From the May Lake trailhead the Snow Creek Canyon Trail wanders gently downhill, roughly paralleling the trailhead access road. Travel along a partly wooded ridgeline until the trail crosses Tioga Pass Road at a small saddle. There are some roadside pullouts here, and this is where most users join the trail. Continue along the ridgeline and soon descend a series of steep switchbacks off the prow. The trail swigs back around to the east and soon interests with the Tenaya Lake Trail
coming from the east. Take a right to stay on the Snow Creek Canyon trail and head southwest along the flank of Mount Watkins. After another batch of tight switchbacks, the grade eases on approach to the footbridge crossing Snow Creek. The Snow Creek Canyon Trail ends here at a 3-way intersection with the Snow Creek Falls Trail
(heading south to the Valley) and the Snow Creek - Porcupine Creek
Trail (eventually connecting in the west with trails to North Dome
The area around the Snow Creek footbridge is popular with backpackers overnighting and with intrepid Valley-dwellers who climbed up for the view and a dip in the stream. Access the spectacular views just through the woods towards Half Dome
but be cautious near the loose edge. You can spy more granite landforms here than you could ever imagine (e.g., Half Dome
, Quarter Dome, Clouds Rest
). Some people also wade in Snow Creek's pools and mini-cascades when the conditions are safe. The main Snow Creek Falls are not actually visible or accessible from this area. Plan to spend some quality relaxation time at this wonderful spot!
The Snow Creek Canyon Trail is open year-round and in winter becomes a popular trail for backpackers (equipped with snowshoes and/or cross-country skis) to access the wilderness. The lower Snow Creek Falls Trail
can be snow covered and very icy in winter (the upper Snow Creek Canyon Trail portion receives abundant sun and usually melts out with good weather).