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Ten Lakes Trail

HARD 115 reviews
#39 of 244 trails in

Ten Lakes 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 difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October.

Distance: 12.4 miles Elevation Gain: 3,021 feet Route Type: Out & Back

backpacking

camping

hiking

nature trips

bird watching

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

no dogs

Directions from Arch Rock Entrance: Travel along the Merced River on Highway 140 to the Old Big Oak Flat Road junction. Turn left on to Old Big Oak Flat Road and drive 9.5 miles to Tioga Road. Turn right on Tioga Road and travel 19.5 miles to the Ten Lakes Trailhead.

hiking
21 days ago

Not a seasoned backpacker so this one was hard but do-able. Altitude was probably hardest part but the rewards with amazing views and peace and quiet were all worth it.

hiking
1 month ago

Would recommend going in the spring but was very beautiful

hiking
1 month ago

I found this trail to be fairly easy until I hit about the four mile mark, then the trail started to climb fairly steeply for about the next mile. The view from the top of the range is fantastic. The trail then drops down the other side to the lakes. There are several campsites with fire rings. All in all a very nice hike.

backpacking
bugs
1 month ago

This was our first backpacking trip and what a doozy it was but very much worthwhile. It definitely kicks your butt but once you get to the destination, it is all worth it!

backpacking
bugs
1 month ago

We easily secured a wilderness permit for this hike even if we arrived at the visitors center at noon on a busy Saturday mid-August. Amazing... we were able to find solitude on the trail and also when camping by the lakes, amazing too... very nice hike, probably a good option for people looking for an introduction to backpacking! I took a dip in the lake, water temperature felt okay. Bring mosquito repellent for sure!

hiking
2 months ago

Followed trail via Yosemite Creek campground August 2017. Ran across a few backpackers, a couple snakes, and a buck. It opens up into the most breathtaking valley I think I've ever seen right before going up another hill and down by the lakes. Hoping to do this one again in a month--start early in the morning for the best day ever!

hiking
3 months ago

Day hiked to ten lakes pass and back on Saturday July 13th. Set out at 6am and didn't come across another human soul until well into my return from the pass around 10am -- incredible to have so much solitude on a weekend in July in Yosemite. Update on conditions sorely needed as a few people I passed had (unnecessarily) packed in micro-spikes. Trail is largely clear of snow. A few larger snow packs to cross around halfmoon meadows but easy to walk across and clear path across. Pass is almost completely clear of snow. Only remaining snow patches (at random spots throughout the upper part of the trail and all pretty darn small) are either easy to go around (or in the case of larger ones, walk through guided with a clear footpath that others have laid down). Main hazard actually is less the snow patches per se but a few places where the snow patches combine with downed trees and woody debris that obscure the path in a few places --particularly in places where the path is less clear to begin with (I found I had to concentrate on making sure I was on the path, moreso on the way down than on the way up). Note: do not follow cairns that have been constructed during the forested section up to/down from the pass -- if you mistakenly get off the trail and find these (as I did) these do not lead to the path but rather to campsites that folks have constructed. (This note refers only to the cairns on the way up to the pass through the forested section i.e. there are well placed and relevant cairns through the climb through the granite sections towards the beginning of the hike.) And because of snow still melting there is a lot of running water along/on the trail (sometimes creating their own little rivulets) to contend with but again minor issue - I was able to keep my feet dry the whole time by careful placement or easily walking around. As for the rating -- my own bias -- and my own inexperience whether I am to rate it against the trails I love the most (JMT/Tetons/Winds/etc.) or against my expectations of the trail or of my gratitude for having the opportunity to do this in general -- in the case of the former -- its a 3 out of 5 -- if its just the trail versus the trail - its a 4 out of 5, if its the later -- a 5 out of 5. Loved having the whole trail to myself for the first four hours (star 1); beautiful overview at the end of the hike (star 2); general love of hiking in a beautiful national park (star(s) 3-4); most of the 11 mile hike up to the pass and back is largely (relatively folks...)unremarkable (minus 1-2 stars). In sum, snow is no longer a barrier for getting to the pass/basin but a minor obstacle that is easy to navigate around. Grateful for the experience.

