Hike Date: April 10, 2011
Distance: ~ 3 miles
Trail(s): East Trail to Mirror Lake
Where’s it at? Northeast end of Yosemite Valley, base of Half Dome


The hike to Mirror Lake is a fairly short one but with excellent views of North Dome, Half Dome, Tenaya Creek and one or more waterfalls, some of which are seasonal and pending snow melt. There is a shuttle stop at the trailhead although it’s an easy hike from most of the Valley campgrounds and can be reached from Yosemite Village and the Ahwahnee as well.

On this visit we took the woodsier (and snowier) Eastern trail in. Unbeknownst to us the trail was closed just beyond the meadow and at this time of year there really wasn’t any way to cross over to the more western trail. I’d taken the western trail before so this was nice to be on the other side, although we found ourselves wanting to be at the bottom of Snow Creek Falls but just couldn’t reach it without getting wet…and it was really cold for being wet!

A rockfall in 2009 off of Half Dome (or near it) closes the trail beyond the “lake” and meadow. It’s probably not very unpassable when there isn’t a lot of snow but we ended up opting not to continue on beyond the signs.

The trail is very nice here with several areas of a cobblestone path and minor, but welcomed small elevation changes. There aren’t as many rock caves on the east side as the west side, but the advantage to the eastern trail is that you get to walk more through the meadow (sticking to trails of course).

While not as breathtaking as some of the other short valley hikes, I’ve pretty much always done this hike anytime I’ve stayed in the valley. It’s been interesting to watch the lake turn into more and more meadow over the years. My understanding is that this lake is sort of the last refuge for what was once a great glacier lake that filled most of the valley. It is still fed by the runoff of Tenaya Creek. Just don’t go expecting a massive body of water!

Photos from a Hike to Mirror Lake (click to enlarge)

Hiking to Mirror Lake and Meadow Hiking to Mirror Lake and Meadow Hiking to Mirror Lake and Meadow
Hiking to Mirror Lake and Meadow Hiking to Mirror Lake and Meadow Hiking to Mirror Lake and Meadow
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Hiking to Mirror Lake and Meadow Hiking to Mirror Lake and Meadow Hiking to Mirror Lake and Meadow
Hiking to Mirror Lake and Meadow Hiking to Mirror Lake and Meadow Hiking to Mirror Lake and Meadow
Hiking to Mirror Lake and Meadow Hiking to Mirror Lake and Meadow Hiking to Mirror Lake and Meadow
Hiking to Mirror Lake and Meadow Hiking to Mirror Lake and Meadow Hiking to Mirror Lake and Meadow
Hiking to Mirror Lake and Meadow Hiking to Mirror Lake and Meadow Hiking to Mirror Lake and Meadow
Hiking to Mirror Lake and Meadow Hiking to Mirror Lake and Meadow Hiking to Mirror Lake and Meadow

Directions to Trailhead for Mirror Lake


View Hiking to Mirror Lake in Yosemite in a larger map

Weather at Yosemite National Park

Written on April 10th, 2011 in Hiking, The Whole Thing
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