Timeless Mirror Lake

Things to Do — By petedevine on February 28, 2012 at 2:18 am

Mirror Lake is a popular, easy destination for Yosemite visitors any month of the year.  Decades ago a wagon road brought tourists up to a boathouse and saloon on the shore of this small pool on Tenaya Creek.  A newer paved road then brought cars up to a parking lot; now it’s bikes and pedestrians only. 

MIrror Lake

You can get to Mirror Lake with a walk of about a mile from the Mirror Lake shuttle bus stop.  That walk is on the paved road, and is only uphill for the last half of the way.  The Valley’s bike trails connect to the Mirror Lake road.  Rental bikes are not allowed up the hill (there are bike racks at the foot of the grade), but if you do ride your own bike up there, be careful on your descent; it’s easy to get going too fast and there are a lot of people on foot that may be in the way. 

Vehicles with a handicapped placard (available at the Visitor Center) can drive up to the edge of the lake from near the stables.  There’s a vault toilet by the lake, but no other services.  In winter, ice and snow coat this shady spot.  In spring Tenaya Creek widens and the lake fills, giving a nice reflection of Tenaya Canyon and Mt. Watkins.  As summer goes along, the creek shrinks and by August or September there may be no water whatsoever.
Some people are dismayed to find a dry beach with no lake, but this is the normal course of events, with our seasonal precipitation and with the gradual sedimentation of the lake with sand deposits. 
See Mirror Lake whenever it is that you come to Yosemite; you’ll witness the natural flux of the elements.
Reminder: Yosemite Valley will not be accessible via Hwy. 120 from March 1 to mid-April.  Call the NPS road conditions line for updates: 209/379-0200.