery.

This included reflective ponds, red-tinted mountains, and a plethora of blooming wildflowers of all sorts of different colors.

Lundy_Canyon_015_07112016 - Classic Eastern Sierra scenery from near the mouth of Lundy Canyon
Classic Eastern Sierra scenery from near the mouth of Lundy Canyon

Overall, this had to have been one of the most compelling waterfalling experiences we’ve done to date, which was really saying something for a hike that didn’t have a signature waterfall as a goal.

The variety of Lundy Canyon Waterfalls

Regarding the Lundy Canyon Waterfalls themselves, I generally think of them as belonging to one of two different categories.

There were major waterfalls on Mill Creek, which was the creek flowing throughout Lundy Canyon.

Then, there were the minor waterfalls or cascades lining the walls of Lundy Canyon.

Lundy_Canyon_230_07112016 - A three-tiered cascade on Mill Creek, which was one of the 'major' waterfalls in Lundy Canyon. Note the cascade on the topleft of this photo, which I'd consider to be a 'minor' waterfall in Lundy Canyon as it's not on Mill Creek
A three-tiered cascade on Mill Creek, which was one of the ‘major’ waterfalls in Lundy Canyon. Note the cascade on the topleft of this photo, which I’d consider to be a ‘minor’ waterfall in Lundy Canyon as it’s not on Mill Creek

Based on this arbitrary classification, we’ve identified at least four permanent waterfalls on Mill Creek and at least a half-dozen minor waterfalls tumbling on Lundy Canyon’s walls.

Regarding the waterfalls on Mill Creek, we ultimately turned around at perhaps the tallest and most impressive of the bunch right near the head of Lundy Canyon (pictured at the top of this page).

This was where it could be argued that its stream was essentially where Mill Creek started, and therefore should count as the fifth waterfall we encountered on the canyon’s main creek.

Further corroborating this notion was that according to the maps, the appropriately-named 20 Lakes Basin was further beyond Lundy Canyon.

Lundy_Canyon_050_07112016 - Looking over a three-segmented waterfall on Mill Creek (another one of the 'major' waterfalls in Lundy Canyon) backed by the head of the canyon itself
Looking over a three-segmented waterfall on Mill Creek (another one of the ‘major’ waterfalls in Lundy Canyon) backed by the head of the canyon itself

It seemed like several of the lakes drained into the creek responsible for that last waterfall, which gave Mill Creek and its waterfalls staying power.

Timing and Logistics of Hiking in Lundy Canyon

So far, we’ve done this hike a couple of times – once in the late afternoon on a July 4th weekend in 2002 and the most recent time in the early morning of a mid-July 2016 trip.

In both instances, we encountered a lot of mosquitoes, but the fairly high altitude of the canyon meant that it never really got unbearably hot even if the rest of the Owens Valley and the Mono Basin would be in the mid- to high 90s.

That said, when it came to the time of the year to do this hike, July seemed to be the perfect month for a visit.

Lundy_Canyon_205_07112016 - Wildflowers were definitely in bloom in Lundy Canyon in July
Wildflowers were definitely in bloom in Lundy Canyon in July

After all, most of the snow obstacles had melted away yet provided enough meltwaters to feed the waterfalls.

Furthermore, July also seemed to be the month when most of the wildflowers were in bloom.

As for the timing during the day, we’ve found that doing the hike in the morning was perfect as well since the sun would be behind us for the best lighting conditions.

Meanwhile, the morning temperatures remained cool when we were getting most of the climbing out of the way.

Lundy_Falls_002_07052002 - Waterfalls in Lundy Canyon were definitely flowing very well in the month of July
Waterfalls in Lundy Canyon were definitely flowing very well in the month of July

Plus, the overall experience was peaceful because we were in Lundy Canyon well before most of the day hikers and overnight backpackers would start on this pretty popular hike.

As for the logistics of the Lundy Canyon Waterfalls hike, our book by Ann Marie Brown said it was 4.5 miles round trip.

On our first visit in 2002, we pretty much followed the book and did this hike in around 3 hours.

