Heart-pounding views and hike
Teri · Turlock · November 10, 2013
Great fun. Snowy ground in some places, totally dry in others! Flatlanders are warned to not approach this lightly, as hiking at 10,000 feet causes shortness of breath just opening the car door! It took pacing (read "we stopped a lot to catch our breath"), which gave us ample time to take in the clear blue sky and wonderful mountains surrounding us. The beginning of the hike is pretty much straight up the mountainside, an ascent of 600 feet that felt like a lot more. We found trekking poles very helpful. We did not have time to hike around the lake; it is isolated and we enjoyed the breeze at the ridge top singing in the trees. We were glad for being ready to enjoy the sun and freeze at the same time. Hiked on 11-9-13.
Carol and Chris · New Hampshire · August 16, 2013
My son and I hiked 30 miles in three days. This was by far our favorite hike. A little steep in the beginning for people who live at sea level but once we reached the top the beauty that surrounded us was amazing. We continued to the old abandoned mine. My 10 year old son's imagination ran wild! We were the only people up there on an August afternoon. Total solitude in a park filled with thousands! This is a great hike!
great short hike
joe · san diego, CA · July 7, 2013
The first portion of the hike is quite strenuous due to the higher elevation and steep ascent. Still, once you get to the top of the hill the downward hike to the middle gaylor lake is easy. The middle gaylor lake is very beautiful with reflections of the mountains off of the lake. Clear blue water with small trout feeding as you walk along the trail. The hike up to the upper gaylor lake is fun and easy with a stream along the path. The upper gaylor lake is not as picturesque, but still worthwhile. Beware of mosquitoes at the upper lake. Don't miss this hike if you are in this area during your visit.
A taste of the high country
Peter Sarafan · Massachusetts · July 4, 2013
This hike is a great change of pace from those of the valley. Very different but beautiful high country scenery. Almost no people. Cool, clear air. Go slowly as it takes alot more effort at high altitude, the trail running between 9500 and 10,000 ft. When you arrive at the lower lake, walk along the right hand shore line and take the trail going up to the right at the far corner of the lake. This will take you to the second lake. Now walk along the left hand shore and follow the trail to the far side of the lake where it bends to the left, goes slightly uphill and leads to the ruins of an old mine. Very neat. You can do a couple of other short hikes in the high country making the drive from the valley well worth while.
Won’t forget that sapphire-blue water
Robert & Susan Dunn · Little Rock, Arkansas · September 27, 2012
This turned out to be one of our favorite hikes in Yosemite, perhaps because our expectations weren’t so high. The initial segment of the trail is pretty strenuous – particularly considering that you’re climbing from 10,000 feet to more than 11,000 feet in elevation! Wife and I agreed that there was no shame in stopping FREQUENTLY to catch our breath.
The views – in both directions – from the top of the ridge are pretty impressive. The downhill section after you crest the ridge is a welcome break, but remember you’ll have to climb UP it on the way back!
Middle Gaylor Lake is quite picturesque, especially with the various snow-covered mountains (both nearby and far in the distance). The walk from Middle Gaylor Lake to Upper Gaylor Lake is great fun, a gentle climb with a gurgling stream right beside you. In fact, at one point the stream is on BOTH sides of the trail!
Weather was cool and windy (especially near the lake), but my wife was a real trooper and didn’t complain even though she only had on a short-sleeve shirt. (At least she was wearing long pants!)
Upper Gaylor Lake is small but pretty; there were still several large patches of snow nearby (in mid-June). Consequently, we chose not to slog through the mushy ground in search of the Great Sierra Mine – maybe on our next trip to Yosemite! The final descent back to the trailhead requires attention and careful footing to avoid a fall that would ruin an otherwise lovely hike.
This hike will tire you out, but it’s definitely worth it – just take your time and pause often to catch your breath. Plenty of water and some energy snacks are (as always) a good idea. And because the trailhead is located at the parking lot just inside the Tioga Pass Entrance Station, the restroom facilities are somewhat nicer than the typical pit toilets, which is a welcome bonus.
Eric · Mobile, Alabama · June 11, 2012
This was the best half day hike of our vacation and a totally different Yosemite.
Great hike for off trail fun
Elizabeth · Fresno · October 23, 2011
I rarely venture off trail because of my limited navigational skills, but this trail was a good way to start. We wandered around for hours from one lake to another and had no problems finding our way back to the trail. It was also very beautiful. It was worth the time to go up to the Great Sierra Mine, although I wouldn't do it if there was a lot of snow because of the gaping mine shafts. Mt. Dana is ever present and I've set my sites on that next.
Simply the best
Shelley · Los Angeles · August 29, 2011
Did this about a week ago, in late August and I still have my head in the scenery. Since the snows only melted a month earlier, the hiking was as if in early Spring. Alpine wildflowers everywhere, with Gaylor Lake filled to the brim. What makes this so stunning is the sight of the Cathedral Range of Tuolome rising above the wide, boulder strewn basin. The peaks of those mountains are like sharp meringue whips. Great for off trail wandering (watch the wildflowers). We also got to walk on snow and meander past a rushing stream - green as it gets at 10,000 feet. One of my favorite places now. Don't miss it. Except for the first 1/2 or 3/4 mile slog up and over to Gaylor Basin, this is a pretty easygoing hike.
My first Hike
zilla · Merced CA · August 29, 2011
I recently lost over 100lbs and wanted to take my first hike after this accomplishment. I have been working out in the gym but never took a hike. I felt that it was very easy for a beginner and a great first hike for anyone.
Our Favorite Hike in Yosemite!
Doug and Kristina · Providence, RI · August 25, 2011
The Gaylor Lakes trail was our favorite hike in Yosemite! (We also hiked the Upper Yosemite falls and Four Mile trails.) The trail is spectacular, filled with beautiful views of glaciers and ice sheets, sparkling lakes, and wildflowers. The rocks scattered around the meadow are home to marmots, which sun themselves on a nice day. We felt like we had entered the Land Before Time! We heartily recommend this one, fully deserving of five stars.