The Ten Lakes are a series of alpine glacial run-off lakes in the Yosemite National Park high country between Tioga Road and the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne River (Hetch Hetchy Valley). The lakes are sprinkled around a roughly bowl-shaped basin and feed into each other before draining into the Tuolumne River and Hetch Hetchy Reservoir.
Wilderness permits are required to overnight in this region. The Ten Lakes Basin can be accessed from White Wolf Campground or the Lukens Lake, Ten Lakes or May Lake trailheads, with one-way hikes of 9.2, 9.0, 6.1 and 14.6 miles, respectively. The Lukens Lake Trail is forested for most of the hike, while the Ten Lakes trail passes over significant stretches of open Yosemite high country granite with sweeping views. With the exception of the May Lake route, all trails climb to 9,960-foot Ten Lakes Pass before descending to the lakes, which are situated between about 9,000 and 9,500 feet of elevation. Hikers willing to make a short excursion northwest of the pass are rewarded with a stunning vista point overlooking the lakes basin and the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne River.
The lakes offer superb camping. Numerous campsites have the perfect combination of views, shelter and access to the water, and the lakes themselves are full of naive alpine trout that see limited fishing pressure. Backpackers willing to navigate away from the trail to the less-frequented lakes will find greater solitude and may even have one of these gems to themselves. Campfires are frequently permitted in the Ten Lakes backcountry, but be sure to check the park's current fire restrictions before your visit.