backpacking
muddy
off trail
snow
3 months ago

Backpacked July 6-7, beautiful views! Many running creeks making the trail wet and muddy. Snow starts in patches around mile 3, and until mile 4 it’s possible to get off trail. Watch out for weak snow bridges. The switchbacks up to the pass are clear. Make sure to have GPS and a map to make sure you’re on track once the snow starts above the switchbacks (you may think you’re at the pass but there’s more trail through the forest). The pass is covered in snow, but no extra traction gear necessary (poles for balance was helpful). The switchbacks down to the lakes are also clear. Lots of snowy patches near the lakes too. AllTrails map was accurate - also downloaded the topo layer which showed some creeks the main one didn’t.

hiking
4 months ago

Pretty. Solitary

5 months ago

I thoroughly loved this trail. went with my son. A day to hike in, a day at the lake and a day to hike out. The worst of it was the ascent from the lake up to the summit. Overall very doable and a wonderful experience.

backpacking
9 months ago

Awesome trail!!! If you plan well, go during a full moon. The light of the moon reflects off the granite mountains and lights up the entire area. For the most part the trail is well distinguished however there are two spots where the trial is on granite rocks with no trial marks. Walked trail late September and there was minimal water running in streams so bring plenty of you plan on hiking at that time. But plenty of water at end of hike at the lakes.

backpacking
Thursday, October 11, 2018

Totally blown away by the views from the meadow to the top of the pass. This was fairly difficult for my second backpacking trip but it was well worth it.

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

you will experience different environment every 2 miles on the way to ten lakes. enjoy!

backpacking
Monday, September 24, 2018

Ive backpacked all over the Sierra’s and this was one of the best overall trips! The trail is very well maintained. That being said, the All Trails Pro app saved us a few times. First, along the granite part early in the trail, and secondly coming out of the lake area since there were a ton of trails up and down from the lake that didn’t lead to the actual trail. At all map checks, no matter the altitude or density of Forrest, the app showed us EXACTLY where we were and got us right back in trail without losing any time! As far as the hike - wow...I would rate it moderately difficult. You’re scaling way more mountain than what I thought and the day ends with the most strenuous part of the hike. We started at about 10am and got to our lakeside campsite at about 4:30 The lake itself was spectacular! And trust me - I’ve camped at a lot of lakes. Yes - there are 6 other lakes to possibly explore and camp at, but the main lake was so huge that it was no problem finding a secluded private site. There were many developed camp sites created from pack groups along the south side, whereas most people camped in the obvious east side, so I recommend you explore that area for camping (make a left when you arrive at the lake and go down about half way+) Lastly, you only need to go to the Big Oak Flat Information station to get a permit. It was easy and I was in and out of there in 10 minutes. So enjoy!!

hiking
Monday, September 10, 2018

Will probably do another review after we accomplish this, but we started our hike at 9:15am. We checked AllTrails and signs and said, “It’ll be 6 miles up and 6 miles back”. The trail got a little confusing to follow once we reached a lot of rocks and boulders, but luckily, we spotted humans to help guide us back! They were on their way coming back down as we were going up. One guy told us there was a bear 5 minutes ahead of us and that we should make noise to scare it off. First of all, this hike was extremely quiet. Almost eerie like before we saw these guys, and we were already a mile or 2 in. Didn’t like the quietness  we were “on guard” from there on and so we lost time cause we were walking slow and making sure to spot the bear. Luckily, we came across some backpackers and they said they didn’t see a bear. Good to know. The rest of it was an ascend up. We came across a very gorgeous meadow that put the spark back in. After that, it was nothing but a staircase ascend of rocks and uneven boulders. After taking a rest, we came across more backpackers and after checking the mileage on my FitBit, it said we were 5.76 miles in. Excited, we were ready to tackle the remaining 0.64 miles. Just to gauge timing, we inquired about the distance as we were facing a never-ending ascend up rocks. It was tiring. Guys told us it was another 2 hours before we reached the actual lake. This confused us a lot considering the current mileage we were tracking. We were also pretty bummed to hear that considering how far we had already trekked. And to top it off. it was already getting late. Too late to where if we continued on and came back, it would have been at least 4 or 5pm and more bears would have came out of hiding. For the record, we NEVER bail on a hike, but we didn’t want to take the risk, so we travelled back down from there. Just to be safe. About 9 miles in now, we finally spotted the bear the guys from before told us about. It was minding its own business, but was 2 feet near the trail in some bushes. We went around, and luckily, it didn’t try anything, considering we were walking on non-discrete pinecones  I’m sure it heard us. Anyway, we made it back down safely, but was kind of bummed because we didn’t get a chance to finish nor catch a glimpse of the lake. Not wanting the trip to go out in vain, we headed back up more to catch Tenaya Lake. Views were amazing  made the trip worth it again. All-in-all, if you’re serious about doing Ten Lakes, you’ll either have to make an overnight trip, start very early (sooner than 9), or don’t mind the bears that wander around late in the afternoon. I’m sure it was a breathtaking view, and I’ll send a better review, after I get to experience it! What we did was moderate. The incline was pretty intense, and being around hot chalky loose rock, messed up my toes 路‍♀️ looking forward to tackling this one again, BETTER PREPARED! 輪‍♀️律‍♀️

