Ostrander Lake Trail [CLOSED]

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Yosemite National Park

Ostrander Lake Trail is a 12.4 mile moderately trafficked out and back 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 March until October. Horses are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 12.4 miles Elevation Gain: 1,788 feet Route Type: Out & Back

kid friendly

camping

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

walking

bird watching

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

closed

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. This is a 12.4 mile out and back hike to Ostrander Lake with about 1617 ft. of elevation gain, from 7000 ft to over 8600 ft. The trail head is located off Glacier Point Road. The first 3 miles of the hike are relatively flat. The next 3 miles climb at about a 10% grade. The mountain crests at about 5 and 3/4 miles, then drops down to Ostrander Lake (8505 ft).

hiking
3 months ago

Glacier Point Road closed to vehicle traffic in winter. From badger Pass it is 4.3 miles to ostrander trailhead. Then the trail up and back. I did not make it to the lake this time. Leave very early to get in the complete hike. Snow on road to trailhead all the way. Everybody on cross country skis or snowshoes. No need. I wore my regular hiking boots with wool socks.

hiking
muddy
over grown
6 months ago

The lake was ok but the view just before the lake was amazing. The trail was a little muddy and dusty at the same time. The best part was we saw no one the entire trip!

hiking
rocky
scramble
7 months ago

Great trail! Loved how beautiful the lake was. Super quiet up there, you could hear the wind blowing thru the trees and the small waves on the lake. Highly recommend it! The last 1.5 miles was the butt kicker part. That was the inclination part of the trail. The first 3-4 miles was very easy and kinda like a walk thru the meadows and some forest areas. But it is totally worth it all in the end! You won’t regret doing it. Definitely going to be doing this one again!

hiking
7 months ago

Moderate trail. Easy on the first three miles than after that it is a heavy incline. Well worth it though.

hiking
7 months ago

Must Do Hike! Leave the crowds. Maybe my favorite hike of all time. Had the whole mountain to ourselves. Zero people. Kind of taking our time we got to the cabin in 3-1/2hrs. You feel isolated it's pretty amazing the level if silence. Quickly Had a glass of wine and cheese and headed back. Kept a good pace coming back in just 2-1/2 hrs. Finished the hike in 6hrs 6minutes.

hiking
8 months ago

I can definitely see why some people would not love the trail itself. It is a lot of burn out area however the regrowth and sculpture like remains of some trees was beautiful. The view of the lake itself- it’s breathtaking. Amazing contrast between the clear rippling water and stark grey talis. We loved our time there

backpacking
bugs
8 months ago

Went up Sept 13th spent the night then down. This is not a moderate hike for beginners or old guys like me. We had a hard time with the elevation and the exposed (HOT) and steep last half, this is where the elevation kicks in. I brought two 33 ounce bottles and was out about a half mile from the top. Yellow jackets abound and they got in our food, you just have to deal with it, after the sun goes down they go away. BUT they already had out tent staked out in the morning LOL ! Waiting for chow. Had one drown in my Coffee, another dead while heating up my eggs. Bear canisters not touched. Some Bear scat but no sightings. Full moon so beautiful scenery, WELL WORTH THE EFFORT !. On trip down Saturday ran into folks that were totally NOT PREPARED for the elevation climb. Out of water, no filter, etc. This is rated as Moderate but for me, and a few others we ran into, the last half of this climb is brutal if your not prepared.

backpacking
8 months ago

I agree with earlier posts that this hike cannot rate a 4 or 5 in comparison to other hikes. Yet, it is a very nice trail through meadows, burned but sprouting new life. The hike does climb over granite hills, then the penultimate climb through a wooded summit. I saw a few groups and the summit was tough on most packing a load. This was my first backpacking experience, a good tough trial. The 6.5 was an underwhelming distance until I strapped on 50 pounds. The lake was nice but very rocky to get around. Good camping, some spots for 4 or 5 tents. No where to go once you get there so prepare to settle in or go for a day hike/swim.

