Hike Panum Crater Trail

Panum Crater Trail - Search Nearby - Added by Tori Marsh

Panum Crater is a small dormant crater that erupted in the 14th century, and consists of a central lava dome surrounded by an intact ring of ejecta. This short but sweet hike is perfect hike for geology enthusiasts! 

If you are visiting Mono Lake, the Panum Crater Trail is not to be missed! From 395, take highway 120 east for about 2.5 miles. Look for a small wooden sign for Panum Crater and turn left onto a dirt road. If you reach the turn-off to the South Tufa Area, you have gone too far! After about a mile on the dirt road, you will reach the a dead end, and the parking area underneath the crater. The trail starts to the right of the parking lot. Be sure to read the information board right next to the trail for cool information about the crater!

After ascending for about a half mile, you will reach a junction with a sign demarcating two trails, "rim trail," and "plug trail." The two-mile rim trail encircles the volcano and includes a magnificent panoramic view of Mono Lake and the surrounding valley. The plug trail is only a quarter of a mile long, and brings you the lava dome in the center of the volcano. This is the more popular option since you can see the lava dome. If you don't want to choose, I usually do both and it is very manageable! Both trails are easily demarcated and moderately trafficked.

The entire trail consists of mounds of obsidian and pumice, which can be quite sharp, so be sure to wear sturdy shoes! Also note that collecting rocks and obsidian at the crater or anywhere in the Mono Basin National Scenic Area is prohibited. 

Distance

3.3 Miles RT

Elevation Gain

874 ft Gain

Type

Out-and-Back

Activities

Rock Climbing, Chillin, Photography, Hiking

Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Lake
Scenic

Nearby Lodging

From $143/night

Tuolumne Meadows Lodge

Tioga Rd, YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, CA 95389, USA

From $386/night

The Majestic Yosemite Hotel

Yosemite Valley, California

From $108/night

Housekeeping Camp

Yosemite Valley, California

From $90/night

Half Dome Village

Yosemite Valley, California

Community Photos

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating:  Rate this Adventure

Have you done this adventure? Leave a review!

Tours

More Tours

Nearby Adventures

Adventure

Explore the Mono Lake Tufas under the Milky Way

Adventure

Explore and Hike Mono Lake

Adventure

Hike to Parker Lake

Adventure

Camp at Mono Lake

More Nearby Adventures