The Minarets are a series of jagged peaks located in the Ritter Range, a sub-range of the Sierra Nevada mountains. They are easily viewed from Minaret Vista, a Forest Service recreation site located a few miles past the Main Lodge of Mammoth Mountain Ski Area. Collectively, they form an arête and are a prominent feature in the Ansel Adams Wilderness, which was known as the Minaret Wilderness until it was renamed in honor of Ansel Adams in 1984.
The peaks were named in 1868 by the California Geographical Survey, which reported: "To the south of Mount Ritter are some grand pinnacles of granite, very lofty and apparently inaccessible, to which we gave the name of 'the Minarets'."
Seventeen of the Minarets have been given unofficial names for many local explorers, including Michael Minaret, Adams Minaret, Leonard Minaret, and Clyde Minaret. Clyde Minaret, named after Norman Clyde, is the tallest of the spires.
For a more intimate view, explorers can take two trails originating from the Devils Postpile Ranger Station located near Reds Meadow:
- Minaret Falls (1.5 miles, one way). Follow the signed route upstream from the bridge. Turn right at a junction to reach the falls.
- Minaret Lake (6.2 miles, one way). Follow the signed route upstream from the bridge. At the junction at which those going to Minaret Falls go right, you continue straight ahead. The trail follows Minaret Creek to the west and reaches Minaret Lake, set in dark rock at the foot of the Minarets.
A wilderness permit is required for overnight travel and can be obtained at the Mammoth Ranger Station or any USFS station in the Inyo National Forest.