However, in our more recent visit in 2016, we wound up spending over 5.5 hours to hike roughly 6 miles as we definitely went further than what was described in Brown’s book.

Lundy_Falls_025_07052002 - This Lundy Canyon Waterfall in Mill Creek was our turnaround point when we first hiked here back in July 2002, which was also Ann Marie Brown's turnaround point in her write-up
This Lundy Canyon Waterfall in Mill Creek was our turnaround point when we first hiked here back in July 2002, which was also Ann Marie Brown’s turnaround point in her write-up

The trail undulated but was generally uphill for much of the way going up to the head of Lundy Canyon.

The elevation gain was especially towards the end where it was possible to continue climbing up to the 20 Lakes Basin (something we weren’t able to do for reasons we’ll get to in the trail description below).

This was the primary reason why we’d recommend getting an early start on this hike so there would be more options available without running out of time and energy.

Lundy Canyon Trail Description – reaching the third waterfall on Mill Creek

From the Lundy Canyon Trailhead (see directions below), we immediately meandered through a fairly dense bush area where after roughly five minutes, we encountered a trail junction.

Lundy_Canyon_009_07112016 - Mom and Dad in a fairly dense bush area in the early part of our Lundy Canyon hike
Mom and Dad in a fairly dense bush area in the early part of our Lundy Canyon hike

The trail continued to the right where there was an interpretive sign (there used to be a sign saying “Lundy Pass” here).

The path going straight ahead went to the edges of a large pond.

This was where we managed to get gorgeous views of Lundy Canyon as well as the first main waterfall on Mill Creek, which was a three-segmented cascade partially seen over some trees.

From this vantage point, we were also able to see a handful of other waterfalls tumbling down the walls of Lundy Canyon.

Lundy_Canyon_061_07112016 - Mom checking out the first major Lundy Canyon Waterfall we saw on Mill Creek from this rocky outcrop at the apex of the initial section of climbing
Mom checking out the first major Lundy Canyon Waterfall we saw on Mill Creek from this rocky outcrop at the apex of the initial section of climbing

Meanwhile, as we continued along the main trail, it immediately started to ascend for the next several minutes as we’d eventually get to a bare outcrop.

At this outcrop, we had a more top down angled view of that first waterfall on Mill Creek as well as a top down view of the pond that the falls drained into.

From this vantage point, we noticed one of the waterfalls high up near the head of Lundy Canyon towards our left had a thick shape.

Little would we realize that this distant waterfall would be the last one we’d be getting close to (but I’m getting ahead of myself).

Lundy_Canyon_045_07112016 - Zoomed in look at that distant waterfall that would end up being the last Lundy Canyon Waterfall we'd see on this hike much later on
Zoomed in look at that distant waterfall that would end up being the last Lundy Canyon Waterfall we’d see on this hike much later on

The outcrop marked the apex of that initial climb, and then the trail descended steeply towards the level of Mill Creek.

The trail encountered a few creek crossings with strategically laid-out logs to facilitate such crossings without getting the feet wet.

At roughly 45 minutes from the interpretive sign (20 minutes beyond the rock outcrop), we reached another pond area.

Towards the far end of this pond, we then had to do a longer log crossing of Mill Creek (I swore there was a bridge here the first time we did this hike in 2002).

Lundy_Canyon_131_07112016 - Looking towards a mostly hidden cascade on Mill Creek that I considered to be the second 'major' Lundy Canyon Waterfall
Looking towards a mostly hidden cascade on Mill Creek that I considered to be the second ‘major’ Lundy Canyon Waterfall

Just upstream from that crossing was a mostly hidden waterfall on Mill Creek, which I had dubbed the “second waterfall on Mill Creek.”

Beyond this long crossing of Mill Creek, the trail then resumed its climb providing us with a more close-up look at another cascade tumbling high up on Lundy Canyon’s south-facing wall.

When the climb petered out and crossed Mill Creek again, we then went into a well-vegetated area where we passed by the remnants of what appeared to be a log cabin.

Shortly after this cabin, the vegetation started opening up.

