May Lake Hike

This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
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.
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
3.7 km
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.
147 m
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Directions to Trailhead

The May Lake Trail is a stunning excursion in Yosemite that boasts breathtaking views of the dramatic landscape that stretches for miles. Climb up through the mixed pine forest, before arriving at the shimmering lake bounded by smooth granite bluffs. This trek is an excellent choice for your next adventure.

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Route Description for May Lake Hike

Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Yosemite National Park along the May Lake Trail. This scenic nature walk can be enjoyed by hikers of all skill levels and ages. Short and sweet, you will feel as though you cheated the system after being rewarded with jaw-dropping views on such a short walk! Note the path is uneven and rocky, so mind your footing and consider wearing a pair of sturdy footwear. Additionally, the route is only accessible when the Tioga Pass Road is open, and the route is subject to seasonal closures. Yosemite NP charges an entrance fee, check out the NPS website for additional information.

Setting out from the trailhead, the May Lake Trail tracks north. As you wander in this direction the rocky terrain is adorned with a few mixed pines to give you a break from the sun. Immediately after departing the trailhead, the path will gradually climb until reaching a ridge. Here, the incline briefly becomes more intense as you climb up to the lakeshore.

After tackling the steep ridges, you will be rewarded with breathtaking sights of the crystal-clear waters hemmed by smooth, light granite bluffs. Additionally, you will notice views of Tuolumne Meadows and Tenaya Lake. After reveling in the scenery, backtrack along the path to the trailhead.

Getting to the May Lake Hike Trailhead

The May Lake Hike is accessed via the Snow Creek Trailhead and Parking Lot off Tioga Pass Road.

Route Information

  • Backcountry Campground

    May Lake Dispersed Backcountry Camping, Wilderness Permit Required.

  • When to do


  • Pets allowed


  • Family friendly


  • Route Signage


  • Crowd Levels


  • Route Type

    Out and back

May Lake Hike Elevation Graph

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May Lake Hike Reviews

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