Mirror Lake (Winter)

Ashley and I did an evening hike from Curry Village to Mirror Lake. It was absolutely spectacular as it was snowing part of the way. Halfway to Mirror Lake the clouds started to clear and we got spectacular views of Half Dome.

Directions to Trailhead Day Hikes in Yosemite National Park. Here is a link to that Page of the National Park's Website. To get to the trailhead for Mirror Lake you are going want to use the parks shuttle system. The trailhead begins at shuttle stop #17. A Google map of the area is provided below. Click, Here to find the National Parks System Map for Yosemite Valley. The national parks map shows where shuttle stop #17 is and provides a good vantage point for where this hike begins. We have also provided a Google map below. Parking: Because the park's free shuttle buses stop at the trailhead, you can park anyplace in the valley where you can catch a bus. Curry Village is the closest to the trailhead of the parking lots that have bus stops. A slightly closer but bus free option is the trailhead parking lot, just past Curry Village, down a road marked "Service Vehicles Only". (It's not service vehicles only until you pass the parking lot.)

Description of Hike: From the shuttle stop, a paved trail leads directly to Mirror Lake. At the stone bridge, you can turn right to take the five-mile loop or remain on the paved trail to continue to Mirror Lake. Mirror Lake has little water much of the year, but in spring and early summer it can grow in size. When water is calm, the lake offers beautiful reflections of surrounding cliffs. Exhibits detail the story of the area's lake-to-meadow succession. This can be a good place to spot wildlife, so be ready with your camera. The trail is well maintained and is well marked. Parts of the trail are paved. Make sure to bring plenty of water and sunscreen with you on this hike if you are hiking during the summer. Of course, in the winter make sure you have warm cloths and you might need snowshoes.
Further Thoughts: Hiking in Yosemite National Park during the winter is a must do. It is very different from the summer months as it is less crowded. The best thing about this hike was we started when it was lightly snowing. The snow stopped midway through our hike and we were rewarded with spectacular views. It was amazing to see the colors of half dome when the sun was setting. One of the other neat things was we were the only ones on the trail. Ashley and I had the views of Mirror Lake to ourselves.
We brought our headlamps and night gear to be able to hike back in the dark, since we knew we would not be able to make it back to Curry Village before the sun set. It was great being the only ones on this trail and to enjoy such a great moment in Yosemite. Another plus about coming to Yosemite in the winter is the lodging is much cheaper than in the summer.
Rating: Elevation Gain: 100 ft. (Easy), Distance: 2.4 Miles round trip from the trailhead to Mirror Lake; 4 Miles Roundtrip to go all the way to the end of the trail in Tenaya Canyon and loop around. If you are hiking from Curry Village instead of riding the bus to the trailhead, add an extra 1.5 Miles Roundtrip.

Time to Complete Hike: 1 - 2 hours.


February 2010 (This Post)


Mirror Lake (This Post)

View Mirror Lake in a larger map