Mirror Lake - Backpack, Hike, and Swim near Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park, Snow Creek Trail, Yosemite Valley, CA 95389, USA,Yosemite Valley,California
37.7477226, -119.5493801
Address: Yosemite National Park, Snow Creek Trail, Yosemite Valley, CA 95389, USA
GPS: 37°44'51.8"N 119°32'57.8"W
Maps | Directions
State: California

Lakes Streams Trails Rocks National Park

Backpack, Hike, and Swim

Mirror Lake is a seasonal lake situated in a secluded corner of the beautiful Yosemite Valley. The lake sits at the base of Half Dome and allows a different perspective of the famous monolith. Hikers will also have the chance to see the Tenaya Canyon, Mount Watkins, and Washington Column. Because the lake is seasonal, the best time to visit is in the spring or early summer, when all the snowmelt is running through the area. When the water is calm, hikers will be able to understand why the lake is called Mirror Lake: the still reflection shows the surrounding cliff faces and the crown of Half Dome. If visiting in the late summer, fall, or winter, Mirror Lake becomes Mirror Meadow, filled with grasses and other plant life as well as snow. 

The trail is a very easy trail and can be done with the whole family. It is 2 miles round trip to the lake and back, but can be up to 5 miles round trip if taking the loop around the lake. The shorter trail to the lake can be completed in about an hour, and 2-3 hours if doing the full loop. The trail is paved and open only to hikers or biking. Cars are not allowed on the trail, however there are numerous shuttles in the Yosemite Valley that can take hikers to the trailhead. 

In the summer the lake becomes a very popular swimming hole, and attracts a lot of visitors. Another attraction to the lake is a small area where previous visitors have left cairns (stacks of rocks usually designating a trail). This "cairn garden" seems to grow with more and more cairns added each year. There is a wide variety from tall cairns to small (smaller than a baby) cairns. It is always fun to walk through the area and see what random places a cairn has been placed, as well as collect some rocks to make your own. 

2.7K Written by cteicheira

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

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  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 northeast on Northside Dr toward Lower Yosemite Fall Trail
    Toll road
    (0.5 mi)
  2. Turn right onto Sentinel Drive
    Toll road
    (0.3 mi)
  3. Turn left onto Southside Dr
    Toll road
    (1.0 mi)
  4. Continue straight onto Happy Isle Loop Rd
    Toll road
    (0.4 mi)
  5. Turn left to stay on Happy Isle Loop Rd
    Toll road
    (0.2 mi)
  6. Turn right
    Toll road
    (161 ft)
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Mirror Lake courtesy of David Mark Mirror Lake courtesy of David Mark↗
Mirror Lake courtesy of Mike Baird Mirror Lake courtesy of Mike Baird↗ Mirror Lake Yosemite Rock Cairns 11 16 by Yosemitebear62
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Added by cteicheira

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