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May Lake Trail Hike

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite + Central Sierra, California

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May Lake Trail Hike

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  • The trail to May Lake.- May Lake Trail Hike
  • One of the switchbacks on the May Lake Trail.- May Lake Trail Hike
  • View of Halfdome from the May Lake Trail.- May Lake Trail Hike
  • View of Mount Hoffmann over May Lake.- May Lake Trail Hike
  • View of Mount Hoffmann over May Lake.- May Lake Trail Hike
  • May Lake in Yosemite National Park.- May Lake Trail Hike
  • Twilight view of May Lake.- May Lake Trail Hike
  • May Lake in Yosemite National Park.- May Lake Trail Hike
  • May Lake in Yosemite National Park.- May Lake Trail Hike
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Beautiful views. Solitude. Campsite at the end of the trail.
Cons: 
Chilly in winter. Strenuous hike.
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Region:
Yosemite + Central Sierra, CA
Congestion: 
Low
Pets allowed: 
No
Net Elevation Gain: 
500.00 ft (152.40 m)
Parking Pass: 
National Park Pass
Preferable Season(s):
Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
2.40 mi (3.86 km)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
8,800.00 ft (2,682.24 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

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The hike up to May Lake in Yosemite National Park is very short, but be prepared for some climbing. The elevation gain is about 500 feet over the course of a little over a mile. Along the way are several viewpoints that capture the grandeur of Yosemite, including magnificent views over Tenaya Canyon with Half Dome among the granite peaks and alpine forests. The trail ends at the southeastern shore of a sparkling blue May Lake, which sits at the base of Mount Hoffman. Along the shore you'll find a backpackers campsite in addition to the May Lake High Sierra Camp.

Trees that have had their bark stripped off area a sure sign that bears are active in the area; bears do this to eat the sapwood and insects in fallen trees. Other animals you may see include Steller jays, western gray squirrels, mule deer, and the elusive bighorn sheep. The trail provides ample shade throughout the hike. Dense groves of incense cedar, Douglas fir, ponderosa, and many other types of trees grow in the area around May Lake. In late spring and summer, the trail is dotted with wildflowers such as the black-eyed Susan, bull thistle, lupine, and goldenrod.

Note that Tioga Road leading to trailhead usually opens from late spring to late fall. Be sure to check the road status before going on your trip.

Updates, Tips + Comments

Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide + Trail Map

Field Guide + Trail Map

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(10 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(70 within a 30 mile radius)

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