NileGuide Expert tip:
Cool water for most of the summer.
Along the Tioga Road, between Olmsted Point and Tuolumne Meadows, travelers are uniformly affected by the beauty of Tenaya Lake and its granite basin. One of Yosemite's largest lakes, named for the last of Yosemite's Indian leaders, this lake has hiking trails, a great beach, rockclimbing, picnicking and fine views.
Frozen over in the winter, when Tioga Road is closed to cars (but open to backcountry skiers), the lake is chilly until late summer when the snowmelt has warmed to swim-able conditions.
There are toilets in the main parking lot, but no other services here. Mosquitoes can be an issue in the lodgepole pines as you walk from the parking area, but an on-shore breeze usually keeps them off the beach. This beach is at 8100' so use strong sun protection. If you're not a climber, you can watch those who are, making their way up the adjacent Stately Pleasure Dome.