Submitted By: Pete Devine, Resident Naturalist
Get Started Begin at Mirror Lake Trailhead (shuttle stop #17). From the shuttle stop, a paved trail leads directly to Mirror Lake. From the campgrounds and lodging areas follow the signs and head to the left of Half Dome and the right of Washington’s Column, up into the gap that is Tenaya Canyon. You can walk on the road all the way or take a trail on either the north or south sides of the road and creek. Be Prepared Daily weather can vary a lot during the winter, but you should be prepared for cold, shady conditions, with snowy or icy footing. Take your time and make an expedition of it, with some lunch and a thermos of soup or a hot drink.
Sights & Sounds
Beyond the lake, you can walk another mile of mostly flat trail on the north side of Tenaya Creek for even deeper solitude. Look for a sunny spot to sit for a while and you may get to watch snow slide off the face of Half Dome right overhead. Though mostly quiet, you will hear the occasional sounds of the Steller’s jay, a bird native to Yosemite with a distinctive call. If you’re in the Valley right after a snowfall, the walk to Mirror Lake is a real journey into another world, a different Yosemite done in white and gray and silence.