Chocolate Peak (CA)
Place Name: Inyo County
Place Description: State: California
Elevation: 11,682 Feet
Prominence: 322 Feet
Elevation Gain: 1,882 Feet
Chocolate Never Tasted So Good
Taking the trail out of South Lake towards Bishop Pass takes you through some beautiful country. As you enter the basin full of lakes and the 13ers like Cloudripper and Picture Puzzle tower above, a large brown peak enters your field of view smack dab in the middle of it. That peak is called Chocolate Peak and stands over 11,000 feet!
- Very short hike
- Amazing views
- Lakes, lakes, lakes
- Parking fills up fast
- Busy trail
- Loose rock headed up mountain
For a peak that is non-listed and is surrounded by major 13ers, Chocolate Peak gets a lot of action.
Standing well over 11,000 feet, Chocolate Peak gives a different perspective when it comes to the views. You can see at least a dozen lakes below you, however, you are looking up at towering peaks above you.
From the town of Bishop, follow Highway 168 to the west into the mountains. You will turn left onto South Lake Rd. and drive to its end where the trailhead to Bishop Pass enter the John Muir Wilderness.
There’s lots of parking and multiple pit toilets. This is a very busy trail head and can fill up.
From South Lake, follow the Bishop Pass Trail towards Long Lake and Chocolate Lakes. You will enter the John Muir Wilderness and follow the trail into this large basin full of lakes.
Standing in the middle of the basin is Chocolate Peak. Named for its brownish summit, it’s very descript and easy to spot.
There is a junction in the trail. To the left it goes towards Chocolate Lakes, to the right is Long Lake.
Follow the trail towards Long Lake and pass its outlet before breaking off towards the slopes of the peak.
From here the hike is cross country and there are sporadic use trails. Most of the surface is rocky and you will head up and over one little rise and drop into a small gully.
Above this it becomes class 2+, very loose, and rocky. Choose your route wisely as lots of the rocks move. It’s a fairly short climb and you will need to use you hands in places.
Once you climb above the lose rock, there is a nice easy ridge walk to the summit pile.
The summit block of is a small rock pile on the ridge with amazing views. We brought lots of chocolatey snacks and decorated the summit while we were there. Definitely the most delicious summit of all time!
The views of all the lakes and 13ers are pretty fantastic and well worth the climb to this unlisted peak.
The Final Word
The hike to Chocolate Peak is so short and there are so many lakes in the area, spending more time here is a great plan.
We actually hiked back towards the trail head and followed the junction into another basin that is the home of Treasure Lakes. This turned the entire hike into 10.8 miles with 2,900 feet of gain. Treasure Lakes offered amazing views and some pretty good fishing.
This was an exceptional day in the Sierras and I look forward to heading back here again.