Last updated: April 16, 2021
Let the overwhelming views of Tuolumne Meadows' peaks and meadows compete for your attention as you venture into Lyell Canyon via the John Muir Trail.
Begin across the road from Dog Lake parking area. This trail passes through Lyell Canyon, along the Lyell Fork of the Tuolumne River. Early in the season, the trail can be muddy in places. There are several creek crossings, including Rafferty Creek (bridged) and Ireland Creek (unbridged). Spectacular Kuna Creek cascades down the side of the east canyon wall near the eight-mile mark. For a shorter trip, walk 1/2 hour each way to the Lyell Fork and "Twin Bridges."
John Muir Trail
Tuolumne Pass, Vogelsang High Sierra Camp, Donohue Pass, Merced Lake, and Yosemite Valley are all destinations beginning from this trailhead.
A Donohue Pass exit quota is in effect for John Muir Trail hikers exiting Yosemite over Donohue Pass. You can apply for this on your wilderness permit application. (This does not apply if you're hiking the John Muir Trail only within Yosemite.)
Lyell Canyon (easy)
8 miles (12.8 km) one-way; 4 hours
200 ft (61 m) elevation gain
For hiking and trail information, please visit a Wilderness Center or Visitor Center.
Accessible only while Tioga Road is open to vehicles, from late May or early June to sometime in October or November.
Getting Here :
Begin across the street from the Dog Lake parking area, just west of Tuolumne Meadows Lodge.
Rules & Regulations :
- Stay on established trails
- Pets are not allowed on hiking trails
- Pack out what you pack in
- Bears and other wildlife can be present on trails at any time of the day or night. Feeding and approaching wildlife is dangerous and illegal! Be sure to properly store your food.
- Tioga Road closes after the first significant snowfall. Overnight parking on this road ends October 15. For current road and weather information, please call 209/372-0200.
Hazards & Warnings :
- Stay off domes during thunderstorms!
- Carry (and drink) plenty of water: a leading cause of injuries on the trail is dehydration. Be sure to treat river, stream, lake, or spring water.
- Always carry a map and compass, and know how to use them, and wear sturdy footwear with good traction.
- Be prepared for sudden changes in weather and conditions.
This trail is not accessible.