May Lake Trailhead

A mountain peak and puffy clouds reflect in a calm, glassy lake.

Quick Facts

Animal-Safe Food Storage, Recycling, Restroom, Trailhead, Trash/Litter Receptacles

Spend a day, or a night, at this stunning alpine lake that reflects a picturesque view of Mt. Hoffmann.

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.

If the dirt road is closed, the trailhead will require an additional 2 mile hike uproad, one way.

May Lake (moderate)
2.4 mi (3.9 km) round-trip; 1-2 hours
485 ft (150 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 November.

Getting Here:
Begin at the May Lake parking area, 1.75 miles (2.8 km) north of Tioga Road.

Rules & Regulations:
Stay on established trails
Pets are not allowed on hiking trails
Pack out what you pack in
Overnight backpackers need a wilderness permit, which can be obtained at the Big Oak Flat Information Station.
Bear canisters are required for wilderness food storage for overnight hikers.
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.
No oversized vehicles on road to parking area.
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:
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.

Yosemite National Park

Last updated: April 5, 2024