Hike to Yosemite's Mirror Lake
Yosemite › Mirror Lake Trailhead, Yosemite NP
Added by Mariya Dondonyan
Mirror Lake is a big pool in Tenaya Creek. There are great photo opportunities as you can get to the base of Half Dome.
Mirror Lake is a very popular spot in the Yosemite Valley and definitely a must see to check off your explore list. Crowds are much smaller if you go during the winter, but some parts of the water might be iced over.
The trailhead you take to get there is well marked and can be found at the far east end of Yosemite Valley. You have the option to take a shuttle to the trailhead or hike the extra 1.5 miles (2.4 km) round trip from Curry Village or the Ahwahnee Hotel.
The trailhead walk to the lake is really beautiful as you dive deeper into this sea of trees and enter through the woods. Total travel distance is 2.4 miles (3.8 km) round trip from the trailhead to Mirror Lake; 4 miles (6.4 km) to go all the way to the end of the trail in Tenaya Canyon and loop around. There's not a lot of climbing, and much of the trail is paved - you can even ride your bike most of the way to Mirror Lake. Elevation at trailhead is 4,000 feet (1,220 meters) and elevation gain is only 100 feet (30 meters.)
- Hiking boots
- Hiking clothes
- Sunblock/ hat/ sunglasses
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Not A Lake, Still Worth It
This isn't a lake anyway - it's a seasonal pond. Which means that it's pretty much dried up in September. DOESN'T MATTER, STILL GORGEOUS. A shortish, easy walk- no more than 40 minutes - takes you along a stream, weaving in and out of groves of cedar, until you come out into a sweeping empty space surrounded by mountains. It's not a meadow yet - the plants haven't taken hold, except for a few trees here and there and some grasses growing along a trickle of a streamlet. So you can wander around gazing up at the mountains and the vast space around you.
Great, easy valley stroll
Mirror lake is a great hike to do early in the morning, as there are significantly less people, and the walk is shaded, but the rock formations up above are beaming in the sun. Try to get there before 8 AM! There are 2 options to get to Mirror Lake. If you want to take the paved route, always stay to the left & cross Tenaya bridge! Don't take the sandy path to the right. Officially, the NPS calculates 5 miles for the full loop, so plan accordingly!
A nice walk in the park
This is a nice option when you've just tackled a longer, more strenuous hike and need something a little easier. As mentioned, the entire route is mostly on a paved road, making it suitable for walking or riding a bike. Beautiful views await once you reach the lake!
Easy Hike with Nice Rewards!
This hike is a quick one with beautiful views! I went in the winter and part of the lake was frozen making it a little difficult to see the reflections it is so famous for but it was enjoyable nonetheless.
If you have dreamed of standing beneath Half Dome to look straight up at all of its grandeur... ah... this is a must-do. The trail is actually mostly a road pretty much the entire way there and is a very nice, leisurely stroll. It is incredibly beautiful in the winter months when the snow is out and the water can "mirror" Half Dome. Highly recommended!
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