Lundy_Canyon_143_07112016 - Mom making the climb up beyond the second Mill Creek Waterfall with one of Lundy Canyon's other attractive cascades tumbling down the canyon walls in the background
Mom making the climb up beyond the second Mill Creek Waterfall with one of Lundy Canyon’s other attractive cascades tumbling down the canyon walls in the background

That was when we noticed a pair of cascades on the north-facing wall of Lundy Canyon to our left (perhaps the third and fourth waterfalls in the minor waterfalls category).

As we continued hiking further up Lundy Canyon, we started to notice a few more cascades coming down the south-facing wall.

At this point, we started losing count on the quantity of the minor cascades as some of them were new while others could be the same ones seen from a more unfamiliar angle.

Eventually, the trail would skirt alongside Mill Creek again before rounding a bend and affording us with a look at what I’m dubbing the third Mill Creek Waterfall.

Lundy_Canyon_202_07112016 - Context of Mom and Dad traversing a marshy mix of tall grass and bush between the second and third major Lundy Canyon Waterfalls
Context of Mom and Dad traversing a marshy mix of tall grass and bush between the second and third major Lundy Canyon Waterfalls

This so-called third waterfall on Mill Creek was our turnaround point of our first experience here back in 2002, and it was also the recommended turnaround point in Ann Marie Brown’s book.

It was an attractive three-tiered cascade that we were able to get up close to and even have a picnic over the brink of the first of these three drops.

In addition, we noticed at least three or four more cascading waterfalls tumbling down Lundy Canyon’s walls from this spot.

Thus, it seemed to make sense why we had also noticed later in the day that quite a few other day hikers would make it up to here before turning back (thereby making this a 4.5-mile round trip hike).

Lundy_Canyon_261_07112016 - Closeup look at part of that third major Lundy Canyon Waterfall on Mill Creek, which would be the turnaround point for most day hikers, especially if you follow Ann Marie Brown's book
Closeup look at part of that third major Lundy Canyon Waterfall on Mill Creek, which would be the turnaround point for most day hikers, especially if you follow Ann Marie Brown’s book

However, on our more recent visit, we were a little more ambitious (and curious) and wound up continuing further up Lundy Canyon to see what else this place had to offer day hikers like us.

Lundy Canyon Trail Description – continuing to the head of the canyon

So the trail steeply went up a forested area with plenty of spur paths to get at different tiers of this third waterfall on Mill Creek.

Once we got up past the tree-shaded area adjacent to that third waterfall, the scenery opened up once again.

This time, we managed to get distant views of what I’m claiming to be the fourth waterfall on Mill Creek.

Lundy_Canyon_291_07112016 - Contextual look towards the fourth major Lundy Canyon Waterfall, which we didn't scramble closer to
Contextual look towards the fourth major Lundy Canyon Waterfall, which we didn’t scramble closer to

Apparently, there was a spur path to get closer to it, but we didn’t pursue it (though in hindsight, I’m regretting not doing it).

Nevertheless, the trail then continued to climb beyond this waterfall while getting closer to the cirque at the head of Lundy Canyon making it appear even more tantalizingly within reach.

The climb felt pretty relentless as we were approaching the tree line where the scenery shifted from dense forests into more spaced out trees and bush.

At roughly 30 minutes beyond the third Mill Creek Waterfall, the trail started to narrow and traverse some loose talus rocks.

Lundy_Canyon_317_07112016 - Looking back towards Lundy Canyon as the trail continued to climb its way to the cirque at the canyon's head
Looking back towards Lundy Canyon as the trail continued to climb its way to the cirque at the canyon’s head

Meanwhile, the path continued to climb higher and closer to the rim of Lundy Canyon.

We’d eventually get up to an area where the trail started to become ill-defined amongst the talus slopes.

I suspected that the trail was somehow supposed to ascend the steep and loose talus slope to ultimately make it up to the 20 Lakes Basin.

However, during our hike, the talus seemed dangerously steep, especially with the unsure footing as well as the presence of a few remaining snow patches.

Lundy_Canyon_336_07112016 - Dad traversing a loose talus slope as we climbed towards the head of Lundy Canyon
Dad traversing a loose talus slope as we climbed towards the head of Lundy Canyon

I wondered if over time, erosion would cause the loose talus to bury the trail that was once here.

