Hiking Project Logo

greenBlue Mirror Lake Loop

  4.0 ( 50 )

Navigate on-trail with our free app

iOS App Store Android App Store

Trail

4.7 mile 7.6 kilometer loop
Singletrack
Easy/Intermediate

Elevation

Ascent: 290' 88 m
Descent: -289' -88 m
High: 4,160' 1,268 m
Low: 3,997' 1,218 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 2% (1°)
Max Grade: 8% (4°)

Dogs

No Dogs
Driving directions Take a virtual tour
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

Trail shared by Brian Smith

A beautiful loop through Tenaya Canyon.

Brian Smith

Features Birding · Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Views · Wildlife

Family Friendly The perfect loop for an afternoon on the trails with the kids. The trail itself is fairly flat and easy, and the views won't disappoint!

This trail is open year-round. In winter, it can be icy and snowy, especially along the south side of Tenaya Creek.

Leashed pets, bicycles, and strollers are allowed on the first paved mile of the trail. Beyond that, they are prohibited.

Overview

With a fresh perspective looking up at Half Dome directly from its base, you'll be rewarded with views of Tenaya Canyon, Mount Watkins, Washington Column, and more.

Need to Know

The Valley Visitor Shuttle (7 am to 10 pm year-round) serves the trailhead at shuttle stop #17. You can also bicycle the first mile of the trail to the end of the paved service road. From there, you can either turn around or park your bike and begin your hike.

Stay on the trail! This is especially important during spring and early summer when water levels are highest. When hiking on the south side of the loop, hikers often spot what appears to be an easy way to rock-hop across Tenaya Creek, either just for fun, or as a way to shortcut the loop and rejoin the trail without doing the entire loop. While this crossing is only ankle deep at first, it quickly becomes thigh deep, and, all too often, hikers are swept into dangerous whitewater and pinned against rocks. Dont be tempted to leave the trail, and always remember when approaching moving water to look at the conditions downstream.

Description

This trail begins at shuttle stop #17. The first mile of this trail is a paved service road that leads directly to Mirror Lake. You may access the loop trail from the end of the paved path. The loop follows Tenaya Creek beyond the lake, and crosses two bridges after the Snow Creek Trail junction before returning past Mirror Lake on the south side of Tenaya Canyon. (There is no safe access to the north side of Mirror Lake directly from the south side of the loop, except via bridges at the west and east ends of the trail).

Mirror Lake has little water much of the year and, while pleasant at any time of year, it is fullest in spring and early summer, when Tenaya Creek flows freely with fresh snowmelt. When water is calm, the lake offers beautiful reflections of surrounding cliffs. Exhibits along the trail tell the story of Mirror Lake's lake-to-meadow succession, and also highlight some of the cultural history of the area. Mirror Lake is often referred to as Mirror Meadow in late summer due to the lack of water and the influx of grasses and sandy areas.

Contacts

Land Manager: NPS - Yosemite

Rate This Featured Hike

Rate Quality


   Clear Rating

Rate Difficulty

Share This Hike

Check In

Check-Ins

Apr 16, 2019
Jesus Brown
Great easy hike. 8mi — 3h 30m
Feb 18, 2019
Sabrina Bobadilla
Didn’t complete
Jan 8, 2019
Ari Trujillo Wesler
did this walk in ankle deep snow! 4.7mi
Dec 21, 2018
Sophia Barwegen
Dec 13, 2018
Bridger Deimen
Included the detour to the falls 5.7mi
Nov 26, 2018
Jinglu Shen
Mirror Lake完全干涸,露出沙质的河床。我和乐乐行至Half Dome下方时穿过河床,开始各种凹造型拍Half Dome 3mi
Nov 21, 2018
Mark Childs
Nov 11, 2018
Jon De Los Santos
Note the lake-bed is dry, but it has great views of the surrounding mountains.

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 50 votes

#138

Overall
  4.0 from 50 votes
5 Star
32%
4 Star
42%
3 Star
20%
2 Star
6%
1 Star
0%
Rankings

#19

in California

#138

Overall
153 Views Last Month
2,700 Since May 7, 2015
Easy/Intermediate Easy/Intermediate

30%
53%
14%
2%
0%
0%

0 Comments

Hiking Project is part of the REI Co-op family,
where a life outdoors is a life well lived.

Shop REI Hiking