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Mirror Lake Loop

Easy/Intermediate
  4.0 ( 65 ) Favorite

Trail

4.7 mile 7.6 kilometer loop
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
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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.

Hiked this trail?

We need help with the following missing trail information:

ADA Accessible, Flora & Fauna, History & Background

Contacts

Land Manager: NPS - Yosemite

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Check-Ins

Oct 15, 2019
Contact Xia
Oct 10, 2019
Lisa Modera
Oct 2, 2019
Stephanie Crow
Sep 27, 2019
Raphael Aiello
2
Sep 23, 2019
Josh Martin
5.6mi — 2h 30m
Sep 19, 2019
Bruno Carneiro
Sep 16, 2019
Amanda Wood
Aug 14, 2019
Edwin Daniel

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 65 votes

#106

Overall
  4.0 from 65 votes
5 Star
32%
4 Star
40%
3 Star
22%
2 Star
5%
1 Star
2%
Featured Hike Rankings

#13

in California

#106

Overall
103 Views Last Month
3,725 Since May 7, 2015
Easy/Intermediate

27%
55%
16%
2%
0%
0%

Photos

Half Dome towering above Mirror Lake/Meadow
May 7, 2015 near Yosemit…, CA
Yosemite National Park, Mirror Lake Trail
May 7, 2015 near Yosemit…, CA
Yosemite National Park, Mirror Lake Trail
May 7, 2015 near Yosemit…, CA
Mirror Lake Loop in the summer
Jun 25, 2018 near Yosemit…, CA
A beautiful rainy day at Mirror Lake, as seen from the Mirror Lake Access Road.
Dec 17, 2015 near Yosemit…, CA
Valley walls reflection in Mirror Lake
Dec 24, 2018 near Yosemit…, CA

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