The Best Swimming in Yosemite

Looking for the best swimming in Yosemite? We've got you covered with the top trails, trips, hiking, backpacking, camping and more around Yosemite. The detailed guides, photos, and reviews are all submitted by the Outbound community.

Top swimming spots in and near Yosemite

  • Mariposa County, California

    Explore Tenaya Lake, Yosemite NP

    4.6
    2.5 mi
    Tenaya Lake is located alongside Tioga Road in the park's Tuolumne Meadows region. There is a family-friendly trail that surrounds the lake. Though some spots along the trail on the western shore may require fording the waters, the 2.5-mile trip is an easy hike for all to enjoy. Many others pre...
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  • Mariposa County, California

    Backpack to Grant Lake

    4.0
    12.3 mi / 2000 ft gain
    The trail begins at the Ten Lakes trailhead (7600 ft) right beside Yosemite Creek. The first 4 miles start you on the ascent through the wooded forest, however there are portions of the trail that will take you through granite rock valleys marked with only cairns so keep your eyes peeled througho...
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  • Yosemite Valley, California

    Hike to Basket Dome

    9.45 mi
    Getting There Starting in Yosemite Valley, head to the Snow Creek trailhead just past Muir Meadows. Start the hike early in the morning, since it gets pretty hot in the summer and the last part of the hike is in the sun. The Trail You'll hike more than 140 switchbacks to reach the top of Ba...
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  • Tuolumne County, California

    Backpack to Boothe Lake

    5.0
    16.6 mi / 1400 ft gain
    Starting at the Tuolomne Meadows Visitor Center you will head south to jump on the John Muir Trail, move east for 2.8 miles on the JMT until the trail intersects with the Vogelsang High Sierra trailhead, you head south when you reach this trail. Once you hit the Vogelsang trail you are 5.5 miles ...
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  • Tuolumne County, California

    Backpack to Nelson Lake

    17 mi / 1000 ft gain
    Head to any Yosemite wilderness station for a map, bear canister, and permit for Nelson Lake. The trail itself starts in the Tuolumne Campground at Elizabeth Lake trailhead. Follow the trail 2.2 miles up to Elizabeth Lake and remember the lake itself is in a no-camping zone, so you must continue ...
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  • Mariposa County, California

    Backpack to Lower Ottoway Lake

    32 mi / 2400 ft gain
    The hike begins at Mono Meadows trailhead along Glacier Point Road, first descending 2.8 steep miles to Illilouette Creek. Above the Illilouette Junction, take in views of the Valley's granite domes before beginning the post-burn forested slog. The trail covers an additional 10 miles of relativel...
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  • June Lake, California

    Hike to Parker Lake

    5.0
    3.6 mi / 646 ft gain
    Parker Lake is tucked beneath the giant mountains of Mount Wood, Mount Lewis, and Parker Peak. I hiked the Parker Lake trail during peak foliage season and I was blown away by the amazing fall colors. The trail starts off with a steady and rocky climb. After you pass the elevation gain, the trail...
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  • Yosemite National Park, California

    Backpack to Johnson Lake

    24 mi / 4500 ft gain
    Your trek begins at the Chilnualna Falls trailhead in Wawona near the South Gate in Yosemite. The first suggestion I have is to check the weather in the area to make sure you won't be slowed down by rain or snow. It's about 12 miles from the trailhead to the lake and if you are a swift hiker and ...
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  • Yosemite National Park, California

    Backpack to Crescent Lake

    20 mi / 4100 ft gain
    Crescent Lake is another beautiful spot a long the Beuna Vista loop. Starting at the Chilnualna Trailhead in Wawona, you start your journey climbing about 4.6 miles and 2,300 feet to the top of Chilnualna Falls (always a good place to rest). Beyond the falls, continue a long the trail and always ...
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  • Madera County, California

    Backpack to Lower Merced Pass Lake

    4.0
    23 mi / 880 ft gain
    LMPL (let's be honest, the full name is a mouthful) is situated just below the crest of Merced Pass, and can be accessed by hiking south from Yosemite Valley, or north from Chiquito Pass. This is a stunning and much less crowded spot to camp, or a great way to access some of the less climbed moun...
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  • Bridgeport, California

    Climb Matterhorn Peak via the East Couloir

    10 mi / 6000 ft gain
    Matterhorn Peak in the northeastern Yosemite Wilderness is an SPS Emblem Peak and many regard it as the beginning of the High Sierra, as there are no peaks higher to the north in the Sierra Nevada.There are many routes to the summit, but the shortest and most direct (though not easiest) begins at...
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  • Bridgeport, California

    Hike to Barney Lake in Hoover Wilderness

    3.0
    Barney Lake makes for an incredible day hike or trail run, but is also very accessible for camping.Start at the trailhead near the Mono Village Resort at Twin Lakes and follow the Robinson Creek Trail. If you plan on hiking during the winter, the resort will be closed and you will have to park at...
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  • June Lake, California

    Hike the Gull Lake Loop

    2 mi / 108 ft gain
    Gull Lake trail is one of my favorite hiking spots in the June Lake Loop area. It is a very scenic trail that goes through varying terrains from meadows to marshes to aspen and conifer groves.  Trailhead starts at the Mono County Community Center and winds counter-clockwise around the lake to the...
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  • June Lake, California

    Explore June Lake

    4.7
    June Lake is a hidden gem in the Eastern Sierra, just north of Mammoth Lakes. June Lake is a quaint little lake with spectacular views. The neighboring town of the same name also boasts a brewery with tasty brews. For a truly unforgettable sunset, grab some brews and walk over to June Lake for th...
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  • Tuolumne County, California

    Camp at Cherry Valley Campground

    / 4993 ft gain
    Cherry Valley Campground is typically open from May - September, weather dependent. The fee is $22 for a single family site and $44 for a double family site. The campground provides vault toilets. Each campsite is equipped with a picnic table and fire ring. Pets are welcome at Cherry Valley Campg...
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  • Madera County, California

    Backpack to Waugh Lake

    5.0
    11 mi / 1000 ft gain
    There are several trailheads you can start at to get to the lake, but we chose the River Trail in Agnew Meadows because it was the only trailhead that hadn't met the quota yet. You can check on permit's and trailheads here. If the River Trail is booked other great options are Shadow Creek, Fish C...
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