Valley Loop Trail to Mirror Lake

Difficulty
This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
Moderate
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.
3.5-5h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
16.6 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.
203 m
User Ratings
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Directions to Trailhead

The Valley Loop Trail to Mirror Lake is an exciting adventure through Yosemite Valley that exhibits the grandeur and beauty of the Sierra Nevada’s granite peaks that bound the valley. Wander through the corridor of granite walls up to the shimmering lake beneath Half Dome. This is a truly exceptional adventure.

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Route Description for Valley Loop Trail to Mirror Lake

The Valley Loop Trail to Mirror Lake is an awesome hike that will surely get your blood pumping. Wander past some of the best sights that Yosemite National Park has to offer in one circuit hike. Note: sections of this path will likely be busier than others as there are several connecting routes. Revel in panoramas of Half Dome looming above, Yosemite Valley, and Yosemite Falls. Admire the granite landscape as you loop through the valley. The National Park charges an entrance fee, check out the NPS website for a pricing guide and more information.

Embark on your adventure along the Valley Loop Trail to Mirror Lake from the Mirror Lake Trailhead. From here, the loop can be completed in either direction, but we chose to track counterclockwise. From the trailhead, head north along the Valley Loop Trail—which you will stay on for the entirety of your adventure. Wander north along the Merced River, before diverting northeast along the Tenaya Creek. Soon, the path will approach the shores of Mirror Lake, with Half Dome and North Dome looming above. The path will eventually redirect you west along the northern shore of Mirror Lake and back onto the floor of Yosemite Valley. As you meander west, you will pass over several creeks and by a campground to make your way into Yosemite Village to Yosemite Falls.

Revel in the grandeur of the cascades, then head south before being redirected east. Follow the path through Curry Village and you will soon be delivered back to the trailhead, marking the end of your adventure.

Getting to the Valley Loop Trail to Mirror Lake Trailhead

The Valley Loop Trail to Mirror Lake departs from the Mirror Lake Trailhead off Happy Isles Loop Road.

Route Information

  • Backcountry Campground

    Yosemite Valley Backpackers Campground

  • When to do

    May-September

  • Pets allowed

    No

  • Family friendly

    Older Children only

  • Route Signage

    Average

  • Crowd Levels

    Moderate

  • Route Type

    Circuit

Valley Loop Trail to Mirror Lake Elevation Graph

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