Gaylor Lake

Gaylor Lake, Yosemite National Park: Address, Gaylor Lake Reviews: 4.5/5

Gaylor Lake
4.5
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Hiking to the lake offers peace and quiet away from crowds.
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4.5
44 reviews
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Chris L
Mountain View, CA170 contributions
Better hikes in the area
Jul 2020
I've seen many reviews that say this is a hidden gem. I may have been spoiled, in that I'd just spent a week at high altitude in Telluride, and earlier this year we hiked the relatively empty Mist Trail in Yosemite on the day they reopened, but I was underwhelmed by this hike. It was also pretty busy, which I did not expect. It's a good thing we were acclimated, because the first half-mile is a 20% grade, and you start at almost 10,000 feet. I can't help but compare to something like Young Lakes in Tuolumne (or Mount Dana), and I found this hike a little monotonous. It's pretty enough, but you're in a very target-rich environment in this area. Maybe do this if you've exhausted the hikes nearby (it's probably better in the morning or late afternoon as well).
Written August 19, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Doc I
Greenwood, IN288 contributions
Great birthday hike
Oct 2018 • Couples
It was a bit cool in October but still was a great hike. Beautiful lake and mountain views! Stay well hydrated and make note of the elevation. Make sure you go past the upper lake all the way up to the old mine and buildings associated with it.
Written December 9, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Jeremiah Z
Roseville, MN2,123 contributions
Hidden Gem in Yosemite
Jul 2018 • Solo
Probably one of the most neglected trails in Yosemite NP, in my opinion, is the hike into the Gaylor Lakes Basin. It has everything you'd ever want in a hike...a good workout, amazing scenery, some cross-country adventure and hours of solitude if you time it right.

The trailhead is located right next to the east entrance station to Yosemite along Tioga Road. The parking lot is not signed, so keep that in mind if you are trying to figure out where the trailhead is. The first 0.6 mi. is definitely a climb...you head up almost 600 ft. to the ridge above, but the views of the Dana Meadows valley below you are absolutely delightful the entire way.

Once you reach the ridgeline, Middle Gaylor Lake appears below you, and you only drop about 200 ft. down to the shoreline into the basin. Following the trail around the north side of the lake, you eventually head past Upper Gaylor Lake and eventually you climb up to the Great Sierra Mine, the designated end of the trail. The views of the lakes and basin from this spot are incredible. If you climb a short distance above the mine you'll get even more sweeping views not only of the Gaylor Lakes Basin, but Tioga Lake, Ellery Lake and Lee Vining Canyon down to the east. The total distance to the Great Sierra Mine from the parking lot is only around 1.7 mi. one way.

An option is to hike cross country to the Granite Lakes, which is quite easily accomplished. Both Upper and Lower Granite Lakes are gorgeous in their own right and worth the effort to reach them. To complete the hike, you'll need to hike cross country back across the basin meadows to Middle Gaylor Lake, back up to the main trail and back down to the parking lot.

This trail may not have the wow factor of places in Yosemite Valley, but if you want a true wilderness day hiking experience in the park w/ solitude, this is probably your best bet. One of my favorite moderate hikes I've ever done.
Written October 19, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Meshellydee
Tuolumne, CA73 contributions
There Are easier hikes On Tioga Pass!
Oct 2018 • Solo
This was a challenging 568' in half mile climb, yay for treking poles! While ii had its own interesting detail for 11000 Alpine lakes, save your energy for Cathedral Lakes, or out Lyell Canyon, or Panarama trail out Glacier Point Rd. I live close to the park so hitting trails i typically pass over is easy for ne, but if you only have so much time, save your legs!
Written October 5, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Kim B
Bonita, CA163 contributions
Beautiful Alpine Hike
Sep 2017 • Couples
I travel to Yosemite at least once to twice a year and have hiked and traveled by mule to many areas in the park. However, this was my first trip to Gaylor Lakes. The parking lot for the trailhead is just as you enter the easter gate off of the Tioga Pass. The first thing you have to remember is that you are hiking from about 10,500 ft to 11,000 ft. So if you haven't already acclimated to the higher altitude, this hike is going to be slow and steady as you try to breath at that altitude. Be careful of altitude headaches. You may want to take some aspirin or ibuprofen before you leave. The first half mile of the trail is a killer for us old folks. It's straight up, but if you go slow and stop frequently to "take pictures" (get your breath,) you'll be treated to some incredible views all around you. Once you hit the summit and start to go downhill, you're treated to a gorgeous alpine valley with a medium sized lake and views of the tops of other mountains. I know someone said that there are better hikes, and I would agree, but this hike has some incredible geography, very few hikers, and is breathtaking in its own way. After you summit, you are past the tree-line and there are no trees along your path down by the lake itself, giving you a good idea of what an alpine meadow looks like. We also hiked up to the next, small lake, and it was delightful too. If you have already hiked the trail to Glen Aulin and the trails up by Glacier Point, then I'd definitely recommend this hike. Just make sure you take it slow and easy up the mountain!
Written November 8, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

dilly4j
huntington beach132 contributions
There are better hikes
Oct 2017 • Family
My family and i did this hike. It is on the eastern side of Yosemite up near the Tioga Pass Station.

This hike starts at around 9,000 feet. You then hike pretty much straight up for 45 minutes. We were having a tough time getting up to the top and we are in relatively good shape.

After you reach the top, the trail then heads down to ward the lake. We were in no mood to head straight down after the initial hike up. There were other hikers that did the same as us on that day. The scenery on the initial hike up is nothing that great. We wished we had chosen a different hike.
Written October 10, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

M T
Streamwood76 contributions
did the mile to lake
Sep 2017 • Family
awesome views near tioga pass station. prepare for diff temps on far side of hill. short, bit up and down. glad we did it.
Written September 14, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

timdiaz3
Dallas, TX2 contributions
Quite and beautiful!
Jul 2017 • Friends
My brother and I did a hike to this amazing lake for fly fishing, and we were impressed by its beauty and the lack of people that were there. You must visit this hidden gem!
Written August 22, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

cherylsm2017
Frederick, MD58 contributions
Ice on the Lake in July
Jul 2017 • Friends
This lake was beautiful and still frozen on July 5th! Driving on the Tioga Pass you have to stop at this lake and just admire the view. Perfect picture spot.
Written July 22, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Pamela T
Melbourne, Australia72 contributions
Absolutely breath taking
Jun 2016
The lake was just beautiful partly iced over . We visited yosemite twice it was just beautiful with melting ice & signs of spring growth
Written November 1, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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