• Activities:

    Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Beginner

  • Season:

    Summer

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    2 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    600 Feet

Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Lake
Scenic

Find amazing views of the high country with this short, secluded hike in Yosemite's Tuolumne Meadows region.

The main trail to the Middle Gaylor Lake is 2 miles round-trip, but if you’re looking for more adventure, you can hike a little further to Upper Gaylor Lake (which will add a mile to your trip) or continue on to the Great Sierra Mine (which will add 2 miles to your trip). The Gaylor Lake Trail begins off the parking lot next to the Tioga Pass entrance. If the lot is full, there is another small parking area just south on the opposite side of the road.

The trail begins with a steady climb of 600 feet over the first half mile. There are few switchbacks to ease the climb and the elevation in this area is 10,000+ feet. Thankfully, the views to your back are reason enough to stop and take a break if you’re adjusting to the elevation. Once you reach the top of the ridge, the rest of the hike is downhill – less than a half mile until you reach the lake. Take time to walk along the shore and enjoy the views before turning back and retracing your steps to the parking lot. If you choose to continue to the upper lake and/or the mine, continue north on the trail.

Due to time constraints, I was not able to make the full hike to the mine, but a quick Google search of images is all the evidence I need to put the full hike on my list of adventures for my next trip to Yosemite!

Pack List

  • Comfortable shoes
  • Water
  • Snack
  • Camera
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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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Sarah Giek Explorer

Teacher by day. Explorer by weekend.

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