Young Lakes Trail Loop

MODERATE 12 reviews
#56 of 207 trails in

Young Lakes Trail Loop is a 17.2 mile moderately trafficked loop 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 September.

17.2 miles
2736 feet




nature trips

trail running





wild flowers



no dogs

Loop trail from Tuolumne Meadows to Upper Young Lake and return. This is a classic Sierra Nevada high country trek, complete with subalpine forests, exposed granite outcroppings, and pristine glacial cirque lakes. Start the hike from the Lembert Dome parking lot. Follow the dirt road at the west end of the parking lot past the stables to Parson's Lodge. Just north of the lodge you'll pick up the trail to Glen Aulin. Follow that trail for about a mile, then take the signed trail to the right towards Young Lakes. The trail now climbs steadily, though not too steeply, to the intersection with the Dog Lake trail. Continue straight ahead for another mile and a half to lower Young Lake. If you feel adventurous, follow the unsigned use trail from lower Young Lake past middle Young Lake to the breathtaking upper Young Lake. Be advised, the use trail follows the stream between the middle and upper lakes, and includes a short but very steep section. When you're ready to leave, retrace your steps to the Dog Lake trail and follow it back to the trailhead. Note that there are several uphill sections on this trail, the first one (350 ft climb) being the longest. However, you'll be rewarded with absolutely gorgeous views of alpine meadows and stunning panoramas.

7 months ago

This was an amazing trip! It's high altitude (9800 feet), so expect a few breaks on your way up if you're backpacking in. The views are completely stunning; I uploaded a few photos. The fishing is also pretty good. I caught several brook trout using a yellow rooster tail.
Definitely one of the most beautiful hikes I've ever done. I ended up spending two nights in a hammock up there. The nights get below freezing in wear clothes.

8 months ago

I did this loop in the opposite direction (starting at Young Lakes via Dog Lake and finishing via Glen Aulin). With a pack, the initial ascent is steep and tough, but it's worth it for the views at Young Lakes. The lowest of the lakes makes for stunning sunrises/sunsets and there's good campsites on the north side of the lake (and good water in the creek that flows down from the lake). Also well worth a hike to the highest lake, which is very pretty (the middle lake is comparatively unremarkable).

8 months ago

I may be a bit biased as this trip was my first time in Yosemite and I was completely awe struck by the beauty all around me. But for my first solo backpacking trip I couldn't have picked a better loop. The meadows and alpine forests are breathtaking and the lakes themselves are gorgeous. I'd highly recommend making the scramble up the waterfall to Upper Young Lake, one of the best sunsets I have ever seen!

9 months ago

Beautiful, great views.

Monday, May 11, 2015

This was my first backpacking experience with my father, and where he taught me to fly fish. That trip our family camped at the lower lake. I have gone back to Young Lakes at least five times, solo, with high school friends, again with my father, with an employee and his son, and with my own son. I prefer camping at the highest lake, with its clear vistas. It really is one of the beautiful spots in Yosemite, and a great starting point for ascending Mt. Conness. You can also make a loop by hiking to Roosevelt Lake, crossing the north pass to Upper McCabe Lake (descent is a bit steep), and picking up the PCT back to Tuolumne, which goes past Tuolumne Falls. Climbing North Peak on the way to Upper McCabe is definitely worth it.
I prefer starting on the trail that goes past Dog Lake. An extra 400 feet of climbing, offset by less mileage. Good water usually at the Dingley Creek Crossing and a beautiful meadow. Great high meadows and superior views of the Cathedral Range when crossing the high shoulder.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

I backpack to Young lake, it is a HARD hike. Getting up there was a battle but I'm glad I did it, stay 2 nights and fished. The lake and the surrounding mountain make you feel like you went back in time. For 2 days we didn't see or hear another person, it was us and mother nature and she was beautiful. I've since been back 2x and each time I fall deeper and deeper in love with Yosemite and all it's beauty.

Monday, August 06, 2012

A 7 hour, 14 mile challenging hike but worth every bit of the effort, beautiful meadows, clear streams, breath taking lake surrounded by rugged mountain terrain...

8 months ago

Friday, September 16, 2016

Saturday, June 06, 2015

Wednesday, August 20, 2014