Day Hikes in White Wolf
The Tioga Road, which provides the only access by car to these hikes, usually opens around late May or early June, depending on conditions. Once the road opens, trails can remain wet and/or snowy for a few to several weeks. The Tioga Road usually closes sometime in November.
Lukens Lake from Tioga Road (easy)
1.6 miles/2.6 km round-trip. 1 to 2 hours; 200 foot/60 m elevation gain.
Begin at Lukens Lake Trailhead on Tioga Road 2 miles east of White Wolf Road
The trail winds through a mixed conifer forest, then over a saddle and down to a small mountain lake surrounded by a meadow. Shooting stars and dozens of other species of wildflowers abound, often through July. Please stay on designated trails to protect the meadow. The trail is wet and muddy until early August.
Lukens Lake from White Wolf (moderate)
4.6 mi/7.5 km round-trip. 400 ft/120 m elevation gain; 2-3 hours.
Begin across from White Wolf Lodge
Follow the trail through a mixed conifer forest to Lukens Lake, a small mountain lake surrounded by a meadow. The trail crosses the Middle Fork of the Tuolumne River and is wet and muddy until early August. At the lake, shooting stars and dozens of other species of wildflowers abound, often through July. Please
Harden Lake (moderate)
5.8 mi/9.3 km round-trip. 355 ft/110 m elevation gain on the return trip; 2-4 hours.
Begin across from White Wolf Lodge
Hike along a gravel road—part of the original Tioga Road—that follows the Middle Fork of the Tuolumne River for part of the route. At a trail junction 1.75 miles (2.8 km) down the road, follow the signs to the lake. The trail passes by small granite domes and through a forest of red fir and lodgepole pine to reach boulder-dotted Harden Lake.
Optional loop to the edge of the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne River. 8.4 miles (13.5 km) loop. 1,000-foot (305-m) elevation gain on the return trip. 5-8 hours.
Beyond Harden Lake, descend into a large aspen grove full of seasonal flowers, which can be wet and muddy until early August. At the next trail junction, 1.3 miles (2 km) from Harden Lake, turn south towards Lukens Lake and continue towards the White Wolf junction for 2.7 miles (4.3 km). Follow the trail 0.8 miles (1.3 km) back to White Wolf Lodge.
2.4 mi/3.9 km round-trip. 485 ft/150 m elevation gain; 1-2 hours.
Begin at the May Lake parking area, 1.75 miles (2.8 km) north of Tioga Road
A short trail leads through a conifer forest and across granite slabs to reach May Lake. Enjoy views of Half Dome and surrounding mountains on the way.
North Dome (strenuous)
10.4 mi/16.7 km round-trip. 580 ft/180 m elevation gain on return trip; 5-8 hours.
Begin at Porcupine Creek Trailhead on Tioga Road, 1.2 miles (1.9 km) east of Porcupine Flat Campground
Wind through mixed-conifer forest for 0.7 miles (1 km) on a paved path, and cross Porcupine Creek. At each of several trail junctions, follow the signs toward North Dome. The trail passes through a small grassy meadow and descends along a ridge. Near the end of the hike, descend steep rock steps to the base of North Dome. Climb the dome’s rounded summit to take in a magnificent view of Half Dome and Yosemite Valley. On the return trip you can take a short detour on a side trail, 0.3 mile (0.5 km) to an unusual natural arch, Indian Rock.
Ten Lakes (strenuous)
12.6 mi/20.3 km round-trip. 2,200 ft/671 m elevation gain; 6-8 hours
Begin at Ten Lakes Trailhead, across Tioga Road from Yosemite Creek Picnic Area
Follow this trail through conifers and across granite to cross a tributary of Yosemite Creek. Take care on this crossing early in the season when the creek is high. Continue on the trail to Ten Lakes Pass, overlooking the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne and the Sierra Crest. Then descend 693 feet (211 m) into the Ten Lakes Basin, which contains a series of beautiful High Sierra lakes. Grant Lakes is at the end of a 1-mile (1.6-km) side trail from the pass.
Did You Know?
Rockfall events have helped shape many of the outstanding features along Yosemite Valley's walls, including Royal Arches, North Dome, and Half Dome. Giant talus slopes that slant away from the Valley walls accumulate debris with each rockfall event.