I just visited Yosemite at the beginning of this month (November 2021) and hiked the Mirror Lake trail for the first time- and let me tell you it was stunning! Not only was it an easy hike to a beautiful “lake” view, it was magical with all the changing fall colors! This is probably the most vivid fall experience I’ve had to date. The Mirror Lake hike was the highlight of my quick fall trip to Yosemite- which I am working on a Fall guide to visiting Yosemite so stay tuned if you are interested in that.

Mirror Lake is a small seasonal “lake”- most notably enjoyed in Spring or early Summer when the water level is highest, but can still be enjoyed any time of year. My Fall Mirror Lake hike experience was quite epic as you’ll see in my photos! It is quite a popular trail since it’s so easily accessible, so go early in the morning to avoid the crowds.

Mirror Lake is not actually a lake as it is a widening in the Tenaya Creek where the water is smooth as glass and creates a crystal clear mirror images of the trees and surrounding domes. 

How to get to the Mirror Lake Trailhead

You will find the Mirror Lake Trail head a short distance from the Lower Pines Campground. Look for the signs to Mirror Lake and try to snag a parking spot nearby on the roadside. If you can’t find a spot park in the Curry Village parking lot and it’s about a 10 minute walk (or short bike ride) to the trail head.

*You can also get off at shuttle stop 17- but as of currently due to the Covid-19 pandemic the shuttles are not running for at least the rest of 2021. 

How Long is the Mirror Lake Hike?

It is 2 miles round trip from the trailhead to the lake and back.

It is 5 miles if you do the full loop around the lake, cross the Tenaya Creek and back.

From the trail head you can choose to either take the paved road which is accessible for strollers, wheel chairs and bikes or the nature trail and is dog friendly!

We opted for the nature hiking trail that was an easy hike with some rocky areas and gorgeous scenery. I think total we spent about 2 hours doing the hike and enjoying the views at Mirror Lake. We did this hike along with exploring other areas around Yosemite Valley.

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