Distance: 19.8 miles
Bishop, California, has front row access to the Sierra Nevada Mountains and John Muir Trail — the west coast answer to the Appalachian Trail. But runners who don’t want to screw around dodging hikers should bypass the Muir and head north from Bishop to Inyo National Forest and the Little Lakes Valley Trail. It’s a 9.9-mile lesser-known gem that tops out above 10,000 feet high in the Sierras. You’ll wind through a string of glacial lakes and wildflower meadows and it’s relatively flat but challenging for the lungs at its high altitude. You can park at Mosquito Flat Trailhead off Rock Creek Road near Highway 395 and pick up the Little Lakes trailhead from there. No permit required.
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