I was so glad that we were able to visit Yosemite in the spring and see Mirror Lake. It's not a very deep lake, so by summer, it has usually dried up and is more like Mirror Meadow.
There's a paved walking path to the lake, about half a mile each way, that's not strenuous. The Yosemite shuttle will drop you at the foot of the path: Shuttle Stop 17.
Not all hikes in Yosemite are tough physical challenges. There are some nice flat walks in the Valley that are appropriate for anyone. One very nice walk is to Mirror Lake. The one-mile trail to the lake is paved and wheel-chair accessible but the five-mile loop around the lake is not. If the lake is calm, you can get some nice reflection shots. While the whole lake was not flat when we were there we did find a few shallow spots that were quire reflective. This is also a great place to spot wildlife especially early evening and we saw a beautiful deer with a fine set of antlers.
Well, if you are visiting during fall season and want to know how it feels to take a walk on a dry lake surrounded on the four corners of an high high high horizon just have a trip to Mirror lake. A sense of neverending peace and majesty will take possess of you... I could have rested there for hours!
Mirror Lake easily lives up to its name, its calm waters reflecting giant Mt. Watkins and Clouds Rest. The easy, paved two-mile round trip trail is very popular, but the scenery is good, so that makes up for the crowds. From Shuttle Bus stop 17, the trail sets out and soon parallels rushing Tenaya Creek; later it crosses the creek and then reaches the Lower Pool, a small pool of water downstream from Mirror Lake. From here, turn east and look straight up; Half Dome's sheer face rises 4800 feet above you. Then walk the final short bit to Mirror Lake itself, which has a wonderful view. Expect to meet a lot of bicycles. Come in the early morning, when not only the crowds are thin, but when the absence of sunlight makes the lake even more reflective.
It's easy to see how this lake got it's name. There's one photo that I took in which the reflection in the lake is so clear I had to puzzle over it to figure out which way up to put it in my photo album!
We came early in the morning, which was nice as it wasn't too crowded. The 2 mile return walk is nice and easy, and I believe there's also disabled access. The only thing to ruin it for us were the mosquitos who chewed on us incessantly - you've been warned, bring repellant!!!
As with most alpine lakes, Mirror Lake is rapidly becoming Mirror Meadow. This is as a result of the silting up of the lake, caused by the annual spring run off.
In the Spring, when water levels are higher, you can see Half Dome reflected in the surface - great photo-op.
Mirror Lake, empty when we visited on 12 September 2009. In close proximity to Mt. Watkins, Ahwiyah Point and the well-known Half Dome.