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Mirror Lake Loop

Easy/Intermediate
 4.0 (91) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A beautiful loop through Tenaya Canyon.


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Map Key

4.7

Miles

7.6

KM

Loop

4,160' 1,268 m

High

3,997' 1,218 m

Low

290' 88 m

Up

289' 88 m

Down

2%

Avg Grade (1°)

8%

Max Grade (4°)

Dogs No Dogs

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

Shared By:

Brian Smith

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 91 votes

#118

Overall
  4.0 from 91 votes
5 Star
30%
4 Star
43%
3 Star
23%
2 Star
3%
1 Star
1%
Recommended Route Rankings

#12

in California

#118

Overall
48 Views Last Month
5,856 Since May 7, 2015
Easy/Intermediate

28%
13%
57%
0%
1%
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
Valley walls reflection in Mirror Lake
Dec 24, 2018 near Yosemit…, CA
Mirror Lake Loop in the summer
Jun 25, 2018 near Yosemit…, CA
Meeting the deer in Yosemite Valley
May 7, 2015 near Yosemit…, CA

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Weather


Current Trail Conditions

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All Clear 43 days ago See History
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Check-Ins

Aug 1, 2022
Carrie Spruill
Jul 29, 2022
Jessi Swann
Jul 5, 2022
Ryan Shea
J and R hiked full loop. Saw mama bear and two cubs, deer, northern pacific rattlesnake (4.5') and many birds. Great hike including a cave we explored 5.2mi — 2h 30m
Jun 28, 2022
Irene Holoyda
Jun 26, 2022
Alicia Leo
Jun 10, 2022
Rajkumar Rb
May 30, 2022
John Munro
May 30, 2022
Anna Williams