Access Phelps Lake via the Phelps Lake Overlook. From the overlook, hikers will drop down to the lakeshore via a series of switchbacks. From there, visitors can access the Phelps Lake Loop Trail and continue on as short or long as they like. The hike back to the overlook is a strenuous, uphill climb. Visitors not used to the elevation should take time and bring plenty of water for the return trip.
The Phelps Lake Trail is a strenuous, 4.2 m/6.8 km RT out and back trail with 1050ft elevation gain.
Death Canyon Trailhead
Park at the Death Canyon Trailhead to access the Phelps Lake Trail. The Death Canyon Trailhead is located one mile down a rutted, dirt road. The road is not recommended for vehicles with low clearance. Exercise caution when driving down the Death Canyon Road and pull fully off of the road if parking on the shoulder.
Permits are required for those planning to stay overnight in the backcountry. Visit the backcountry page to learn about obtaining a permit.
Time of Day
Phelps Lake is a strenuous, 4.2 mile (6.8 km) roundtrip hike with 1050 ft (320 m) of elevation gain. The trail gains elevation headed to the overlook, then drops to the lake via a series of steep switchbacks. Head back up the switchbacks on the return. Parking for Phelps Lake Overlook is at the Death Canyon Trail head, accessible by a high-clearance vehicle.
Last updated: May 17, 2021