Chocolate mountain is located in the John Muir Wilderness of California. The closest city is Bishop, California. Taking the 395 North it’s quite a ways up from Los Angeles. But the scenery up here is priceless. The fishing is good too. This trip was the second time I had been to the area.
The first time I came we backpacked to Chocolate mountain, since we wanted to do an easy trail. You can fish in the lakes. That trip was one of the first times I caught lake trout in the lakes near Chocolate mountain. So, knowing what to expect at least for the first half of the trip, we decided to return. This time we wanted to climb Bishop Pass and see what Dusy Basin looked like.
The trail to Dusy Basin starts at the South Lake trailhead. Going toward Chocolate mountain is an easy and relatively flat trail ~ 3 miles one way. Bishop pass was another 3.5 mile hike from Chocolate mountain. But reaching the pass requires traversing a lot of switchbacks. Furthermore, there is also no shade and 1000 foot elevation gain. So we decided to set up camp at Chocolate mountain and do a day hike out to Dusy Basin. You may want to consider doing the same and leaving your stuff at camp below if possible.
In fact, we left most of our equipment at Chocolate Mountain and just took snacks and water in a day pack on the way up. Looking back, I think the views from Chocolate mountain might actually be better than from the Pass because you have a 360 degree view of all the lakes in the area. So, when you are planning your trip consider the hike up Chocolate mountain as an alternative to the pass or something to check out also.
In summary, this is one of the easier hikes (at least to Chocolate mountain) in the area. And I would recommend it for someone who wasn’t looking for something too strenuous. If you plan to stay overnight it gives you extra time to explore the area.
If you are interested in hiking the Sierra’s I would highly recommend you buy a couple books on the hikes in the area. I’ve had these for a while now, and use them on every trip up there. You can find both on Amazon. Sierra South here and Sierra North here.
Here are some pics from a trip I took to Chocolate Mountain, Bishop Pass and Dusy Basin. Enjoy!
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