Discover the Breathtaking Yosemite National Park Mirror Lake Hike

The Mirror Lake Hike in Yosemite National Park is a popular and relatively easy trail, offering beautiful views of Tenaya Creek, Half Dome, North Dome, and Mount Watkins. The trail is 2 miles (3.2 km) round trip to the lake and back, or 5 miles (8 km) for the full loop around the lake.

The Yosemite National Park Mirror Lake Hike

The Mirror Lake Hike begins at shuttle stop #17, with the first mile being a paved service road leading directly to Mirror Lake. 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.

The best time to visit Mirror Lake is in spring and early summer when the snowmelt fills the lake, offering beautiful reflections of the surrounding cliffs. However, the 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. The trail is open year-round, but in winter, it can be icy and snowy, especially along the south side of Tenaya Creek.

Facilities and Amenities

Yosemite National Park Mirror Lake Hike

There are no drinking water facilities along the trail, so hikers should come prepared with their own water. Vault toilets are available about 0.5 miles (0.8 km) from the trailhead and also 1 mile (1.6 km) from the trailhead at the end of the paved service road at Mirror Lake.

Parking is not available at the trailhead, but the nearest parking area is at Curry Village, and the trail can be easily accessed by parking anywhere in eastern Yosemite Valley and taking the free shuttle (get off at shuttle stop #17).

Leashed pets, bicycles, and strollers are allowed on the first paved mile of the trail, but they are prohibited beyond that point. Hikers should keep their food within arm’s reach at all times and not feed the wildlife, carrying out all trash and food waste (fruit peels, shells, etc.).

Additional Hiking Options

For those seeking additional hiking options, Yosemite Valley offers several easy and moderate hikes, including the Lower Yosemite Fall Trail, Bridalveil Fall Trail, Vernal Fall Trail, and the Mist Trail.

Lower Yosemite Fall Trail

  • 1-mile (1.6 km) round-trip hike
  • Offers views of the lower section of Yosemite Falls
  • Paved and wheelchair-accessible

Bridalveil Fall Trail

  • 0.5-mile (0.8 km) round-trip hike
  • Leads to the base of Bridalveil Fall
  • Paved and wheelchair-accessible

Vernal Fall Trail

  • 3-mile (4.8 km) round-trip hike
  • Ascends 1,000 feet (305 m) to the top of Vernal Fall
  • Strenuous hike with steep sections and stairs

Mist Trail

  • 5-mile (8 km) round-trip hike
  • Leads to the top of Vernal Fall and Nevada Fall
  • Strenuous hike with steep sections and stairs

These additional hikes offer a variety of experiences, from easy, paved trails to more challenging ascents with stunning views of Yosemite’s iconic waterfalls and landmarks.


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