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.

DISTANCE
17.2 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2,736 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

backpacking

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

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.

backpacking
2 months ago

Ideal backpacking trip if you want to take first-timers with you! It was surprisingly cold (October 6th) but seeing the lake surrounded by fresh snow was magical.

hiking
2 months ago

Great hike. Lakes are beautiful. It was very windy at the first, second and third lake. Great in the summer

3 months ago

Three of the most beautiful lakes I’ve ever seen. We backpacked in via the glen Aulin trail which is beautiful but that last 1.5 miles to the lake is tough- seemed to take forever. Temperatures are very cold at night so if you camp bring warm clothes (we had frost on our tent on August 29). Our second day we slack packed to the two upper lakes- each more beautiful than the last - don’t miss them, although the trail is hard to find in places. TIP - remember where you entered to the lakes so you find the trail out! The dog lake trail out on day three is strenuous but beautiful- make sure you go to soda springs at the junction near the end or you will end up at the wilderness center. If you start early you can do this hike in one day but you won’t have as much time to enjoy the lakes.

backpacking
3 months ago

Great hike, trail well marked and no snow on trail over Labor Day weekend. Loved the view going on the Dog Lake Trail side. Glen Aulin Trail is good while you are in Tuolumne Meadows IMO, and it’s wooded going towards Young Lakes. At Young Lakes, best campsites appear to be on the north side and northwest side. Beautiful sunrise hitting Ragged Peak.
Ranger reported that there is often a bear at Young Lake, we did not see any.
Fantastic hike, great for a short trip :)

hiking
3 months ago

Did this hike on 08/19/18 thru 08/21/18 via the Dog Lake Trail and returned via the Glen Aulin. It is a constant climb that can be strenuous at times. Had a little trouble getting acclimated to the altitude. Of course, the return is an easy down hill for the most part. There were 3-4 tents at the lower lake. I stayed at the middle lake and there was only one other group there. Middle Lake is loaded with brook trout, but he upper lake is an anglers paradise. Caught FIFTEEN trout there in under an hour for a total of 23 fish. I used spinner lures. Due to the near by fire, it was not crowded as expected. Plan on doing this again next year.

backpacking
4 months ago

Absolutely LOVED this hike! we love hiking on vacation every year, but being from Florida means that's about the only time we are able to do it. We are not in amazing shape, but not horrible either. I will say that the hike in (via Dog Lake Trail) was pretty intense for us. We were praying for no more uphill climbing & begging for the lake to finally come into view! We still have a hard time believing that the mountain trail distance markers are right...they sure do seem like the longest miles on the face of the planet! Lol We got a pretty late start (about 1pm) so it was a bit hotter than we liked. However, majority of the time there was a nice breeze and the woods kept a nice comfortable temp. I have to say that this was one of the prettiest hikes throughout the entire trail that we have done. Some trails are all about the destination. This one was beautiful the entire time. The destination did not disappoint by any stretch of the imagination! The lakes were absolutely breathtaking! I definitely recommend not setting up camp immediately when entering the area around the lake. As tired as we were, we decided to hike around the lake a bit to look for the best spot. We crossed the falling creek about 1/4 of the way around the lake and found "the perfect" hard spot just up in the trees. Nobody else camped on that side of the creek. So we were pretty much all by ourselves over there with the sound of the waterfalls on the creek to lull us to sleep at night. We also had our own flat rock on the lake to go sit out on every night and every morning. Couldn't have asked for a better more tranquil setting! Then the hike up to the 2 other upper lakes was just as if not more awe inspiring than the 1st lake! The hike out via Glen Aulin trail was a very gradual decent and very picturesque as well. We spent 3 days total...Day 1 (started super late) hiked in from 1pm - 5pm then set up camp & just enjoyed the area. Day 2 we hiked up to the upper lakes from about 8am until about 3pm. Did some fishing back at the bottom lake & just relaxed rest of the day. Day 3 we packed up and headed out about 8am and arrived at our car at 11:30am. Absolutely the most peaceful and relaxing backpacking trip we have ever done! Well worth the work!

backpacking
Tuesday, October 10, 2017

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 October...so wear clothes.

backpacking
Wednesday, September 06, 2017

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).

backpacking
Tuesday, August 29, 2017

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!

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Beautiful, great views.

hiking
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.

camping
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.

hiking
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...

recorded Young Lakes Loop

22 days ago

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Thursday, August 31, 2017

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Friday, September 16, 2016

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014