Furthermore, I also wondered if this part of the trail wasn’t well-used enough to keep it defined and somewhat less dangerous to follow.

So it turned out that there was a different trail of use that left the talus slopes further downhill (close to where the trail started becoming ill-defined).

It ultimately reached the last waterfall that we’d be close to, which I’m dubbing the fifth waterfall on Mill Creek.

Lundy_Canyon_365_07112016 - Looking up at the fifth main waterfall we encountered in Lundy Canyon
Looking up at the fifth main waterfall we encountered in Lundy Canyon

That said, it’s debatable whether this last waterfall was formally on Mill Creek since some might say Mill Creek doesn’t occur until the streams reach the Lundy Canyon floor.

Up at this precarious viewing spot of the falls, we saw a tall dropping tier before it cascaded below past us and ultimately draining down into the foot of Lundy Canyon ultimately becoming Mill Creek (if it hasn’t already).

While we were checking out this last waterfall, we noticed an attractive cascade right across the canyon from us.

In addition, we observed a couple of backpackers carrying heavy packs identify and take a very steep trail with some loose talus alongside the ridge overlooking the stream carved out by this last waterfall.

Lundy_Canyon_379_07112016 - Backpackers continuing their ascent beyond our last waterfall and towards the 20 Lakes Basin
Backpackers continuing their ascent beyond our last waterfall and towards the 20 Lakes Basin

We didn’t feel comfortable doing that steep scramble for a more direct face-on view of that last waterfall as well as continuing the hike up to the 20 Lakes Basin (which turned out to be another 2.5 miles beyond this spot or 5 miles round trip).

However, the pair of backpackers didn’t seem terribly fazed by the somewhat potentially hazardous conditions of this ascent (as well as even scarier descent, I’m sure).

Anyways, we had spent over 3 hours to get to this point from the start of the Lundy Canyon Hike.

Even though the remainder of the hike would be mostly downhill, it still took us nearly 2.5 additional hours to complete (for a grand total of 5.5 hours on the trail).

Lundy_Canyon_391_07112016 - Mom and Dad heading back from the head of Lundy Canyon after having had our fill of the fifth major Lundy Canyon Waterfall
Mom and Dad heading back from the head of Lundy Canyon after having had our fill of the fifth major Lundy Canyon Waterfall

Although it felt like we were the only ones on the trail when we headed out early in the morning, on the way back, we encountered dozens of hikers and backpackers making their way up the canyon.

So clearly, this place was more popular than what we were giving it credit for, but it was a far cry from the crowds at the neighboring Yosemite National Park.

That in itself might also be another motivating reason to do this beautiful hike as a respite of the crush at the over-the-top granite paradise of Yosemite

Authorities

The Lundy Canyon Waterfalls reside in Inyo National Forest near Lee Vining in Mono County and Tuolumne County, California. It is administered by the USDA Forest Service. For information or inquiries about the reserve as well as current conditions, visit the USDA website or their Facebook page.

