Distance: 13 miles (21 km) round trip to Ten Lakes area; 12 miles (19 km) round trip to the first Grant Lake
Trailhead Elevation: 7,520 feet (2,290 meters)
Peak Elevation: 9,640 feet (2,940 meters)
Trailhead-to-Peak Elevation Gain: 2,120 feet (645 meters)
Total Elevation Gain: 2,700 feet (820 meters)
Why hike the Ten Lakes trail? What, ten lakes aren't enough for you?
Best Time to Visit:
Crowd Factor: This trail is popular with backpackers, and understandably so, since it's a pretty area that's hard to cover in a single day hike. Ten lakes, you know. Still, "popular" has a far different meaning here than it does in Yosemite Valley: it means passing other hikers a few times an hour and perhaps finding one or two people already at a lake when you arrive.
Difficulty: This hike edges into the strenuous category, largely due to its length. The trail climbs steadily but not steeply for the first four-point-something miles to a point where it skirts the western side of a pretty meadow. Then it begins a short but steep climb, complete with switchbacks, up to the plateau where, at the five mile mark, the trail forks into Ten Lakes and Grant Lake editions. From here, you'll cross the plateau and then descend to whichever lakes you choose. The descent into the Ten Lakes area is steep and rocky.
Parking: Parking lots on either side of the road at the trailhead, holding perhaps thirty cars in all. Both lots can fill up, though, probably due to those backpackers abandoning their cars here for days at a time. There's additional parking at a picnic area just around the corner.
Nearest Bathrooms: Pit toilets at the trailhead.
Nearest Snacks: A tiny general store occupies one corner of the main building at White Wolf, 5 miles west and a mile north. There's a larger shop and gas station at Crane Flat, 20 miles west, and another at Tuolumne Meadows, 18 miles east. None of these keep late hours. If you plan to get back after dark and think you'll be craving a snack, best to buy it ahead of time and stash it in one of the food-storage lockers. (If you leave it in your car, it's likely to become a bear snack.)
Food-Storage Lockers: Several at the trailhead parking area
Getting There: 20 miles (32 km) east of Crane Flat (the Tioga Road's western terminus); 5.1 miles (8 km) east of the White Wolf turnoff; 25 miles (40 km) west of Tioga Pass (Yosemite's eastern entrance).
Are there really ten lakes?
Trail Notes & Hazards: try to get back before dark -- mosquitoes -- several stream crossings -- if hiking Grant Lake, try diverting quarter mile for the northern-peaks-view, plus the one-lake view --
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