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

beautiful backpacking trip. All trail app game changer, this trail fades at several spots Alltrail app kept us on track. Get it!!! My second time visiting these lakes, I have never seen any bears. enjoy be safe.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

My son and I did this trail in 3 days. 1 in, 1 enjoying and 1 out. The switchbacks coming up the granite face were a little taxing, but so well worth it. This trail is amazing. Be prepared for bears!

hiking
Thursday, July 05, 2018

this trail was amazing, bring bear spray but don't you it for inthing eles it's only for bears. it has amazing views this trail is moderate because it's not to hard it has great seanary great fishing spot's butifule camping spot's has a lot of switch backs and easy turns has great

Thursday, November 23, 2017

It was a great trail and destination good fishing

backpacking
Tuesday, October 03, 2017

This trail was beautiful!! The views of the lakes once you get to the top, make those tough switchbacks worth it. There are fire pits along the lakes, which we loved because it was high 20s at night--there was snow along the lakes. I would do this hike again!

backpacking
Monday, October 02, 2017

An early start from the Bay Area can get you on the trail and to solid camping sites (after the 2 miles trail crossing but before the big switchbacks over the pass) before dusk. Ten Lakes area is great for exploring with killer views. Worth getting a campsite in Ten Lakes beyond first lake the trail hits to avoid crowds

camping
Monday, July 10, 2017

Great views along the ten lakes trail. With the amount of snow on the trail and the park, it was difficult to follow along and make our trek up longer.

Monday, June 19, 2017

After not getting a permit for may lake we ended up doing 10 lakes and it was worth it. Beautiful views :)

backpacking
Saturday, August 20, 2016

The hike can be a bit rough for back packing, there is a good easy steady climb for about 4 miles to a beautiful meadow, then some crazy steep and rocky switch backs for around a mile that will top off at above 9,500 with some awesome views, then a 1000ft rocky switch back descent to the main lake. I would rate this trail as moderate to advanced for backpacking. The main lake has trout in it and is great for fishing, the upper lakes are void of any trout to save the Yosemite frog, so if you hike to the upper lakes which are beautiful don't bother bringing a fishing pole. The views from the lake are awesome, great spots to camp and not to many bugs in early August. 6 miles and a 2,300 hike up switch backs makes for a long day be prepared.

camping
Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Beautiful trail - some great day hikes around 10 lakes basin once you get in there as well.

hiking
Sunday, August 31, 2014

This was my first ever actual backpacking trip, and it is a doozie!! The views, the solitude, and the experience were top notch. The hike in is a booty kicker, so be prepared. Especially the last part, when you are heading up to the summit. There are many switchbacks, and good thing, because it is steep. Lots of animals, from mule deer, to marmots, and we saw many signs of bear. Once you hit the summit, you can see the lakes below, and its a quick drop down. The main like is an absolute fishing paradise. I limited out on trout every single evening and we ate like kings! We had a great spot next ot the lake and enjoyed the morning and evening views. It was a great time. The higher lakes hold no fish, so don't take your pole, but fun to go to nonetheless. Not many bugs at ALL. Plenty of water to drink, just use your tablets, or treat it before drinking. The hike out is relatively quick with the exception o the first part, when you go vertical using switchbacks for 1,000 feet to summit, then down at an easy pace to the parking lot! I will never forget this hike. Was amazing!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Great hike! Pretty views. Lots of overnight spots.

hiking
Tuesday, August 27, 2013

This can be a tough climb, this trail has many dramatic elevation changes but it is well worth it! The lake side camping is awesome and the scenery is unforgettable.

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