hiking
9 months ago

This was a great hike. Lots of wildflowers still blooming. The lake was crystal clear and we didn’t see another soul.

hiking
9 months ago

Great day, beautiful flowers, some long views and a gorgeous lake

hiking
bugs
10 months ago

I give this trail five stars for each of the five bears we saw! Seriously though, this trail is so worth the long hike. We started early in the morning and it took us almost 7 hours to complete. We only ran into around 15 people the whole time. This trail has everything. You get wild flowers, shaded woods, open areas with burnt trees from a fire, big open view of the whole mountain range, and a breathtaking view of the lake at the very end. Watch out for bears though! We saw two sets of Mom bears with babies really close to the trail. Probably only 40 feet from us. Terrifying, but really neat looking back after not getting mauled. Haha

hiking
bugs
rocky
10 months ago

backpacking
10 months ago

Beautiful lake well above crowds in Yosemite valley off glacier point road.

hiking
11 months ago

First, my standard warning. I'm not easy on the stars. 3 out of 5 is a really nice trail... And this is a nice trail. There aren't any views to speak of for most of the hike. About half a mile from the lake the trail crests, and a short 100' trip to the left shows some amazing scenery... Half Dome, Clouds Rest, Mt. Hoffmann, Mount Conness, Mount Starr King, the entire Clark Range... The lake is nice. There are more dramatic, but the setting, including the hut, makes this no slouch. Wildflowers were just starting. Mosquitoes were almost non-existent. Hike, although continuously up, is totally manageable. One thing I would note was a prior reviewer suggesting this is "have it to yourself" location. We did it July 1st, and probably passed 15 - 20 people, with almost an even split between day hikers and backpackers. Definitely worth doing, but Yosemite definitely has many more hikes that are in the "grand" category.

hiking
11 months ago

The first three miles or so are a flat walk across meadows and burnt forest...great to warm up the legs. The steady incline uphill isn't bad, and you get some nice views going up. Near the lake are some spectacular views of snow covered peaks behind you. The lake is really nice and a great place to hang out for a while. The best part of this trail is that there are virtually no people on it...we started at 8:15 and saw backpackers coming down but then had the lake to ourselves at the top!

hiking
Thu Oct 25 2018

One of my favorite trails from our Yosemite trip. This is a fantastic backpacking trail. In the first half of the trail, there are so. many. wildflowers. Probably the most variety I'd ever seen on a trail. Orange, red, yellow, blue, purple, and white blooms reached out to us from the side of the trail. Lots and lots of butterflies. In addition, the first half of the trail is very flat, and only gets steeper in the second half. This trail was secluded and quiet as compared to the craziness of more popular destinations. When you get to the lake, there are many good campsites. Just search around the lake until you find one you like. We found one that had 2 fire pits, soft flat spaces for tents, waist level logs to use as surfaces for cooking or drying out clothes, and was a 30 second walk from the lake. Here are some of the things you can do while at the lake: fish, start a fire, swim (just make sure you have something to wrap around yourself afterwards because the wind can be chilly when you're wet), and hike up to hilltop above the lake. (totally worth it- great views!) Near the campsite we stayed at, there were lots of dead pine tree branches. Let me tell you, if you want to start a fire, use dead pine needles! Overall there were only two negative things about the trail. In the beginning, there's some portions where the trail is very thin, and the vegetation can make your legs itchy if you're wearing shorts. The other thing is that there are some sections of the trail where a wildfire has passed through and there's just a forest of black dead trees. However, the positives definitely outweigh the negatives.

