Directions: The trailhead to Hilton lakes can be accessed from two locations. Leave Hwy 395 on McGee Creek Road about 6.5 miles north of Tom's Place (Rock Creek). Tom's Place is 30 miles north of Bishop, 9 miles south of the Mammoth Lakes turnoff, or 34 miles south of Lee Vining.
Turn southeast (left) at Crowley Lake Drive at a 4-way stop sign. About 1.1 miles south of this stop sign, turn uphill (right) at Hilton Creek Road . There is a large wooden sign here reading 'Crowley Lake Recreation Site'. It's all uphill on an increasingly bad dirt road. The main road goes left into the Lake Crowley Campground , but there is a small wooden sign indicating you should go straight to reach the Hilton Lakes Trail. Keep going straight uphill, past all the turnouts, past the National Forest Boundary sign where the road gets noticeably worse, and think about stopping at the large parking area at 7500' . 2WD passenger cars can easily get here, where a 4WD side road goes west and the trailhead road continues south. This is a good place for passenger cars to stop because there won't be a good place to turn around or park until after the really bad section where a corner leaves you looking at big rocks and deep ruts. Above the bad portion there is another small parking area (marked by a sign) and a short walk to the gate where the trail actually starts at 7800'. It's about 5 miles from the trailhead to Hilton #1 (Davis Lake).
The other route is to take Rock Creek Road off Hwy 395, it's a 7.4 mile drive to the trailhead and gets you up to 9400 feet elevation, so the climb isn't as bad. The hike is 4.2 miles to Hilton #1 (Davis Lake) with a 1000 foot gain to get over a ridge before it drops into the basin.
Hilton Lakes is a fairly wet area with plenty of mosquitos in the early summer months, particularly around Hilton #1 and 2. It is popular with the pack trains coming from Rock Creek Pack Station and McGee Pack Station. Usually they take their clients to Hilton #1, #2, or #3.
Local Lakes are:
Hilton Lake #1 (Davis Lake) : Elevation 9,808 feet, Contains Brookies, Browns, and Rainbows.
Hilton Lake #2 : Elevation 9,852. About .25 mile above Hilton #1. It's a one mile hike to get to the lake from the outlet of Hilton #1. Contains Brookies, Browns, and Rainbows.
Hilton Lake #3 : Elevation 10,300 feet. About 2 mile hike from Hilton #1. Contains Goldens and Golden/Rainbow hybrids.
Hilton Lake #4 :Elevation 10,353. About 2.5 mile hike from Hilton #1. Contains Brookies.
Hilton Lake #5 : Elevation 10,360. About 2.5 mile hike from Hilton #1. Contains Brookies.
Hilton Lake #6 : Elevation 10,725. About 2.7 miles from Hilton #1. Contains Brookies and Golden/Rainbow hybrds
Hilton Lake #7 : Elevation 10,800 feet. About 2.9 miles from Hilton #1. Contains Brookies.
Hilton Lake #8 : Elevation 10,840 feet. About 2.8 miles from Hilton #1. Contains Goldens and Golden/Rainbow hybrids.
Hilton Lake #9 : Elevation 11,054 feet. About 3.4 miles from Hilton #1. Contains Goldens and Golden/Rainbow hybrids
Hilton Lake #10 : Elevation 11,200 feet. About 3.4 miles from Hilton #1. Contains Brookies and Golden/Rainbow Hybrids