Two for one!
Overview: Grant Lakes is a spur trail that leads to two lakes below Ten Lakes Pass. The trail begins 4.9 miles and 2000-feet up from the Ten Lakes trailhead via the Ten Lakes Trail. The Grant Lakes trail descends 350 feet in 1.25 miles to the first lake. Reaching the second lake is off-trail and climbs about 200-feet in half a mile along a beautiful cascading stream.
History: The origin of the name Grant Lakes is unknown, but is presumed to be for the General and President, Ulysses S. Grant. The name first appeared on the map in Josiah D. Whitney's Yosemite Guide Book in 1869.
Hike: The trail to Grant Lakes is marked and begins just south of Ten Lakes Pass. The first 0.3 miles traverses a flat meadow that can be marshy and wet early in the season, but typically dries out in late summer or autumn (depending on winter snowfall). After climbing a slight incline, the trail begins to descend steeply, dropping 300 feet in 0.3 miles before entering a lush green forested area and leveling out. Another half mile of hiking brings you through dry and sandy pine forest, while very gradually losing an additional 100 feet of elevation before reaching the first lake at 1.2 miles. This marks the end of the official trail.
A use trail continues around the west side of the lake and past a camp site on the north, before you ascend toward the east along the scenic cascade up about 200 feet to the second lake which sits in a granite-filled basin just below the ridge of the Hoffman Range to the north and east.
For trail hiking you must return the way you came, but the terrain here is suitable for off-trail options to your next destination if you choose.
Camping: Yosemite regulations require you to camp at least 100 feet from the lake shore, and 100 feet from a trail. If you wish to have a fire, you must use an existing fire ring. Bears are prevalent throughout Yosemite National Park, and the use of a bear-resistant canister for food (and all items with a scent) is required by federal law. These rules are explained when you get your permit, but it is worth noting here since this is a popular area.
There are two easily found existing camp sites at the lower of the Grant Lakes. I didn't see any at the upper lake, but I didn't do an exhaustive search. This map marks campsites I encountered in the Ten Lakes and Grant Lakes area.
Fun Fact: The largest waterfall in North America is Yosemite Falls (6th highest on Earth). One of the main tourist destinations in Yosemite Valley, the 2,425-foot falls are fed by Yosemite Creek. Though many other tributaries contribute water to the creek that eventually flows over the falls, the headwaters of Yosemite Creek can be found at the upper of the two Grant Lakes.
This hike is listed as One-Way.
When hiking 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.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.