Lundy_Canyon_011_07112016 - This was the gorgeous view just beyond the first junction where we got to see the context of the first Mill Creek Waterfall with Lundy Canyon reflected in the pond as well as other cascades tumbling down the canyon walls as they feed Mill Creek
Lundy_Canyon_016_07112016 - Zoomed in look at the trio of segments comprising what I'm calling the first major Lundy Canyon Waterfall on Mill Creek
Lundy_Canyon_021_07112016 - Looking towards the head of Lundy Canyon where there was a prominently tall cascade on the right as well as a thicker waterfall to the left (the latter turning out to be the last waterfall we'd get close to, which gives you an idea of how far we went)
Lundy_Canyon_032_07112016 - Mom and Dad continuing on the main Lundy Canyon Trail past an interpretive sign (I swore this sign used to be a more humble one saying 'Lundy Pass' back in 2002)
Lundy_Canyon_037_07112016 - Dad and Mom making the climb up to an outcrop or knob that would ultimately bypass the first major Lundy Canyon Waterfall on Mill Creek
Lundy_Canyon_044_07112016 - The Lundy Canyon Trail did its first serious ascent as we were rising up out of the Lundy Canyon floor and eventually rejoining Mill Creek after getting past the first waterfall on that creek
Lundy_Canyon_067_07112016 - Mom checking out the first major waterfall on Mill Creek from the rocky outcrop at the apex of the initial climb
Lundy_Canyon_078_07112016 - After reaching the apex of the initial climb, we then steeply descended down towards the level of Mill Creek (knowing this would be a taxing climb on the return hike back to the Lundy Canyon Trailhead)
Lundy_Canyon_082_07112016 - This log-assisted stream crossing was the first in what would turn out to be several of these types of crossings throughout the Lundy Canyon Hike
Lundy_Canyon_084_07112016 - Mom continuing on the Lundy Canyon trail as we were entering the Hoover Wilderness section of Inyo National Forest
Lundy_Canyon_089_07112016 - Dad and Mom continuing the hike beyond that first waterfall on Mill Creek
Lundy_Canyon_096_07112016 - Closeup look at a wildflower blooming alongside the Lundy Canyon Trail
Lundy_Canyon_105_07112016 - Mom traversing another log-assisted stream crossing over Mill Creek on the Lundy Canyon hike
Lundy_Canyon_108_07112016 - As the Lundy Canyon Trail followed alongside some well-vegetated portions, we encountered many wildflowers like these
Lundy_Canyon_109_07112016 - Mom continuing along the lush Lundy Canyon Trail as we were somewhere between the first and second major Lundy Canyon Waterfalls on Mill Creek
Lundy_Canyon_112_07112016 - Looking towards a pond as seen along the Lundy Canyon hike
Lundy_Canyon_113_07112016 - Mom and Dad continuing through this lush section of the Lundy Canyon Trail
Lundy_Canyon_119_07112016 - At around 15-20 minutes beyond the rock outcrop at the apex of the initial climb of the Lundy Canyon Trail, we reached this attractive pond near the second waterfall on Mill Creek
Lundy_Canyon_127_07112016 - Looking up at one of the attractive cascades tumbling down Lundy Canyon's south-facing wall to our right
Lundy_Canyon_133_07112016 - Dad traversing a fairly long log-assisted crossing of Mill Creek in context with the hidden second 'major' Lundy Canyon Waterfall on Mill Creek to his right
Lundy_Canyon_137_07112016 - After the long log-assisted crossing of Mill Creek, the Lundy Canyon Trail started climbing again
Lundy_Canyon_143_07112016 - Context of Mom on the Lundy Canyon Trail with one of the 'minor' Lundy Canyon Waterfalls tumbling down reddish mountains in the distance
Lundy_Canyon_155_07112016 - Dad and Mom traversing yet another log-assisted crossing of Mill Creek shortly after the apex of the second climb of the Lundy Canyon hike
Lundy_Canyon_156_07112016 - Dad and Mom going past some remnant of a log cabin adjacent to the Lundy Canyon Trail
Lundy_Canyon_160_07112016 - The stretch of Lundy Canyon Trail beyond the climb following the log-assisted crossing by the second Mill Creek Waterfall as it went from densely vegetated to little open patches of meadow like this one
Lundy_Canyon_162_07112016 - Looking in the distance towards the head of Lundy Canyon where there was a snowmelt cascade tumbling at the topright of this photo
Lundy_Canyon_169_07112016 - Looking towards the north-facing wall where this minor cascade was tumblinbg into Lundy Canyon
Lundy_Canyon_170_07112016 - The muddiest parts of the Lundy Canyon Trail also got the log-assist treatment
Lundy_Canyon_177_07112016 - Looking in the distance towards another one of the countless minor Lundy Canyon Waterfalls
