Mirror Lake via Valley Loop Trail

EASY 511 reviews
#9 of 231 trails in

Mirror Lake via Valley Loop Trail is a 5.6 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Yosemite Valley, California that features a lake and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until November.

DISTANCE
5.6 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
334 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

wheelchair friendly

kid friendly

stroller friendly

hiking

nature trips

road biking

rock climbing

snowshoeing

trail running

bird watching

forest

lake

paved

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

over grown

rocky

scramble

snow

no dogs

An easy loop trail in Yosemite National Park, the pathway around Mirror Lake is a must-see for its beautiful reflections of Half Dome and its abundance of wildflowers during the early summer months. Mirror Lake is a seasonal lake located on Tenaya Creek and situated in Tenaya Canyon directly between North Dome and Half Dome. It is the last remnant of a large glacial lake that once filled Yosemite Valley. This is a well-marked trail and significantly less crowded than other trails in the park. The trailhead is at the far east end of Yosemite Valley and many visitors take the free shuttle bus or hike east from Curry Village or the Ahwahnee Hotel where there is a parking area and drinking water is available. The shuttle stops directly at the trailhead. There's a one mile paved trail walkway and bike path along Tenaya Creek to the north side of the lake and an unpaved trail along the south side.

We did this as an out and back starting from the west end of the valley. It was 8 miles. Loved the trail but the “lake” at the end isn’t worth the trip. We did do this with our dogs, and I’d say it’s the best and longest hike in Yosemite you can do with them. Besides the rim trail at the Grand Canyon, it’s the longest hike we’ve been able to do with them in the parks out west. For that reason, I’d definitely do it again, with them.

We did this as an out and back starting from the west end of the valley. It was 8 miles. Loved the trail but the “lake” at the end isn’t worth the trip. We did do this with our dogs, and I’d say it’s the best and longest hike in Yosemite you can do with them. Besides the rim trail at the Grand Canyon, it’s the longest hike we’ve been able to do with them in the parks out west. For that reason, I’d definitely do it again, with them.

We did this as an out and back starting from the west end of the valley. It was 8 miles. Loved the trail but the “lake” at the end isn’t worth the trip. We did do this with our dogs, and I’d say it’s the best and longest hike in Yosemite you can do with them. Besides the rim trail at the Grand Canyon, it’s the longest hike we’ve been able to do with them in the parks out west. For that reason, I’d definitely do it again, with them.

hiking
blowdown
over grown
rocky
scramble
3 days ago

Hiked the full loop today starting from the stables. The east side of the trial from a little ways north of Mirror Lake to about a half mile south of the bridge is barely passable. There was 20-25 minutes of scrambling over rocks and under trees. We had fun, but there were definitely a few places where the trial was hard to determine. If you want to scramble, go for it. If not, I’d recommend going up the road on the west side and turning around when you get to the second bridge. The views were better on that side anyway.

hiking
5 days ago

Hiked this on 5/19/19 and had a blast! We wanted to the entire loop but there was a decent amount of rain and snow so we couldn’t find a lot of trail markers. We got to a point with a lot of deep water and down trees and couldn’t figure out a path to continue on. A few other hikers were out and no one could figure out a way to pass this point so the loop turned into an out and back. We got caught in a pretty gnarly snow fall there too but packed the appropriate layers so it ended up being a really fun trail! We ended up making it an out and back and did about 3-3.5miles. The first portion of the trail (after the paved path) is so beautiful. The trail follows the river and you see a lot of lush green forest and boulders. There were a good amount of down trees you must hike over. The trail itself is pretty flat. I’m sure in the summer it would be even more beautiful but the weather just made it a bit more adventurous. Hop on the Valley shuttle and take it to stop #17. It drops you off at the trailhead as there is no parking there. We took the shuttle back to the Majestic Yosemite Hotel after and had an insanely awesome brunch (if you’re okay splurging a little you must go to this brunch!!) Then we walked around the Valley Loop trail to get more miles in until we ended up back at our car in Yosemite Village.

hiking
5 days ago

Great trail, with some traffic over the first couple of miles. Awesome views of Half Dome and the full valley. Only issue is that the trail loop at its furthest point was not marked, with no way to find the bridge, so most all hikers were doing an out and back. Overall views were hard to beat.

hiking
13 days ago

Very pretty hike with one section on the Half Dome side that is a bit gnarly... hiking over downed logs. Waterproof boots are helpful because some of the water is a few inches deep. Reflections are amazing if you find the right spot.

