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Lower Gaylor Lakes Trail

Easy/Intermediate

Trail

4.4 mile 7.1 kilometer point to point
Easy/Intermediate

Elevation

Ascent: 1,357' 413 m
Descent: -6' -2 m
High: 10,057' 3,065 m
Low: 8,702' 2,652 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 6% (3°)
Max Grade: 14% (8°)

Dogs

No Dogs
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Trail shared by Megan W

Enjoy some of the best, unobstructed high Sierra views from this uncrowded trail

Megan W

Features Lake · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers

Tioga Road is closed during the winter, which may limit access.

Description

On this less famous of the two area Gaylor Lakes Trails, you'll find more solitude and similar alpine beauty. There are two places to start this trail, either at the Tuolumne Lodge (as shown here in the map) or from Tioga Road where the trail crosses. If you opt to cut off the initial two miles by parking along the road it can be tricky to find the trail here and there is room for only a couple cars at skinny pullouts. Look for an old rusty trailhead sign a bit back from the road, about 1/2 mile east from a gated dirt road.

To get the full experience, start from the Tuolumne Lodge and parallel the burbling Dana Fork stream. Travel gently uphill through forest until reaching the Tioga Road crossing. Right before you get to the road, you have to cross the Dana Fork by wading as there is no footbridge here. While in the late summer, early Fall this crossing may be done via rock hop, in the late spring or early summer, the Dana Fork will be full of water from the snow melt, making the crossing tricky and wading a necessity. Use caution. Find the trail on the opposite side, just west of a small creek. Continue straight at the first intersection, passing the Gaylor Lakes Spur on your left (west). After a clearing, take the left fork to stay on the Lower Gaylor Lakes trail, ignoring the Dana Fork Trail that heads east to Mono Pass. Ascend through shady pine forest keeping an eye out for wildflowers along the way. There are some steeper rooty and rocky sections on the way up. Break out into open grass covered slopes and pass smaller rocky pools.

Relax on the shores of shallow but picturesque Lower Gaylor Lake. Romp or doze in the inviting 10,000 foot meadows here. There are great views of the rugged granite peaks in this area without as many pesky trees blocking the vistas.

Extra credit: it is also possible to reach the other Gaylor Lakes by finding a faint trail heading northeast through a stand of pines.

Flora & Fauna

Mice, marmot, pika, rabbits, deer, coyotes.

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We need help with the following missing trail information:

Family Friendly, ADA Accessible, Need to Know

Contacts

Land Manager: NPS - Yosemite

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Check-Ins

Jul 20, 2019
Kelly Martin
Good wildflowers. Mosquitoes are as thick as anything I've seen. Botanical bug dope did not work well 5.6mi
Oct 17, 2017
D B
Aug 26, 2017
Dan DeBaker
8.8 round trip 4.4mi
Jul 3, 2016
David Hitchcock
Hiked out to Lower Gaylor Lake. Had to wade across Dana Fork. Lots of mosquitoes by the lake, but the view was worth it. 8.8mi

Trail Ratings

  3.7 from 3 votes

#16649

Overall
  3.7 from 3 votes
5 Star
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4 Star
67%
3 Star
33%
2 Star
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1 Star
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Trail Rankings

#1,781

in California

#16,649

Overall
19 Views Last Month
521 Since May 15, 2016
Easy/Intermediate

0%
67%
33%
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Photos

Lower Gaylor Lake
Sep 24, 2016 near Bridgeport, CA
Lower Gaylor Lake drainage.
Sep 24, 2016 near Yosemit…, CA
Gaylor Peak and Lower Gaylor Lake.  It's a quiet hike.
Sep 24, 2016 near Bridgeport, CA
The trail with the Cathedral Range in the distance looking back toward where you came from in the spring time.
Sep 24, 2016 near Yosemit…, CA
After crossing the road, the trail runs through a meadows with great views of the surrounding mountains.
Sep 24, 2016 near Yosemit…, CA
The trail approaches Lower Gaylor Lake, with Mount Gaylor sitting on the right in the distance.
Sep 24, 2016 near Yosemit…, CA

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