Fri Sep 14 2018

Beautiful alpine lake, 5 of us had the lake to ourselves after a moderate 6.2 mile mid-day hike. Several choice backpacking campsites to choose from. Take the time to explore west of the Ski Hut for better sites. Fishing was great with native trout hungry to attack a variety of lures. Caught and released four in just over 30 minutes with several hits in between. The night ski was clear with no moon for some amazing star gazing. Only negative was several burn sections of the hike from recent fires, all part of the natural cycle, but still still difficult to see.

hiking
Fri Sep 14 2018

Wear pants on this trail. Because it is not used often, the trail is narrow and there are many thorny bushes. The incline between miles 3-6 is exhausting but the walk back is easy. It was freezing cold by the lake. Wish I had one more layer. You walk through a lot of burnt forest. About 2 miles of it is burnt. Very secluded and was hoping to spot bear. Instead we spotted a huge pile of bear poop. So they are out there! Overall, ok trail. Not my favorite and will probably never do it again.

hiking
Thu Sep 13 2018

Easy hike. Beautiful lake.

backpacking
Tue Jul 17 2018

Great hike. Very doable, but for those that aren’t in the best shape, 6 miles with a pack will feel like you accomplished something. And the reward of going in the lake when you get there is the cherry on top. Small lake. You will be near others, but should be able to find your own space.

hiking
Mon Jun 11 2018

While too many are busy trying out their long distance leg & back strength on Half Dome I encourage the remaining to try out this beautiful trail. I passed 4 hiker’s, 2 of which were Park Rangers, along the way. The trailhead has plenty of parking spaces and bear lockers. The first several miles are super easy and fairly flat the rest are a steady climb and along the way you’ll see the back part of Half Dome off in the distance. At this beautiful lake you’ll encounter 2 or 3 overnight campers along the perimeter of the lake. Take the time to rest and enjoy the lake before heading back.

hiking
Sat May 05 2018

dope trail did it may 5th only saw 3 other souls in this 12.5 mi R/T hike. follow the markers to not get lost. the frozen lake at the end was amazing and freaking gorgeous most def do this again in the hotter days. didn't see any wild life but oh well loved this hike!

Sat Aug 12 2017

Nice and flat first 3 miles with a steady incline the last half of the trail. Beautiful lake worth seeing.

backpacking
Sun Aug 06 2017

Nice and easy backpacking trip. Camping by the lake and swimming there at sunset made our stay perfect. You should expect moderate solitude only, lots of mosquitoes, and maybe you will see a bear as we did after only 20min on the trail!

backpacking
Tue Jul 11 2017

In the end of June 2017 I did 3-day backpacking tour to Ostrander Lake. Trail description is pretty good. Trail is well marked almost everywhere by regular rusty posts and ski-markers. About half mile before the lake it forks several times for vista points or something similar, but in general it is easy to find the right way. This was a 1st time when I meet bear in Yosemite on trail in about 2 miles from parking lot. It was black bear, it was scared by hikers and run away in the forest, then showed up again on trail and walked in opposite direction. Unfortunately, there is no trail beyond the lake. it could be interesting to walk along the creek to the upper lakes or climb to the top of Horse Ridge.

hiking
Mon Sep 26 2016

Very cool place to get away from the crowds.its not to hard.the first half is easy the last half is a bit harder.i think it would be better as an over night backpacking.

backpacking
Wed Aug 31 2016

Did this as a weekend backpacking trip two weeks ago with a couple of buddies. Like everyone has said, the first half of the hike is fairly flat with very little elevation gained. Within the first hour of the hike we came upon a nice 7-point buck and a decent sized black bear less than 10yards from the trail. The second half of the hike is a bit strenuous, but nothing ridiculous. It is a steady incline that is easily conquered; with 40-50+lb packs we still managed to make the lake in just under 2.5hrs. The majority of the established campsites and fire rings lie along the Northwest shore of the lake. The next morning we climbed up to Horse Ridge, which was a short Class 2 scramble. We then traversed the ridgeline and dropped back down near Hart Lakes. From Horse Ridge you get an amazing view of Half Dome off in the distance. Over the course of the weekend we had day-hikers trickle in and out, but by 3 or 4 they’d be gone. There was three or four other groups camping at the lake with us, but never once were we bothered by the company. I would highly recommend this trail to novice backpackers, and to those looking to avoid the hordes of people that flock to Glacier Point.

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