Went counterclockwise on loop. Fun to walk under Half Dome and see Mt Watkins reflection in Mirror Lake. Loop washed out right now. Tons of people.

hiking
19 days ago

Great for an easy hike. Heavy traffic. Hike in the spring as there isn’t much lake after the weather heats up.

hiking
scramble
washed out
21 days ago

We hiked this trail last October and had no problems walking around the loop. Yesterday we hiked this trail and found it a bit of a challenge, part of trail has been covered up by downed trees and rock slides, we had to climb over and under to make it all the way around. It’s a relatively easy trail other than that. There’s not much water in the lake, however the river is rushing right now and amazing. I would recommend this hike.

hiking
21 days ago

Great hike, but be aware that tons of trees/foliage are down. From the lake it can be difficult to locate/traverse the trail, and you’ll need to be able to crawl under/over trees

There was a section of the mirror trail that was blocked because of high water for at least 1/4 of a mile or a bit less, so we had to go high and scramble up a rocky area. The trail is not that long, but I did a section 3 times LOL! Was determined to make it all around.

If you take the trail from Happy Isle and not the road, it is a nice hike. The dogwoods were out. And the sound of rushing water was relaxing

I have done this hike before and it is usually very easy. However, after this winters crazy snow, the water is very high and a rock slide has taken out some of the trial. There is some climbing over boulders or sliding under trees to complete the circuit. Still a great and relatively easy hike.

hiking
1 month ago

easy trail, I'd call it more like a walk. has some elevation gain and steps took bike path back to change scenery - nice and peaceful walk. be prepared to get your feet wet with spring waters running

hiking
bugs
1 month ago

Super easy beautiful half. Spectacular views of Half Dome and the lake is stunning.

hiking
1 month ago

Easy trail, there is a beautiful “desert” like rock face near the apex of the loop which was the highlight for me. Just a gorgeous little exposed spot, then it dives back into the trees.

hiking
muddy
1 month ago

Easy hike. Beautiful and scenic. No waterfalls but beautiful creeks and it is not easily trafficked. Watch for the trail close to halfway, you may have to hike up the side of the hill during this season to stay dry, but it’s fun! Great recovery hike

1 month ago

great hike. about 6.25mi from hotel and back via the loop around the "lake." Trail goes for a ways past the lake and it's really nice and quiet back there. took the north trail (non paved section leaving from edge of hotel parking lot) and passed some nice falls early on. got to lake which is not much more than a wide wet area of the river but still beautiful and great views on the way and past it. Continued along north side of river and back around passing by the beginning of the snow Creek trail. The Southside trail loses its trail like quality and you are walking through a bit of a stream (kids thought this was the most fun part) but eventually finds the trail again. Nothing crazy deep or difficult, but can get above the ankle at parts so navigate wisely. all in all a great round trip, relatively flat and beautiful scenery and river. we loved it.

1 month ago

take the North trail.

hiking
2 months ago

Easy hike with some great views of Half Dome especially. I took a detour and ended up way out near Yosemite village, so be aware of the map if you’re on a time crunch.

hiking
blowdown
muddy
2 months ago

hiking
muddy
3 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

This easy peasy trail used to be packed with tourist when there was more water. Still, it is a beautiful trail to visit, especially in the winter on snowshoes! :-)

hiking
4 months ago

Fairly easy, well trafficked even in winter. Nice views looking up! Some small streams to cross and one spot with scrambling in the winter. Best spots are after the lake when it gets quiet!

4 months ago

Pleasant easy walk in the winter, when there are few visitors. beautiful forest.

4 months ago

lovely easy hike, not much of a lake but the views and that forest is totally worth it.

4 months ago

Fairly easy, though there is a paved road side and an unpaved side that’s a little more challenging. Great views of half dome. Areas to stop and throw rocks in the water, if that’s of interest. Decent picnic type hike. Still open and clear in the winter. Park at north pines camp ground if you can. There’s also a shuttle stop if you are able to get on the shuttle.

5 months ago

Just beautiful. Not many people in the winter months, at least, so a peaceful walk alongside the river. Stunning rock scapes and a scenic bridge over the river at the half way point. The mirror image was worth everything!

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