The charming town of June Lake, California is located in the Eastern Sierras, nestled at the base of Carson’s Peak. It is often referred to the Switzerland of California; the main part of the town has adorable cabins that look like Swiss chalets. June Lake is a wonderful place to visit at any time of the year, it’s perfect for nature lovers who enjoy hiking, fishing, or even kayaking but also for those who love relaxing in the great outdoors. Keep reading for all the best things to do in June Lake.
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Things to Do in June Lake
The below guide is a list of things to do in the June Lake Loop. Scroll further down for things do that are specific to each season. And continue scrolling for things to do in the nearby area. Below that, you’ll find some road trip stops if you’re driving from Southern California and up Highway 14 to Highway 395.
Visit the Lakes of the June Lake Loop
The June Lake Loop is a 16-mile loop on Highway 158 that will take you through four lakes (see below).
June Lake: June Lake is the third largest lake in the loop. The town is nestled to one side of it so there are many things to do in this area. There are also a variety of restaurants in the area, many hiking trails, and campgrounds.
Gull Lake: Gull Lake is the smallest lake in the loop. It’s the most picturesque because Carson’s Peak gives it a dramatic backdrop! Gull Lake also has a rope swing so it’s a perfect spot for swimming, just take the Gull Lake Loop. It’s a popular spot for fishermen and boaters. If you’re looking for a June Lake boat rental then head to Gull Lake Marina.
Silver Lake: Silver Lake is perfect for kayaking and fishing. You can get a kayak rental from the Silver Lake Resort (more info below). The Silver Lake campground is a short walk away as is the Silver Lake Resort which has cabins and an RV park. If you’re looking for a good meal you can also head to their cafe for breakfast or lunch (they do close early).
Grant Lake: Grant Lake is the largest lake in the loop and the least trafficked. It’s pretty desolate but great for, boating, wakeboarding, and waterskiing because of its size. If you’re looking to get away from the crowds head this way. There is also less car traffic as most visitors seem to stay between the other three lakes which are much closer together.
Rent a Kayak or Boat
Kayaking is most popular at Silver Lake Resort and if you’d looking for June Lake boat rentals you can do that at either the Silver Lake Marina or Gull Lake Marina. Silver Lake offers no-frills small boats with motors. However, you have more boat options at Gull Lake Marina and can rent larger Particraft boats that can seat up to 8-10 people.
Silver Lake Resort
You can rent kayaks at the Silver Lake Resort and launch from there as it’s only a few steps away. And if you don’t care to paddle then opt for a boat with a motor that is available as well.
Gull Lake Marina
Gull Lake Marina is the go-to place to rent a boat. They have boats of different sizes and offer full-day and half-day options.
Click on the links for the most current information on rentals and pricing.
Go Paddle Boarding
Click on the links for the most current information on rentals and pricing.
Light a Campfire and Have Some S’Mores
***Please only have a campfire where it is allowed. It’s important to know where fires are prohibited.
Most of the campgrounds have fire rings and firewood is available for sale by the camp host and most convenience stores in the June Lake area. Don’t have a campfire where it isn’t allowed. June Lake Beach and Gull Lake Park also have fire pits.
California has many wildfires in the summer so fire restrictions can change during these times. Remember that you’re responsible for your fire and do not leave it unattended. Drown your fire before leaving the site or going to bed.
Horseback Riding in June Lake
If you want to explore the area but don’t want to hike go horseback riding with Frontier Pack Station. They offer one-hour, half-day, and full-day trail rides. The one-hour rides start at various times throughout the day. Check out their website to book your ride.
Take a Hike
The June Lake Loop has many hiking trails from short to long and some with killer views. Be sure to check out the AllTrails app if you’re interested in more trails in the area and anywhere else you may go. If you’re getting into hiking check out my hiking tips for beginners.
Gull Lake Loop Trail
1.9 miles | loop | easy | 124 elevation gain
If you want an easy, mostly flat hike opt for the Gull Lake Loop. It’s only 1.9 miles and you can start at either the Gull Lake Marina parking lot or Gull Lake Park. You’ll pass through cabins and private docks. Admire the view from the trail and these are private residences. During the summer you can jump off the rope swing into the lake.
Parker Lake Trail
3.6 miles | out and back | moderate | 652 elevation gain
The Parker Lake Trail is another popular hike that starts off with a steep uphill climb but you are rewarded with a breathtaking view of Mono Lake in the distance. Parker Lake has an aqua-blue tone and is absolutely stunning surrounded by the trees and mountains. The trailhead is by Grant Lake, about 15 minutes from the Grant Lake Marina. This hike is highly recommended during the fall season when the foliage is incredible.