Lundy_Canyon_179_07112016 - Dad rounding a bend in the Lundy Canyon Trail as he went around this thick bushy patch
Lundy_Canyon_183_07112016 - Looking up at a pair of cascades tumbling down the north-facing wall of Lundy Canyon. I started losing count of how many Lundy Canyon Waterfalls we had seen at this point
Lundy_Canyon_192_07112016 - Mom and Dad continuing on the Lundy Canyon Trail as the dense vegetation ultimately gave way to more open scenery
Lundy_Canyon_198_07112016 - Context of Mom continuing along this quieter part of the Lundy Canyon Trail between the second and third major waterfalls on Mill Creek
Lundy_Canyon_213_07112016 - Looking ahead at the third major Lundy Canyon Waterfall on Mill Creek backed by the head of Lundy Canyon along with the snowmelt cascade
Lundy_Canyon_224_07112016 - Dad and Mom approaching the third major waterfall on Mill Creek. This waterfall was our turnaround point when we first did this hike back in July 2002
Lundy_Canyon_232_07112016 - Looking at the three-tiered cascade that I'm calling the third major Lundy Canyon Waterfall on Mill Creek
Lundy_Canyon_241_07112016 - More focused look at the third waterfall on Mill Creek
Lundy_Falls_025_07052002 - Just to give you an idea of how morning is best when visiting the Lundy Canyon Waterfalls, here's a photo taken in the late afternoon of July 2002 when we first did this hike and reached the third waterfall on Mill Creek. Note how we were looking against the sun at this time
Lundy_Canyon_250_07112016 - Context of the third major Lundy Canyon Waterfall with another minor waterfall on the topright of it
Lundy_Canyon_254_07112016 - More attractive wildflowers blooming near the third major waterfall on Mill Creek
Lundy_Canyon_263_07112016 - Looking upstream at the rest of the third major waterfall on Mill Creek while we were picnicking at the brink of the first tier of this falls
Lundy_Canyon_280_07112016 - Mom and Dad picnicking atop the first drop of the third Mill Creek waterfall
Lundy_Canyon_292_07112016 - Continuing beyond the third Mill Creek Waterfall, the trail climbed steeply some more while also revealing this fourth waterfall on Mill Creek
Lundy_Canyon_296_07112016 - Lots of these orange wildflowers flanking the Lundy Canyon Trail as we continued to approach its head
Lundy_Canyon_300_07112016 - As the Lundy Canyon Trail was continuing its climb before veering left to hug the north-facing canyon walls to resume the climb, we started to finally see the head of Lundy Canyon
Lundy_Canyon_328_07112016 - At this point, our mindset was to see if it might be possible to reach the 20 Lakes Basin as a day hike, but as the Lundy Canyon Trail continued climbing on looser talus slopes, it was taking a bit more out of us
Lundy_Canyon_333_07112016 - Dad continuing to walk up this slope-hugging part of the Lundy Canyon Trail with the head of the canyon in the distance
Lundy_Canyon_342_07112016 - Dad was approaching the cluster of trees at the end of this talus section of the Lundy Canyon hike. Little would we realize that the trail became ill-defined at this point, and it would mark the point where we'd scramble a bit further amongst the trees to get a closer look at an impressive waterfall (which you can glimpse in this picture at the topleft)
Lundy_Canyon_343_07112016 - This was the point of the Lundy Canyon hike where continuing up the talus slopes became ill-defined and we started to wonder whether we had lost the trail
Lundy_Canyon_346_07112016 - When Dad and Mom stopped, I did a little exploration further up the talus slopes, which quickly became dangerously steep and loose, and then I saw this snow patch (without footprints). By this time, I concluded that I shouldn't be continuing up this way
Lundy_Canyon_350_07112016 - Looking downslope from the futile talus scramble that I embarked on near the head of Lundy Canyon
Lundy_Canyon_356_07112016 - Context of Mom and Dad exploring around the talus slope where we lost the Lundy Canyon Trail
Lundy_Canyon_362_07112016 - Finally starting to see the fifth major Lundy Canyon Waterfall
Lundy_Canyon_368_07112016 - After rejoining Mom and Dad further down the talus slope, we then explored a faint and eroded trail-of-use, which ultimately led us to this view of what we're deeming to be the last or fifth major Lundy Canyon Waterfall (at least the last one we'd be getting close to)
Lundy_Canyon_372_07112016 - Looking further ahead towards the other side of Lundy Canyon's head right at the cascade we had been seeing for almost the entire hike from the trailhead up to the last Lundy Canyon Waterfall
