Mirror Lake Trail in Yosemite National Park

If you’re planning a trip to Yosemite and looking for a peaceful spot to relax and soak in nature, you’ve got to check out Mirror Lake. It’s a beautiful place, and I had an amazing time there.

beautiful mirror lake in yosemite
Beautiful Mirror lake in Yosemite. You can see the reflection on the water.

Mirror Lake is pretty easy to find. It’s located in Yosemite Valley, and there’s a well-marked trail that leads right to it. There’s no parking so you have to take the shuttle. Shuttle stop 17 takes you straight to the trailhead. You can take the purple shuttle line from Yosemite Village. If you’re staying at North Pines Campground, you are close enough to walk to the Mirror Lake Trail.

mirror lake sign
In Mirror Lake area, you are in mountain lion habitat.
sign that shows the direction to mirror lake
It shows you are on Valley Loop trail and Mirror Lake is a mile ahead. There’s also No Pets allowed sign.
Hiking trail to mirror lake in yosemite
Hiking trail to Mirror Lake

The walk to the lake isn’t too long or tough, which is great if you’re not up for a strenuous hike. It’s one mile to the lake so roundtrip is 2 miles. The trail is mostly flat and takes you through some stunning scenery. You really get to see the beauty of Yosemite along the way. The trail to Mirror Lake is clearly marked with multiple signs and mile markers, making it easy to navigate.

hiking trail to mirror lake
Trail to Mirror Lake

If you take the most direct route, you’ll stay on the paved road, which crosses a bridge over Tenaya Creek. The road then follows the north side of the creek straight to Mirror Lake. There are restrooms available half a mile from the trailhead and again one mile from the trailhead. You can bring bicycles, leashed pets, and strollers on the first mile of the road, but they aren’t allowed beyond that point. I didn’t take the paved road all the way to the lake. I enjoyed the hiking path that turns right from the paved road.

you can see the reflection on the mirror lake in yosemite
Mirror Lake in April

When I arrived at the lake, I was struck by how calm everything was. The lake is famous for its clear, still waters that reflect the surrounding cliffs and trees like a mirror—hence the name, Mirror Lake. However, don’t except a big lake, it’s more like a pond. It’s actually just a bigger section of Tenaya Creek, which flows down from Tenaya Lake.

me sitting on the log at mirror lake
I’m sitting and relaxing on the log at Mirror Lake
me sitting on the log at mirror lake in yosemite

It was late evening, and the water was so smooth and it looked like glass. The reflection was perfect, and I took some time to just enjoy the view and snap lots of photos.

One thing to note is that Mirror Lake changes with the seasons. In spring and early summer, the lake is full because of the melting snow. But as the year goes on, it can dry up quite a bit. I was there in the middle of April, 2024 and the water level was full. So if you visit later in the year, it might look more like a stream than a lake.

mirror lake in yosemite

I spent a few hours just walking around the area, relaxing and enjoying the peace. There weren’t too many people around, which made it even better. I brought snacks with me, found a nice spot by the water, and just relaxed there. It was the perfect way to unwind and take in the incredible views of Half Dome and other Yosemite cliffs. In April, the water was cold and I didn’t go in the water.

me standing at the shuttle stop to mirror lake
Shuttle stop 17 at Mirror Lake

Before heading out to Mirror Lake, make sure you’re prepared. Bring water, some snacks, and maybe a camera because you’ll definitely want to take pictures. There are no restrooms at the trailhead, and you won’t find any water sources along the hike. Also, wear comfortable shoes because you’ll be walking 2 miles. You can bike to the lake as well. There’s a paved road alongside of the hiking trail that leads to the lake. Overall, it’s an easy, short, and family friendly trail to hike. However, since it’s an easy hike, you’ll most likely have to share it with lots of other hikers. I went later in the evening and it wasn’t crowded.

me on the beach
About the author

Hi, I'm Kat, the adventurous spirit behind TasteCaliforniaTravel, your guide to the hidden wonders of California. Having called California home for the last 15 years, I am thrilled to take you along on my journey and share the adventures that this incredible state has to offer.

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