Merced Lake Loop Trail [CLOSED]

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Yosemite National Park

Merced Lake Loop Trail is a 32.4 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Yosemite Valley, California that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until October.

Distance: 32.4 miles Elevation Gain: 6,023 feet Route Type: Loop





nature trips


bird watching






wild flowers



no dogs

It has been reported this trail has a temporary closure due to COVID-19. Please see the park's website for up to date information.

Thu Jul 27 2017

Beautiful & challenging but not uncomfortable. We did a four night five-day trek. Started at Glacier Point & camped the first night at Illilouette. Very peaceful and beautiful hike along the Illilouette Creek. Next morning had to cross the creek where the water was knee high and freezing! Wish I had brought my Keen water shoes not just flip flops- luckily no one fell in

Wed Feb 08 2017

I started this hike from Glacier point with 3 others. I couldn’t get a permit for Little Yosemite Valley, so I opted for the next closest thing which was Illilouette Creek. We would be back on the trail I wanted by the next morning anyway. So this was a slight detour. So we headed down towards the creek with all our gear for a 6 day adventure. We crossed a small creek right before getting to where we would cross Illilouette creek. It was running pretty good but no problems crossing. When we got to where the trail crosses Illilouette, that was another story. The creek was running really deep and swift. There was no getting across right here. So we stopped for a while to weigh our options. One of them not being swept away. We scouted around for a place to cross but things weren’t looking to good. We ended up chatting with a guy who had just crossed and he told us where. It was a ways upstream, so I scoped it out and deemed it doable. The water was about waist deep on me, and higher on the rest of group. It was also about 60’ across too. We all did get across though, and made our way to a nice clearing that was close by for the first night. The next day brought us to Nevada Falls where we took our first break. Then on past Little Yosemite Valley to a nice camp spot right off the trail that was just before the cut off to Clouds Rest. We spent 2 nights here. The next day we summited Clouds Rest. Incredible views from on top, and nice to be able to do it without the backpacks on. The next morning we packed up and headed for Merced Lake. Once off the JMT, the trail descended gradually down to the river. The outflow from the lake was just as impressive as the inflow from above. Some wild whitewater. We spent one night at the campground by the lake, and the next day headed down river to LYV for our last night. This is a beautiful stretch of trail through here. Granite and water everywhere. LYV is a busy campground. Lots of people. The final morning we packed up and headed back to Glacier Point. Our original plan was to do a high country trip out of Tuolumne Meadows, but most of my planned route was still snowbound. So we had to regroup totally. But this was a really nice loop.

8 months ago

8 months ago

Tue Jul 18 2017