One of the more popular hikes in the Yosemite Valley. The Mirror Lake Trail is a 1 mile paved road (closed to all but authorized vehicles) that parallels Tanaya Creek until it reaches Mirror Lake, a small but serene body of water that reflects the surrounding mountains from directly below Half Dome. The "lake", which is nothing more than a slow-flowing pool in Tenaya Creek, is separated by a small "fall", creating an upper and lower pool. Both are extremely popular swimming holes when the weather is warm, and finding solitude here in warm weather is rare.
There are numerous interpretive displays explaining the history of the area, how the lake was formed, etc.
Most tourists will visit the lake and head back, but there's another option for the more adventurous: The Mirror Lake Loop Trail. Continuing beyond the lake on the north side of the valley, the Mirror Lake Trail continues to the junction of the Snow Creek Trail (which ascends quickly up toward Tuolumne Meadows), before crossing Tenaya Creek and heading back downstream on the south side of the valley. Until 2009, this provided a pleasant 5-mile loop, but a rockfall closed the trail and it has yet to be re-opened. The rest of the trail exists however, and a little bit of exploration along the banks of Tenaya Creek make this a fun trip.
The difficulty and route-finding ratings above refer only to the basic 1 mile trip to the Mirror Lake. If you choose to explore the loop option, you will be making your own trail due to the huge rockfall. Don't attempt the "loop" unless you are comfortable with off-trail hiking. - May 31 2012 chumleyOne-Way Notice:
This hike is listed as One-Way. When you hike several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example