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    Tenaya Lake and May Lake Loop

    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.
    16.6 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.
    472 m
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    Directions to Trailhead

    Hiking the Tenaya Lake and May Lake Loop is an incredibly scenic adventure. Explore Yosemite’s high country and revel in the views of shimmering alpine lakes hemmed in by granite bluffs. This trek is a guaranteed winner in our books!

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    Route Description for Tenaya Lake and May Lake Loop

    The Tenaya Lake and May Lake Loop is a stunning hike that exhibits the beauty and grandeur of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. Wander through sweet-smelling mixed pine forests to the shores glittering alpine lakes that are often littered with amazed hikers and lucky backpackers. Be sure to charge your camera for this one! We recommend this hike in the spring, when the snow-melt streams are surging and the granite peaks are capped with snow—just make sure to wear sturdy footwear as the route is rocky and uneven. Note: the National Park charges an entrance fee; refer to the NPS website for additional details.

    Embark on your adventure along the Tenaya Lake and May Lake Loop from the Clouds Rest Parking Lot. From here, head left along the shoulder of Tioga Pass Road until you reach the May Lake Trailhead. Turn right here and begin hiking up the May Lake Trail. The path will gradually climb to the second May Lake Trailhead, where the terrain will become increasingly intense. Soon you will ascend the ridge to May Lake, a charming alpine lake with busy campsites along the shoreline. Revel in the beauty of the shimmering waters bounded by verdant pines and Mount Hoffmann.

    From here, follow the Glen Aulin-May Lake Trail east through mixed pine forests lined with granite outcrops. Follow this route to the next junction, where you will be redirected southwest along the Murphy Creek Trail. Wander this path along the snowmelt stream, turning right onto the Tioga Pass Road at the trail’s end and following it back to the car park.

    Getting to the Tenaya Lake and May Lake Loop Trailhead

    Access the Tenaya Lake and May Lake Loop from the Clouds Rest and Tenaya Lake Parking Lot off Tioga Pass Road.

    Route Information

    • Backcountry Campground

      Backcountry Camping, Wilderness Permit Required

    • When to do


    • Pets allowed


    • Family friendly

      Older Children only

    • Route Signage


    • Crowd Levels


    • Route Type


    Tenaya Lake and May Lake Loop Elevation Graph

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    Tenaya Lake and May Lake Loop Reviews

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