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Hiking & Walking: California > Yosemite National Park

Quick Facts

Snow Creek Canyon Trail

Beginning Elevation: 8,900 Feet (2774.3 Meters) May Lake Trailhead
Difficulty: Difficult
Elevation Gain, One-way: 4,700 Feet (1465.1 Meters) Elevation loss if hiked from north to south
Ending Elevation: 4,100 Feet (1278.1 Meters) Mirror Lake
Length, One-way: 10.5 Miles (17.5 Kilometers)
Recommended Season: Early Fall
Usage: Light

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Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

This trail leads from May Lake, west of Tuolumne Meadows, to Mirror Meadow, in the Yosemite Valley. The total mileage of this trip is ten and a half miles with and elevation loss of approximately 4,700 feet. For most of the route the trail roughly follows Snow Creek to Tenaya Creek.

Begin this trek at the May Lake Trailhead. Cross the May Lake access road and begin hiking south from the camp toward Tioga Road. The trail turns westward immediately then southward, paralleling the access road for three quarters of a mile. The trail stays west of a small ridge as it leaves the May Lake access road heading toward Tioga Road.

Approximately one and a half miles from the trailhead this route crosses Tioga Road. Beyond the road you'll gain some elevation to reach the summit of a small ridge. The trail follows the ridge for a quarter mile then turns westward and begins to descent via switchbacks. The route then turns southward for a quarter mile, meeting a trail from Tenaya Lake before descending into Snow Creek Canyon.

Beyond the trail junction the trail crosses a small stream then switchbacks along it and into the canyon. Follow the trail southward along the eastern bank of Snow Creek for one mile beyond the switchbacks. At this point the trail meets the route leading north from Tenaya Creek.

At this junction follow the trail leading to the left. (The trail to the right leads around Indian Rock and to North Dome.) Our trail follows Snow Creek closely for a short distance the bears westward away from the stream. A long series of switchbacks begin after leaving the banks of Snow Creek. Basket Dome lies immediately west of this set of switchbacks.

Approximately one and a half miles from the beginning of the switchbacks the trail reaches Mirror Meadow. At a trail junction turn right and walk along Tenaya Creek one mile to the Mirror Lake parking area. Hopefully you have a shuttle car waiting for you there.

Directions from Arch Rock Entrance: Follow Highway 140 northward to Big Oak Flat Road. Turn left on to Big Oak Flat Road and follow it 9.5 miles to Tioga Road. Turn right on Tioga Road and follow it 26.5 miles to May Lake Road. Turn left on May Lake Road and follow it two miles to the trailhead.

Directions from Yosemite Village Shuttle: Disembark from the shuttle at stop 17. Follow the paved trail to the disabled parking area near the lakes. The end of the Snow Creek Canyon Trail is in this parking area.

Seasonal Information:
Normally Open: July through Mid-October (NOTE: Opening and closing dates may vary depending on snowpack.) .

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Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Trailhead Parking Snow Creek Canyon Trail - May Lake Trailhead
ICON Fishing Snow Creek Canyon Trail
ICON Hiking & Walking Snow Creek Canyon Trail
ICON Plant Identification Snow Creek Canyon Trail
ICON Wildflower Identification Snow Creek Canyon Trail
ICON Viewing Scenery Snow Creek Canyon Trail

Related Activities
Tioga Road - This paved highway, maintained from June through November, leads 45 miles through the northern portion of Yosemite National Park.

More Information

Visitor Information:

Yosemite National Park, P.O. Box 577 , Yosemite, CA, 95389, Phone: 209-372-0200, Fax: 209-372-0220, TTY: 209-372-4726


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