Ostrander Lake Trail is a 11.9 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Mariposa, 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
11.9 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,788 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

kid friendly

birding

camping

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

walking

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

no dogs

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
19 days ago

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.

1 month ago

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
1 month ago

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
2 months ago

Easy hike. Beautiful lake.

backpacking
3 months ago

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
5 months ago

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
6 months ago

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!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

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

backpacking
Sunday, August 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
Tuesday, July 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
Monday, September 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
Wednesday, August 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.

backpacking
Saturday, July 23, 2016

Gorgeous!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

loved this hike. the beginning is easy. the last half was pretty steep, especially with a pack. There were quite a few camp sites with fire rings. the lake was amazing. we did a day hike to hart lake, but it was only about 2 miles. tried to get to horse ridge above the lake, but it was a lot of bouldering. the hike out was simple!

backpacking
Monday, July 11, 2016

This was a pretty nice hike. The first few miles are pretty flat, the last half was a bit of work but worth it once you get to the lake.

camping
Tuesday, May 26, 2015

This was a beautiful hike. My lady and I did a day trip in late April when Glacier Point road opened up for the season. This was our first longer backpacking trip and we had a blast. I would rate this closer to a strenuous hike as the last 4 miles to the lake can take their toll on you. Once you crest the trail and see the lake for the first time you regain your energy. Would recommend as an over nighter and not as much as a there and back.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Amazing trail! Beautiful landscape, Greta back country spot.

hiking
Sunday, August 25, 2013

Hiked to the lake mid August. There were no Mosquitos, which was awesome. The first 3 miles flew by like nothing. The last 3 miles killed myself and my friend. That part took the longest time to complete. Right when the trail started to incline, we saw a mamma bear and her cub. She made a noise warning us she was there, but just walked away when we spotted them. When you get to the last mileage sign, you will be able to see Half Dome from the back. Great views of Yosemite that you must work for to see. The water from the lake was refreshing. If you are backpacking in, there are plenty of spots on both sides of the lake. The first spot you walk past by the hut on the right, it might be the first spot, but to be honest, had the best view of the lake. Would do again.

hiking
Saturday, May 12, 2012

Hiked this in May - some snow still on trail especially at the higher elevations. Easy first couple of miles then a steady but very manageable steady elevation gain. The ski trail markers in the trees made following the trail quite easy in areas where the snow still covered the trail. Area around the mountain hut and the lake (surface 3/4 frozen) was very tranquil. Came across no other hikers.

snowshoeing
Monday, February 28, 2011

Have done the trek in Winter, Summer and Fall seasons and enjoy them all. Easy trail out and back. I recommend using Horizon Ridge for one of the directions. Less folk using it so you can pretend you are trail blazing (the snow markers in the trees allow you to find your way). Staying at the Ostrander Hut in the Winter is a really nice experience, communal bunks and retrieving h2o from a hole cut in the lake makes you feel like a modern day Lewis & Clark. The hut custodian/s are unique and provide a vast knowledge of the geological make up and backcountry advice & assistance as needed. During the Spring, Summer and Fall, trail running out and back is relaxing - less crowds than other areas of Yosemite.

hiking
9 days ago

hiking
23 days ago

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

backpacking
5 months ago

hiking
5 months ago

8 months ago

hiking
11 months ago

hiking
Saturday, September 23, 2017

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