Mirror Lake

Low water levels in Mirror Lake with people wading into water
Mirror Lake during a warmer time of year when water levels are low.

Quick Facts

Bicycle - Rack, Historical/Interpretive Information/Exhibits, Recycling, Restroom, Scenic View/Photo Spot, Trash/Litter Receptacles

Mirror Lake is famous for its reflections of Half Dome and Mount Watkins and is one of the few lakes that are easily accessible in Yosemite National Park.

Mirror Lake is a seasonal lake on Tenaya Creek, in the shadow of Half Dome. Wayside exhibits explain the natural and cultural features of the area.

Mirror Lake is in a state of transition. Sand carried by Tenaya Creek collects here, and will eventually form a meadow. Even now, the shallow lake disappears into the sand in late summer, transforming into "Mirror Meadow." Exhibits along the trail tell the story of this transformation, and highlight some of the cultural history of the area.


24 hours

Getting Here

Located in Yosemite Valley, along the Happy Isles loop, via a one mile paved service road, beginning at shuttle stop #17. Private vehicles are not permitted along the Happy Isles Loop unless displaying a disability placard.

Rules & Regulations

  • Leashed pets, bicycles, and strollers are allowed on the first paved mile of the trail. Beyond that, they are prohibited.
  • Keep your food within arm's reach at all times and do not feed the wildlife.
  • Carry out all trash and food waste (fruit peels, shells, etc.).
  • Mirror Lake is considered a stream and is only open to fishing during stream fishing season. The season for stream and river fishing begins the last Saturday in April and continues through November 15. People 16 or older should have a valid California fishing license. See website for more fishing regulations.

Hazards & Warnings

  • During spring and early summer, when water levels are highest, always remember when approaching moving water to look at the conditions downstream. Waters in this area may appear ankle deep at first, but can quickly become thigh deep, and, all too often, hikers are swept into dangerous whitewater and pinned against rocks.
  • Learn more about past experiences visitors had with swift water in this area of the park.


Vehicles with a disability placard are permitted to drive at 15 mph, with emergency flashers on, to Mirror Lake. There are two designated accessible parking spaces available.

Yosemite National Park

Last updated: May 23, 2022