May Lake High Sierra Camp from Tioga Pass Road

MODERATE 11 reviews
#43 of 145 trails in

May Lake High Sierra Camp from Tioga Pass Road is a 6.5 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Yosemite National Park, California that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until October.

6.5 miles
1154 feet
Out & Back

kid friendly





nature trips

trail running





wild flowers



no dogs

5 months ago

Easiest high Sierra camp to get to but still beautiful and worth it. check out Mt Hoffman while you're there too, it's the geological center of yosemite.

11 months ago

Just went to the lake and back. Gorgeous views. When you reach the lake hike up to a non marked lookout to the right of the lake. Fun to hike in June with still a little snow and running snow melt creeks.

11 months ago

Awesome adventure. The road to May Lake parking area had not been plowed, so we parked at the turnout about a half mile east instead of at the road entrance. We could have walked up the road but from the turnout there was actually a trail, which with the snow, disappeared from time to time. Hiking through snow was fun and challenging, as the melt opened thin spots where we could fall through plus it was hard to locate the trail. As we approached the High Sierra Camp, the snow got deeper and if not for the lake, we could have easily got lost - in fact, the same day, some hikers got lost trying to get to Sunrise Lakes. The lake was half frozen, providing some awesome photo ops. We went across the spillway side and could not find the Mt. Hoffman trail, so turned back; overall about 8 miles RT. It was fun and the following day we went to the top of Half Dome. May Lake was a great warmup.

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Fun easy hike but no swimming in the lake :/

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Very nice trail, and quite tame. Can be steeper towards the end, just before gaining the final step to the lake, but nothing too challenging. My 4 and 6 year olds were able to make the hike pretty easily. Trail was in good condition except for two places where pines had fallen across. One required climbing over the trunk, the other spot had a fairly established little bypass. Nothing too difficult, but could be a problem for stressed-mobility folks. Today, the mosquitos were out, but as long as you stay away from denser vegetation such as young pine thickets, you'll be fine. Even so, we walked through a few intentionally looking for a place to have a nice lunch and the bugs were there, but non aggressive.

BEAUTIFUL view and great hike up and back. Worth a revisit!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

This trail rocks: it's short, it's easy, low crowd factor, easy parking, there's a lake, and there's a peak to summit. You park right at the trail head and then it's a gradual and easy climb uphill. On the way up you are surrounded by the peaks of the high country (and marmots!) and when you arrive, you get a beautiful lake with Mt. Hoffman long nearby. I went just as the Tioga Pass opened so there was quite a bit of snow, so I suggest waiting a bit longer than opening day to check it out. WARNING: do not swim in the lake! May Lake is the direct water source for that high sierra camp so please don't contaminate it.

Friday, February 21, 2014

THis was one of my favorite short and easy hikes ever!!! The scenery is beautiful, and there is abundant wildlife. We saw lizards, coyotes, a bear, birds, marmots, trout!!! you name it. Great reward for little efforrt. Don't forget the bug spray for the ponds at the parking area. The mosquitos tried to carry me off. I was there in June 2013

Friday, July 19, 2013

We used to do this as a fishing dayhike 20+ years ago, and this was this was the first time I've been back to May Lake since then. It hasn't changed much other than being more crowded. But the fishing is still good once the sun starts to go down, and it's a beautiful hike, and an even more beautiful payoff when you get to the lake. Great backpacking campground if you stay overnight.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Short quick climb up to May Lake from the parking area. Trail is easy to follow and the lake is a nice scenic place for a lunch. The backpacker campground seems like a good spot I'll have to try on a future visit. Swimming/wading in the lake is prohibited due to the lake use as drinking water. Recommend this quick hike for beginners or those short on time.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

I hiked this trail on June 26, 2012. The information on this site about the trail length and elevation gain is a little misleading due to the fact that Old Tioga Road to the trailhead parking area was closed to vehicular traffic and looks like it has been for quite some time. We parked near the intersection of Tioga and Old Tioga Roads, and the road up to the trailhead is 1.7 miles in each direction. That brings the total mileage of the hike to about 5.8 miles. Also, we started at about 8200 feet elevation and May Lake is at about 9400 feet, making the elevation gain about 1200 ft. (please correct me if Im wrong; I wasnt carrying a GPS tracker) We had a beautiful day for our hike! The road section was fairly easy, but all uphill. Use caution and start slowly if you have not hiked at this elevation before. The elevation can cause difficulty breathing if youre not used to it. The road parallels a small creek for a while and passes by Mount Hoffmann Meadow. We saw deer, squirrels and a lone coyote along the road as we walked up. In 1.7 miles we reached the trailhead parking area. The trail starts alongside a small pond and winds through forest and over rocks. This section is a bit more difficult and steeper. There is a lodge and camping area at May Lake, and of course, no paved road leading up to it, so supplies are taken up by mule train. Sure enough, we met a mule train coming down the trail as we were hiking up. We encountered a few other hikers with gear for overnight camping at the Lake, but the trail was certainly not crowded and was very peaceful. There are some great views along the way. We could hear the marmots and even saw a couple of them. The lake was a peaceful, serene spot for relaxing and enjoying the scenery and a snack before heading back down. I would definitely hike this trail again; I cant wait to go back!