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.

Length3.5 miElevation gain1,210 ftRoute typeOut & back
HikingNature tripsBird watchingrunningForestLakeViewsWildflowersWildlifeSnowHistoric siteFeeNo dogs
Description
Waypoints (2)
Facilities
Contact
Tips
Getting There

Yosemite National Park charges a fee to enter. Fees are $35 per vehicle or $30 per motorcycle. If you are entering on foot, horse, or bike the fee is $20 per person. You can also purchase a park specific annual pass for $70. 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 (156)
Photos (284)
Recordings (120)
Completed (340)
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Claire Hall
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 22, 2021
HikingGreat!

This trail was fantastic! I went in the fall when Yosemite was still requiring reservations due to Covid, so I nearly had the trail all to myself plus the drive through Yosemite was a breeze! Prepare for a long drive to the park if you’re coming through the main Yosemite entrance but the views on the drive are great going through the valley and up Tioga Pass Rd. The initial climb on the trail can get a little intense but it levels out once you get to the first lake. The trail to the next two, smaller lakes has a very gentle grade. If you choose to go up to the abandoned silver mine, which I highly suggest you do, it is a bit of climb but it’s something you shouldn’t miss! The wind can be intense at such an elevation and depending on the time of day it can get a bit chilly, so be prepared! I hiked across to the glacial cirque, which is something to behold! I did see a lot of scat from various animals since this isn’t a heavily trafficked spot. Also saw some American Pikas and a bobcat from some distance. I saw mountain lion tracks as I was heading back towards the first lake but I’m sure it was long gone. Overall, an absolute must with stunning views. Definitely a hidden gem in Yosemite!

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Charles Marsh
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 2, 2020
Fishing

Fantastic. We also added a couple of the granite lakes. Would not rate it as hard. More like hard for 20 minutes in and out. The rest is easygoing

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Lindsay Smith
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarOctober 31, 2020
Hiking

Hard hike because of the elevation, but the lake is very peaceful

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Lance Martin
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Hiking

Cold and windy

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Ben Bowman
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 19, 2020
Great!

Great views of high altitude lakes!

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Brianna Towk
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 12, 2020
HikingGreat!Rocky

The trail for definitely steep in the beginning climb up the mountain and the altitude is no joke. But a extremely beautiful hike and one to mark off my bucket list!!

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Aaron DeLaO
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Hiking
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Eric Schmid
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Hiking
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Nadia Westenburg
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 5, 2020
HikingGreat!

Some parts are pretty steep, but the views are lovely and you feel like you’re in “wilderness” as soon as you crest the first hill. Keep going past the second lake all the way to the site of the historic Great Sierra Mine! Some great history on this trail.

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Shannon Montague
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 3, 2020
Hiking

Loved this trail! We made it just before the smoke rolled in. Definitely steep on the way up, especially if your 5 months pregnant haha. Definitely not to miss.

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Dach Nagrom
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 3, 2020
Hiking

Bring sun protection and definitely make the side trip to Gaylor Peak

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Jeff Talarigo
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 18, 2020
HikingGreat!

Gorgeous trail. Very much overlooked on the grand scale of Yosemite. Started at 5:30 am and watched the sun light up the Cathedral Range.

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Scratch Pad
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Hiking
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John Hart
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Hiking
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Michelle Johnson
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HikingGreat!No shade

The hill going up (and the one back out for that matter) is brutal but worth it! I went early September so everything was fairly dry but I can imagine how gorgeous it is in early summer! On the bright side - no mosquitos!

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Kyle Shyffer
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Hiking
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dustin hoffmeister
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Hiking

Great hike. Moderate hill at the beginning, rewards quickly with great views throughout!

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Elaine Yastishock
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 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!

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Grace Hsieh
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 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 :(

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Jesika Crouse
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 21, 2020
Hiking

Great Hike! We did it today!

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Kurt Sandberg
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 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.

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Cadel Kadell
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 14, 2019
Hiking

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

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Tricia R
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 27, 2019
Hiking

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

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Vid Giambat
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 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.

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Eric Metzler
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 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.

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David Lee
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 7, 2019
Hiking

Great trail. Steady incline.

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Anuj Purwar
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 6, 2019
Hiking

Instead of the lake we did the Gaylor Peeak.

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Sukh Sidhu
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 2, 2019
Hiking

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

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