May Lake - Hike and Swim near Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park
Yosemite Valley, CA 95389, USA,Yosemite Valley,California
37.84768168570775, -119.49314072416087
Address: Yosemite Valley, CA 95389, USA
GPS: 37°50'51.7"N 119°29'35.3"W
Maps | Directions
State: California
Trail Length: 2.50 miles
Trail Type: Out & Back
Hike Difficulty: Beginner
Elevation Gain: 500 feet

Restrooms Lakes Trails Rocks National Park

Hike and Swim

May lake is a relatively small lake that rests at the base of Mt. Hoffman in Yosemite National Park. One of the park's most scenic lakes, May lake not only gets up close and personal with beautiful granite cliffs, but it sits at an elevation of 9,270 feet and offers views of both Clouds Rest and Teyana Lake.

The hike to May Lake is only 2.5 miles round trip, but it has an elevation gain of 500 feet, so it climbs pretty steadily upward. Many visitors choose to hike both May Lake and Mt. Hoffmann, which adds 3.5 miles and about an extra 1500 feet of elevation to the hike. 

Mt. Hoffmann sits at an elevation of 10, 845 feet and offers views of Clouds Rest, Half Dome, the northern Yosemite wilderness, and views of May Lake from above as well.

Charles Hoffmann allegedly named the mountain after himself and the lake after Lucy Mayotta Brown back in 1867. Three years later, the two were married.

Because the trailhead starts on Tioga Road, this hike is usually closed in the winter, so be sure to check road conditions before you embark. Also remember to pace yourself as you gain elevation and the oxygen gets thinner.

942 Written by smbrady17

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Be courteous, informed, and prepared. Read trailhead guidelines, stay on the trail, and don’t feed the wildlife.

Read More
  1. Plan Ahead and Prepare
  2. Travel & camp on durable surfaces
  3. Dispose of waste properly
  4. Leave what you find
  5. Minimize campfire impacts
  6. Respect wildlife
  7. Be considerate of other visitors

Directions

From Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park

  1. Head southwest on Northside Dr toward Cook's Meadow Loop
    Toll road
    (2.9 mi)
  2. Keep right to stay on Northside Dr
    Toll road
    (2.1 mi)
  3. Continue onto El Portal Rd
    Toll road
    (0.9 mi)
  4. Turn right onto Big Oak Flat Road (signs for CA-120/Tioga Rd/Manteca)
    Toll road
    (9.5 mi)
  5. Continue onto Old Yosemite Coulterville Rd
    Toll road
    (344 ft)
  6. Turn right onto CA-120 E
    Toll road
    May be closed at certain times or days
    (27.0 mi)
  7. Turn left
    Toll road
    (1.8 mi)
or

There is a parking lot just outside the trailhead.

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May Lake Yosemite courtesy of Staci L May Lake Yosemite courtesy of Staci L↗
942

Added by smbrady17

Trails

Distance ?

1.2 miles

Elevation Gain ?

472 feet

Real Ascent ?

510 feet

Real Descent ?

38 feet

Avg Grade (4°)

7%

Grade (-6° to 17°)

-10% to 31%

Distance ?

1.6 miles

Elevation Gain ?

1,209 feet

Real Ascent ?

1,334 feet

Real Descent ?

125 feet

Avg Grade (9°)

15%

Grade (-14° to 28°)

-26% to 54%

Elevation differences are scaled for emphasis. While the numbers are accurate, the cut-away shown here is not to scale.

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