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Gaylor Lakes Trail is a 3.5 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Lee Vining, California that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, running, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from May until October.

Length 3.5 mi Elevation gain 1,210 ft Route type Out & Back

Hiking

Nature trips

Bird watching

Running

Forest

Lake

Views

Wild flowers

Wildlife

Snow

Historic site

No dogs

Description
Waypoints (2)
Facilities
Contact
Tips
Getting There

Yosemite National Park is open to those with reservations begining on Thursday, June 11. See the park website for more info: https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/covid19.htm Gaylor Lakes hike offers some of the most spectacular high-country views off of Tioga Road. Climb steadily to a ridge with views of the high Sierra including Mt. Dana and Dana Meadows with its scattered ponds. At the ridge crest, the trail drops 200 feet to Middle Gaylor Lake. Gaylor Peak, at an elevation of 11,004 feet, straddles the boundary of Yosemite National Park and Inyo National Forest. This route combines both on-trail and cross-country travel. You will see sweeping views back to Dana Meadows and to the mountains beyond it - Dana, Mammoth, and Gibbs, among others. The top of the pass has awesome views to the mountains east of Yosemite, and to the high Gaylor Lakes valley carved by glaciers. The trail takes you to Middle Gaylor Lake. The valley contains five lakes. There is an abandoned 1870's mine above upper Gaylor Lake. The official trail takes you to the far side of Middle Gaylor Lake at the 1 mile mark, but you can take the paths and explore other areas. A great hike for exploring, be prepared for the altitude. It is an excellent warm up hike for some of these bigger climbs. For a beginner hiker this hike will present a fun challenge in itself, mostly due to the steep initial segment and high altitude - this hike starts at 10,000 feet.

Ample parking just inside the park at the Tioga Pass Entrance station. Clean pit toilets right next to the trailhead. Also since is right next to the entrance station, always a ranger nearby!

California Travel and Tourism Commision, P.O. Box 1499 , Sacramento, CA, 95812-1499, Phone: 800-862-2543 Yosemite contact info: Call at 209/372-0200 (then dial 3 then 5) The public information office is open from 9 am to 5 pm Pacific time (closed for lunch). If the ranger is already on the line, you'll be returned to the main menu. If the ranger is not there, you can leave a message and they will return your call. Public Information Office PO Box 577 Yosemite, CA 95389

To attempt this hike, you should be familiar with on-foot travel in the Sierra and the equipment needs and conditions that go along with this kind of travel. As a hike, Gaylor Peak is best done when the snow clears and the pass is open. Conditions in the Sierra can vary significantly. Be prepared for the appropriate conditions when you do this hike. Remember, even if it is warm at the trailhead, it could be windy and cold at the summit - carry a daypack with water, a snack, a wind jacket (or layers appropriate for conditions) and the ten essentials. This hike starts at 10,000 feet. Here, air pressure is 69% of what you feel at sea level. This means there is less oxygen. Know the symptoms of altitude illnesses and turn back and go lower if you exhibit any of these issues. Note that the parking is *inside* of the park boundary, so the $20 entry fee applies. If you wish to avoid this fee, approach along 120 from the east and park in one of the many shoulder lots before the entry. Walk the extra distance to the trailhead. Technically, you will have to pay a single person 'on-foot' entry fee, but this is less than the $20 vehicle entry.

Open when Tioga Road is open. Will have snow in the early season. Begin at the Yosemite Tioga Pass Entrance parking lot on the right next to the Entrance Station if traveling east. There is also another lot across the road.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (126)
Photos (241)
Recordings (88)
Completed (233)
Elaine Yastishock
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Jun 29 2020
Hiking

This was the second time we did this gorgeous hike to the upper lake and mining cabins. It's jaw-droppingly gorgeous alpine scenary. Heaven on earth. The blue-green lakes, pristence babbling brooks, and jagged peaks are truly awe-inspiring. This trip was during (unusual) 45 mph wind gusts (yay, no mosquitos!) that worsened on the crest behind the mining ruins. But it just added to the mystique for me; a call to humility! Speaking of humility, the first half mile/ almost 30 mins was a killer for me (we came from sea level the day before) but it's SO worth it. To reach this level of wildness without backpacking is a gift. And we only saw about 7 people the whole time, with most being far away. Go prepared for all weather and with good boots. Enjoy!

Grace Hsieh
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarWed Jun 24 2020
HikingBugs

Absolutely stunning views of the Gaylor lakes! This was such a beautiful hike throughout. There are A LOT of mosquitos so make sure to cover your skin. We used deet and lemon/eucalyptus oil and they failed us :(

Jesika Crouse
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Jun 21 2020
Hiking

Great Hike! We did it today!

Kurt Sandberg
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarWed Apr 29 2020
Hiking

One of my top 5 Yosemite hikes. Views are spectacular and you feel like you’re on top of the world. The lakes and mines are awesome to explore and great for kids.

Cadel Kadell
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarThu Nov 14 2019
Hiking

oh my it was amazing a bit tough but so worth it.

View Cadel's Recording
Lisa P.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarTue Oct 01 2019
Hiking

10/01/2019 Pretty views. Worth it to go to the mines - beautiful fireplace even in ruins and nice view of both lakes.

View Lisa's Recording
Tricia R
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Sep 27 2019
Hiking

This was a GREAT hike. Windy. The scenery is breathtaking.

Vid Giam
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarWed Sep 18 2019
Hiking

excellent hike and views. not for faint of heart. highest wind i ever had. still awesome. we did gaylor peak then middle and upper lakes then up to abandoned mine. highly recommended.