Lundy_Canyon_381_07112016 - There was a pair of backpackers determined to go to the 20 Lakes Basin who decided that this steep slope was where they should continue their ascent. It looked a bit too steep for our liking so we were content to enjoy this waterfall before turning back
Lundy_Canyon_388_07112016 - Mom and Dad making the fairly long hike back to the Lundy Canyon Trailhead, but they first had to get past the talus slopes again
Lundy_Canyon_397_07112016 - The return hike was just as rewarding as we were getting gorgeous views of the contour of Lundy Canyon's U-shaped profile (suggesting that a glacier might have been here in its past)
Lundy_Canyon_410_07112016 - Another look back towards the distant fourth major Mill Creek Waterfall in Lundy Canyon
Lundy_Canyon_411_07112016 - All zoomed in on that elusive fourth major Lundy Canyon Waterfall on Mill Creek
Lundy_Canyon_412_07112016 - Dad descending the steep forested Lundy Canyon Trail near the third waterfall on Mill Creek
Lundy_Canyon_421_07112016 - Context of Dad continuing the long descent back to the Lundy Canyon Trailhead
Lundy_Canyon_430_07112016 - Looking back at one of a handful of day hikers and backpackers that we encountered during our return hike in Lundy Canyon
Lundy_Canyon_439_07112016 - Mom and Dad continuing the long return hike in Lundy Canyon as they were returning to the lush and marshy area between the third and second major waterfalls on Mill Creek
Lundy_Canyon_448_07112016 - Looking up at one of the north-facing cascades juxtaposed with snow still clinging onto some of the mountains crowning Lundy Canyon
Lundy_Canyon_459_07112016 - Returning to the pond near the second Mill Creek Waterfall
Lundy_Canyon_460_07112016 - Mom traversing some strategically-placed logs to get across Mill Creek
Lundy_Canyon_468_07112016 - Dad and Mom on the long log-assisted crossing of Mill Creek near the second Mill Creek waterfall
Lundy_Canyon_473_07112016 - Dad and Mom continuing the descent towards the Lundy Canyon Trailhead as the V-shaped canyon contour is up ahead of us
Lundy_Canyon_480_07112016 - Dad returning to the lush initial part of the Lundy Canyon hike as we were nearing the end
Lundy_Canyon_481_07112016 - Five and a half hours after we started our hike of Lundy Canyon, we finally made it back
Lundy_Canyon_015_07052002 - Driving alongside Lundy Lake to the trailhead. Note how we were looking against the sun when this photo was taken in the afternoon in July 2002. By the way, the rest of the photos in this gallery have come from that first visit in July 2002
Lundy_Canyon_013_07052002 - Looking over some swampy pond in the direction of Lundy Canyon near the trailhead during our afternoon visit in July 2002
Lundy_Falls_001_07052002 - The first major Lundy Canyon Waterfall we encountered in July 2002
Lundy_Falls_003_07052002 - More zoomed in look down towards that first major Lundy Canyon Waterfall as the trail climbed
Lundy_Falls_004_07052002 - Gorgeous alpine scenery backing the first major Lundy Canyon Waterfall that we saw on Mill Creek
Lundy_Falls_008_07052002 - A minor cascade tumbling down the mountainside in Lundy Canyon as seen in July 2002
Lundy_Falls_014_07052002 - Looking directly at a cascade on Mill Creek near a bridge. I considered this to be the second major Lundy Canyon Waterfall on Mill Creek
Lundy_Canyon_005_07052002 - Context looking back towards the pond beneath the first of the major Lundy Canyon Waterfalls
Lundy_Canyon_008_07052002 - Looking downstream as the trail continued climbing
Lundy_Canyon_010_07052002 - Another look back towards Lundy Lake as the trail continued climbing
Lundy_Canyon_012_07052002 - Looking across an attractive pond somewhere near the second major Lundy Canyon Waterfall
Lundy_Canyon_004_07052002 - Deep blue reflections in a pond seen by the Lundy Canyon Trail
Lundy_Falls_017_07052002 - Another cascade tumbling down a canyon wall in Lundy Canyon as seen in July 2002
Lundy_Falls_018_07052002 - Another cascade we saw tumbling down a canyon wall facing north in Lundy Canyon in July 2002
Lundy_Falls_021_07052002 - Same cascade we saw tumbling down a north-facing canyon wall in Lundy Canyon as the prior photo
Lundy_Falls_022_07052002 - Yet another cascade we saw tumbling down a canyon wall in Lundy Canyon in July 2002
Lundy_Falls_023_07052002 - A cascade in shadow near the turnaround point of our Lundy Canyon hike in July 2002
Lundy_Falls_026_07052002 - Still another cascade near the turnaround point of the Lundy Canyon hike in July 2002
Lundy_Falls_027_07052002 - Last look at the multi-tiered minor cascade near the third major Lundy Canyon Waterfall at the turnaround point of our hike in July 2002

