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.)

Pack List

  • Backpack
  • Camera
  • Tripod
  • Hiking boots
  • Hiking clothes
  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Sunblock/ hat/ sunglasses
Read More

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

Share

Activities:

Hiking, Photography

Skill Level:

Beginner

Season:

Year Round

Trail Type:

Out-and-Back

Distance:

2.4 Miles

Elev. Gain:

100 Feet

Rating:

Features:

Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Lake
Scenic

Are we missing something?

Suggest an edit

How to Get There

19 days ago

Don't Miss Out

Such a great way to end the day. We came here right after driving from San Francisco and man was it awesome. We stopped along the way to wade in the river and chill on the rocks. The water is freezing (even in July) but you'll get used to it. There's usually a crowd

19 days ago

3 months ago

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.

3 months ago

7 months ago

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!

7 months ago

7 months ago

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!

7 months ago

8 months ago

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.

8 months ago

12 months ago

The reflections in the pool make it a great photo spot for sunrise/sunset. In winter I've still come across a number of other photographers here.

12 months ago

12 months ago

Gorgeous stroll...

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!

12 months ago

More Adventures Nearby

Backpack Gem Lake Loop in Emigrant Wilderness

Yosemite / Crabtree Trailhead

The Gem Lake Loop is located in Emigrant Wilderness, which borders Stanislaus National Forest and Yosemite National Park, and offers incredible views, smaller crowds, and diverse terrain.

Nancy Lappetito
4 Saves

Snowshoe to Dewey Point, Yosemite NP

Yosemite / Dewey Point

Take the one-hour shuttle ride from the Yosemite Lodge to the Yosemite Ski Area, so that you don't have to worry about driving in the snowy conditions, or finding parking.

Julie & Brian
9 Saves

Explore Aguereberry Camp

Yosemite / Aguereberry Camp, Death Valley

Pete Agueberry came Death Valley in 1905. After a legal battle, Pete gained control of the Eureka Mine in 1909. He worked the mine alone for nearly 40 years before his death.

John Maurizi
3 Saves