Laurel Lake Trail

Difficulty
This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
Hard
Duration
This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
7-10h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
24.0 km
Elevation
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
1,062 m
User Ratings
These ratings are completed by users who have completed this trail and not subject to reviews by 10Adventures.
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Directions to Trailhead

The Laurel Lake Trail is an amazing adventure in Yosemite National Park that exhibits the beauty and diversity of the high country. Wander over the O’Shaughnessy Dam and through an eerie tunnel to make your way up to the shimmering alpine lake. This trek is a must add to your Yosemite itinerary!

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Route Description for Laurel Lake Trail

The Laurel Lake Hike is an epic excursion that we can’t recommend enough! Impressively scenic and strenuous, you get the best of both worlds along this hike. Be sure to pack plenty of water, as this route will surely get your heart pumping! A sturdy pair of footwear, bear spray, and a bear bell are also a good idea. As this trek is long, we strongly encourage you to head out early to avoid having to walk back to the trailhead in the dark. The National Park charges an entrance fee; check out the NPS website for additional information.

Setting out from the O’Shaughnessy Dam Trailhead, follow the Laurel Lake Trail over the dam which bounds Tuolumne River. Revel in the view of the shimmering waters hemmed by granite domes, before continuing along the path through the tunnel and along a forest-lined path. Soon you will reach an intersection and veer left onto the Miguel Meadow Fire Road. Here, you will navigate several wide switchbacks up to another junction. Keep right and trek the unnamed path northeast through the woodlands. At the next fork in the road, take another right, followed by a left at the next junction. You will soon reach the shore of Laurel Lake.

Admire the postcard-perfect scene of the shimmering lake encircled by mixed conifers and granite bluffs. Take some time to rest and rehydrate, before retracing your steps along the route back to the trailhead.

Getting to the Laurel Lake Trail Trailhead

The Laurel Lake Trail departs from the O’Shaughnessy Dam Trailhead off Hetch Hetchy Road.

Route Information

  • Backcountry Campground

    Backcountry Camping, Wilderness Permit Required.

  • When to do

    April-October

  • Pets allowed

    No

  • Family friendly

    No

  • Route Signage

    Average

  • Crowd Levels

    Moderate

  • Route Type

    Out and back

Laurel Lake Trail Elevation Graph

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Laurel Lake Trail Reviews

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