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Tuolumne Meadows to Elizabeth Lake: Out-N-Back

Intermediate/Difficult
 4.3 (3) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A smooth hike that peaks at a spectacular view of Elizabeth Lake at the base of Cathedral Peak.


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Map Key

8.1

Miles

13.0

KM

Out and Back

9,504' 2,897 m

High

8,641' 2,634 m

Low

1,023' 312 m

Up

1,023' 312 m

Down

5%

Avg Grade (3°)

17%

Max Grade (10°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Birding · Lake · River/Creek · Swimming · Views · Wildlife

Family Friendly A non-technical trail with a backcountry feel and some great views, this hike is a great option for the older kids who might want to spend a day exploring the trails.

Overview

This great 8 mile out-and-back bringing you up to the serene Elizabeth Lake, where views of Cathedral Peak and the surrounding wilderness abound.

Description

From Tuolumne Lodge via the JMT, one must travel 0.7 miles before crossing the Twin Bridges in the meadows. Within the next 0.15 miles you'll take a sharp right and follow the river until the trail leads slightly uphill and through the campground. After this, you'll come to a fork in which the trail on the left will lead you to Elizabeth Lake.

The remainder of the hike (until you turnaround) is an uphill that requires very little technical maneuvering. Surrounded by trees the majority of the time, you might think that this trail lacks the viewpoints that other trails in the High Country afford. However, once the trail flattens out and opens up into the serene landscape of Elizabeth Lake, you'll not be disappointed. Lying at the base of Cathedral Peak, this alpine lake offers a view that simply can't be captured on a postcard...

Before you start on the amazing descent, make sure you kick back, relax, and take in the beauty that this 3-mile climb brought you to.

Contacts

Land Manager: NPS - Yosemite

Shared By:

Nate Porter

Trail Ratings

  4.3 from 3 votes

#3091

Overall
  4.3 from 3 votes
5 Star
33%
4 Star
67%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#448

in California

#3,091

Overall
24 Views Last Month
3,774 Since Jul 10, 2015
Intermediate/Difficult

0%
0%
67%
0%
33%
0%

Photos

These formations in Lyell Canyon make for great swimming holes along the John Muir Trail in Yosemite National Park.
Jan 25, 2017 near Yosemit…, CA
You have reached your destination!
Jul 10, 2015 near Yosemit…, CA
Crossing Unicorn Creek on the way to Elizabeth Lake.
Jan 21, 2016 near Yosemit…, CA
One of Yosemite Nat'l Park's rangers at work!
Aug 27, 2015 near Yosemit…, CA
Storm rolling over Mammoth Mountain as seen in Tuolumne Meadows
Jul 10, 2015 near Yosemit…, CA
So thick it blocks out Cathedral
Jul 10, 2015 near Yosemit…, CA

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Check-Ins

Aug 13, 2020
Matt Orange
Hiked to Elizabeth Lake with Milly after deciding not to do Mt. Dana. Good hike. Pretty lake. We were the first ones there. 9.8mi — 4h 11m
Sep 18, 2019
Emily Faust
Didn't actually do the trail, just hiked up a large rock on the edge of the meadow
Aug 30, 2017
Shlomo Waser
Above mileage is round trip from the campground to the lake plus about a mile going around the lake. 5.3mi
Jul 16, 2017
Elizabeth Bacon
we couldn't quite make it to the lake due to very deep and wide outlets. Mosquitoes galore, bring deet!
Jun 13, 2015
David Hitchcock