Fern Lake Trail
3.1 miles | out and back | strenuous | 1,564 elevation gain
The Fern Lake Trail is an elevation butt-kicker because you’ll gain over 1,500 feet in elevation in a mile and a half! On the bright side, you’ll be rewarded with amazing views of the June Lake Loop. This hike is great for late spring and into summer as the trail is full of wildflowers. It’s also a great option for fall to see the foliage.
Reversed Peak Trail
6.9 miles | out and back | moderate to difficult | 1,968 elevation gain
The Reversed Peak Trail is a lightly trafficked out and back trail that takes you to the highest point of the June Lake Loop. It offers you a chance to see some wildlife and its best hiked from May until September.
In the summer visitors flock to the area to go swimming. June Lake Beach is the place to go for June Lake swimming, so it’s important to get there early or go later in the day. On the weekends try to start your day at the beach as the parking lot fills up quickly. The beach is the most popular place to go swimming and sunbathe however you can swim at various spots in the other lakes.
You can go fishing at June Lake, Gull Lake, Silver Lake, and Grant Lake for a variety of fish including brown trout, rainbow trout, and Lahontan cutthroat trout (June Lake only). Ernie’s Tackle & Ski Shop is located in the heart of June Lake next to all the restaurants. To learn more about fishing in June Lake check out California’s Greatest Lakes website.
Check Out the Best Photo Spots in June Lake
There are so many beautiful places along the June Lake Loop that are perfect to photograph. If you’re wondering what to see at June Lake and where to photograph each of the lakes offer stunning backdrops and postcard-worthy vistas.
June Lake: June Lake Beach is a beautiful part of the lake for photos. The rocks in the water next to the shore are cool to stand by or even sit on. Also, take some photos on the side of Highway 158 just after the June Lake Loop sign.
Gull Lake: Gull Lake is such a pretty lake to photograph. Definitely check out the Gull Lake Marina area and snap some pics on the docks. You’ll have Carson’s Peak in the background.
Silver Lake: Along Highway 158 there are big rocks that you can sit or stand on to take some great pics. The area that’s closet to the Silver Lake kayak rentals but still along the highway is shallow for a few feet. Here you can easily take some photos while standing in the water.
Grant Lake: The mountains just south of the Grant Lake Marina make for a beautiful backdrop. Grant Lake is quite large and popular for boating but the mornings are quiet and the water is still. Check out sunrise or sunset here for the reflection of the colorful sky.
Many of the hikes offer photo-worthy views so don’t forget your camera when hiking. And if you’re camping don’t forget to snap some candids with your travel buddies.
Watch a Sunrise and Sunset
There’s nothing quite like watching the sunset over a lake. If you’re camping during the summer it’s almost a must to see the sunrise as well. At sunrise, the water is very still so it’s a perfect opportunity to get photos with the reflection of the surrounding mountains.
Looking for the best June Lake restaurants? One thing to note is that restaurants do tend to close early. Most are closed by 7 pm and this can change depending on the season. So before your trip take a peek at the hours so you don’t go to bed hungry. Here are some restaurant recommendations.
Silver Lake Resort – Breakfast & Lunch
Head into the Silver Lake Resort if you’re looking for a good meal you can also head to their cafe for breakfast or lunch (they do close early).
The Lift – Breakfast, Coffee, Lunch, Beer & Wine
The Lift is in the heart of June Lake and offers coffee, tea, and a yummy breakfast. They also offer lunch options along with beer and wine.
Tip: Happy Hour – 3 pm to 5 pm daily, except Sundays
June Pie Pizza – Lunch & Dinner
Have a pizza craving? Head over to June Pie Pizza for New York-style thin-crust pizza. They also offer gluten-free crust.
June Lake Brewing – Beer & Lunch from Ohanas395
Looking for the June Lake brewery? If you’re a fan of craft beer then a stop at June Lake Brewing is a must! You can also buy beer to take home. If you’re hungry have some Hawaiian food from Ohanas395. The line one weekend days can be quite long so arrive early.
Eagle’s Landing Restaurant – Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner
Eagle’s Landing Restaurant is located at the Double Eagle Resort and Spa and is a great place for a delicious meal and good drink. You’ll have all the cabin feels and a stunning view of Carson’s Peak.
