Backpack 10 Lakes Basin in Yosemite

13.8 Miles Round Trip - 2200 ft gain - Out-and-Back Trail

Ten Lakes Trailhead - Search Nearby - Added by Kyle Frost

A great short backpacking trip. Incredible lake camping and views of the high sierra. 13.8-mile out-and-back hike with 2200' elevation gain.

Beginning at the Ten Lakes trailhead, the trail to the lakes is a moderately strenuous uphill grind to Ten Lakes pass, followed by a quick downhill into the lake basin. We met a woman at the top who made sure we didn’t miss the short side trail to a vista point on the pass that offered a sweeping panorama of the basin and the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne just to the north.

The official Ten Lakes trail passes by two of the largest lakes, but we opted to ditch the trail and head for another lake we saw from the pass. Definitely the right decision. After wandering through the basin and along lakeshores for a bit, we stumbled across a perfect campsite at the far end of one of the lake, with a perfect setup for swimming, and more importantly, a sublime spot for my hammock. Our afternoon was spent relaxing in the sun with a couple of beers, and punctuated by jumps into the freezing water.

If you're an early riser, I recommend heading back up to the top of Ten Lakes pass or scrambling up a ridgeline to catch sunrise!

Tags

Photography
Swimming
Backpacking
Hiking
Forest
Lake
River
Scenic

Details

13.8 Miles
2200 ft elevation gain
Out-and-Back Trail

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Overall rating: 

perfect last-minute weekend trip

My first solo trip, at the end of September. I drove out to Yosemite on a Thursday evening, camped just outside of the park that night, and then on Friday morning at 8am I went to get a (free) wilderness permit for Ten Lakes- there were plenty of permits left. I originally planned to do a thru-hike but when I got into Ten Lakes basin, I knew I wasn't going to leave the second night. I had an entire lake to myself, and spent all of the next day exploring the other lakes in the basin. There are some absolutely spectacular campsites at these lakes- just walk around the perimeter of them and you will find so many! On my way out, I stopped at Grant Lakes...unreal!! I was the only one there and felt like I was in a magical and enchanted fairy tale. So peaceful. I was amazed how easy it was to get here and feel so far away from it all for a couple of days. Highly, highly recommend and plan on doing it again next year.

Great summer backpacking

Ten Lakes is one of my favorite short backpacking trips in Yosemite. Easily attainable High Sierra views and lakes for swimming after a hike up the pass. Campfires are allowed since the area is below 9600' elevation. Awesome spot to score a walk-up wilderness permit when Tuolumne fills up.