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The nearest town to the Lundy Canyon Waterfalls was Lee Vining so we’ll describe the driving route from there.

At the Hwy 120 / Hwy 395 junction just 0.7 miles south of Lee Vining, we drove north for about 7.5 miles towards a four-way junction.

At this junction, the road on the left led towards Lundy Lake while the road on the right was for Hwy 167 heading to Henderson, Nevada.

Lundy_Canyon_017_07052002 - Looking across Lundy Lake on the road leading to the Lundy Canyon Trailhead
Looking across Lundy Lake on the road leading to the Lundy Canyon Trailhead

Given the high speed of Hwy 395, this junction came up quickly so we had to be prepared to get into the passing lane on the left before taking the left-turn only lane as we got within a mile of this turnoff.

We turned left onto the road leading to Lundy Lake, and then followed this paved road for the next 5 miles past the man-made Lundy Lake towards the Lundy Lake Resort.

Beyond the resort, the road became unpaved with a few fairly rough spots.

That said, we saw plenty of passenger vehicles do this road with care.

Lundy_Canyon_003_moms_07112016 - Getting an early morning start meant we could enjoy scenes like this with the perfect backlighting as the sun continued to rise behind us
Getting an early morning start meant we could enjoy scenes like this with the perfect backlighting as the sun continued to rise behind us

This unpaved stretch persisted for a little over the next mile (providing us with some gorgeous views of Lundy Canyon reflected in a neighboring pond adjacent to the rough road) before getting to a one-way clockwise loop.

Within this loop, we staked a claim to one of a handful of parking spots.

The Lundy Canyon Trailhead began at the opposite end of this short loop.

Overall, this drive took us about 30 minutes (from the Tioga Gas Mart at the Hwy 395/Hwy 120 to the Lundy Canyon Trailhead).

Lundy_Canyon_004_07112016 - Context of the Lundy Canyon Trailhead and one of the nearest parking spots
Context of the Lundy Canyon Trailhead and one of the nearest parking spots

For geographical context, Lee Vining was to the south near the western shores of Mono Lake as well as the junction of the Hwy 395 and Hwy 120 (the latter leading to the seasonal East Entrance of Yosemite National Park at Tioga Pass).

The nearest town to the north was Bridgeport (roughly 25 miles north of Lee Vining). Lee Vining was about 26 miles north of the main Hwy 203 turnoff for Mammoth Lakes along Hwy 395.

Panning around the first view of several of the Lundy Canyon Waterfalls over a reflective pond


360 degree sweep from a bluff overlooking the first of the waterfalls on Mill Creek while also showing Lundy Lake as well as the pond downstream of that first waterfall


360 degree sweep showing the 3rd falls on Mill Creek as well as showing other cascades coming down the north side of Lundy Canyon before concluding back at the 3rd falls on Mill Creek again


Back and forth sweep from our picnic spot right above the lowermost tier of the 3rd falls on Mill Creek while also panning downstream to show some of the wildflowers in bloom


Sweep going back and forth up and down checking out the last waterfall we saw at Lundy Canyon then panning over downstream towards other cascades as well as some wildflowers before concluding back at the last waterfall again

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Tagged with: inyo, mono, tuolumne, hoover, lee vining, bridgeport, sierra, eastern sierra, bodie, california, waterfall, mammoth



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