View Vid's Recording
Eric Metzler
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Sep 13 2019
Hiking

We started this trail while it was still dark to get to Lower Gaylor Lake before sunrise. Sunrise from this spot was amazing! After sunrise we continued on to Upper Gaylor Lake and then went off trail to get to Granite Lake. The beginning of the trail is hard and doing it in the dark made it even harder but it was worth it to see the lakes so early in the morning. The best part of the hike was that we were able to spend four and a half hours hiking around these lake and never saw another person. To hike for several hours in Yosemite and not see another person is an rare experience in such a busy park.

David Lee
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Sep 07 2019
Hiking

Great trail. Steady incline.

Anuj Purwar
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarFri Sep 06 2019
Hiking

Instead of the lake we did the Gaylor Peeak.

View Anuj's Recording
Sukh Sidhu
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Sep 02 2019
Hiking

This is hands down the best view of Tuolumne Meadows and the high country in Yosemite looking South from the Gaylor Lakes.

View Sukh's Recording
Troy Thoreson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Aug 26 2019
Hiking

Amazing. Hiked to the mine site which is very interesting. I did see many new hikers on the first uphill section struggle which is expected at pretty much 10,000 feet. After going down to the lake I followed the trail to the right and it went to another awesome lake. At that lake follow the trail to the left and up another hill to the mine site. Do not forget your sunglasses and sunscreen. I started with a small group at around 9am and returned to the parking lot at 3pm. This hike was completed at the end of August 2019. I used a water filter to fill my bottle. The parking to the obvious trail head is next to the Tioga pass entrance. This entrance to Yosemite is like 12 miles from Lee Vining.

Paalaka Dewey
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Aug 26 2019
Hiking

Aug. 26, 2019 - After many times in the area I tried something different. Turning left at Gaylor lake headed downhill and then cross country over to Lower Gaylor lake. It is a real treat. Great views and a beautiful meadow with hundreds of huge granite boulders. Then follow the stream back up to Granite lakes and back over to Gaylor Lake. Once off trail did not see another person. Another favorite in the area is mentioned in the book Tioga Tramps, up past the mine, above the cliffs of Granite Lake and up to Peak 12002. I love this area. (Peak 12002 is also an item on the menu at Tioga Pass Lodge - so glad to see they are fixing it up). Paalaka

Jay DeWitt
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Aug 17 2019
Hiking

Hiked this on 8/16/19. Steep climb at start of trail. Views were epic after clearing tree line. The mosquitos were thick and the fish were jumping. Enjoyed this hike! Thank you Yosemite!!!!!

Terri Jeppson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarWed Jul 31 2019
Hiking

Beautiful scenery! Great views of multiple lakes. If you go farther up there are some abandoned mining homes.

Ale G
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Jul 13 2019
Hiking

Amazing scenario. First lake bigger than the second one, with still ice in it. The hike suggest to go further top after the second lake: I did, but actually there was no reason, no panorama, just a couple of holes of old miner's exploration.

Michelle Trujillo
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarTue Nov 13 2018

Well worth the drive!!!! Loved it!

MATTHEW WILBOURN
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Oct 27 2018
Hiking

Great hike! I live at sea level so As my first day at elevation I felt it a little on the way up. It’s beautiful and I will do this hike again. From what I understand you can hike another mile to an old mining town.

David Nilsen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Sep 07 2018
Hiking

Great trail, after the first part it’s not bad at all. Took me about 40 minutes to get to the lake.

Drake Long
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarWed Aug 29 2018
Fishing

I have hiked this trail twice in 2 weeks. The extremely strenuous uphill climb almost scared me away but I powered through and I’m so glad I did. The fishing was absolutely amazing! Using a fly set up with an Elk Hair Caddis I was able to land 18 Eastern Brook trout on my first trip and today I landed 47. Fishing was the best along the north western shore of middle gaylor and the south eastern shore of the one below the mine. I will be back multiple times before they close the pass

Lori Ann Martinez
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Jul 22 2018
Hiking

Very steep at first but beautiful views went all the way to the huts and beyond beautiful views landscapes .

Andrew Danto
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Jul 08 2018
Hiking

Great rewards once you get past the first part

Sarah Acosta
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Jul 07 2018
Hiking

I really like this hike, It starts out really steep, and at first I was thinking "oh no what have I done" because I just drove up here from basically sea level, pulled over and started this hike. Well I guess I acclimated quickly LOL, that or mainly because the trail flattens out after the first 1/2 mile or so...Its BEAUTIFUL! Looking back from where you came, you see snow capped mountains and a little meadow dotted with sparkling tarns. Looking forward you can see the lake nestled at the bottom of a cirque. The lake is impressive in its own little way...The surrounding scenery is gorgeous though. We saw tons of marmots playing in wildflower fields. The cathedral range (I think??) in the distance, We couldn't go past the first lake though because the usual Sierra thunderstorms were headed our way...Next time I will go back for the mine.

Christine I.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarMon Jun 25 2018

It was okay.

Michelle Quek
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarFri Jun 01 2018
Hiking

Hiked on May 31st, still quite a fair bit of snow pack, had to turn around because of the soft snow field just before you ascend to Middle Gaylor Lake.

Sarah D
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Apr 16 2018
Hiking

Gorgeous alpine scenery with just a short hike. The flowers were still going in late August. The beginning/end of the hike is steep.

Henry Crigler
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarTue Nov 21 2017
Hiking

I'll only add that the initial 1/2 mi up to the ridge is exceedingly steep and rocky. Especially perilous descending. I'm 73 so that's obviously part of the difficulty. Other than that,. a perfect ramble above timberline. Look for the mule powered windless and watch out for open vertical mine shafts up top.

Jesse Pilkerton
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Nov 11 2017
Hiking

Great views, alpine lakes, and a ghost town. This is one of the best hikes in the Yosemite area.

Jamie M.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarThu Sep 28 2017
Hiking

Beautiful! Easy hike. Many incredible photo opportunities.

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