Tip: Happy Hour – 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm
Things to Do in June Lake in Summer
There are many things to do at any time of year and happens to be especially busy during the summer. June Lake summer is extremely busy since everything is mostly open.
Things to Do in June Lake in Fall
Fall is another popular time to visit as the trees of the Eastern Sierras change color. Driving the June Lake Loop to see the fall foliage is a popular thing to do. If you’re visiting and planning to stay in a cabin book early as fewer visitors will likely opt for camping leaving cabins in high demand.
Things to Do in June Lake in Winter
During the winter part of the June Lake loop is closed but nonetheless it’s worth a visit. The lakes start to freeze over which is a cool sight to see. For snow sports and alpine adventure head to Mammoth Mountain, about a 20-minute drive away. In Mammoth, you can enjoy skiing and snowboarding.
Things to Do in June Lake in Spring
The springtime can still be chilly but visitors can still enjoy many activities. The middle to end of springs is when the wildflowers start to emerge so it’s a great time to hit the hiking trails.
Tips for Visiting June Lake
When planning a trip to June Lake you’ll want to keep in mind that the town is seasonal. The summer is very busy and most activities will be open (other than winter activities, of course). Check June Lake weather to make sure things like camping will be a good fit for your trip. Activities like kayaking are also available in the spring and fall so you’ll want to check for rain. June Lake is an alpine region and does experience all four seasons.
Another thing to keep in mind is that cell service can be spotty in the area. Some cafes and most cabins have WiFi but not the most reliable. The Grant Lake area doesn’t have any cell service except if you’re on the Verizon network but it’ll likely be a spotty connection.
June Lake Camping
Camping in June Lake is extremely popular during the summer. Campgrounds are packed so it’s important to plan accordingly and either secure a campground in advance or arrive early to any “first-come, first-serve” campgrounds.
There are five main campgrounds:
Oh! Ridge Campground
Oh! Ridge Campground is the largest with 144 campsites. It’s quite popular in the summer as it’s adjacent to June Lake Beach. Therefore, this area is busy with both campers and day-use visitors. However, the campground does offer nice views of the lake.
June Lake Campground
June Lake Campground is on the other side of June Lake, next to Gull Lake. It’s a smaller campground with 28 campsites and has piped water and flush toilets.
Gull Lake Campground
Gull Lake Campground is the smallest campground and offers most of the campsites lakefront views. This campground is just off the highway.
Reversed Creek Campground
Reversed Creek Campground is across from Gull Lake Campground, slightly uphill. It’s a little more spaced out than June Lake Campground and has piped water and flush toilets.
Silver Lake Campground
Silver Lake Campground is a larger campground with 63 camping sites. It’s a short walk from Silver Lake and just across from the Silver Lake Resort RV Park. This campground has piped water and flush toilets.
For more information on camping check out recreation.gov and to find primitive camping spots download the apps iOverlander and Campendium.
Cabins & Other Accommodations
June Lake has some of the coolest and cutest cabins! If you’re visiting during fall to see the fall foliage then book in advance as this is a popular time to visit.
The Double Eagle Resort and Spa is a comfortable place to stay as it offers many amenities, has an excellent location, and is located right on the creek. If you’re looking for great views and a romantic cabin stay, this is it!
Lake Front Cabins is right on June Lake and offers the traditional cabin look from the outside with hip and modern decor. And if you’re going to fish it also has a fish cleaning area.
June Lake Villager is located in the heart of the town and is less than a 10-minute walk from June Lake. It has a cool retro 70s feel to it and the backdrop of the mountains makes the place picture-perfect.
Don’t have luck finding accommodations in the area? Staying at Mammoth Lakes is an option, it’s only about a 20-minute drive away.
Stops from LA to June Lake
Are you road-tripping from Southern California to June Lake? Here are some fun stops you can visit along the way.
Red Rock Canyon
Indian Wells Brewing
Golden Cactus Ghost Town
Also, if you’re staying in June Lake for a few days and looking to do something outside the Loop then consider some of these nearby places to explore.
Mono Lake – kayaking, watching the sunset/sunrise, birdwatching
Bodie State Historic Park – Ghost Town ($8 entrance)
Yosemite National Park
Obsidian Dome (1-mile hike)
Devil’s Postpile (1.6-mile hike)
Hot Creek Geologic Site (viewpoint or a short hike for a closer view)
I hope this helps you on your next trip!
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