Mirror Lake in Yosemite: Winter and Summer

Mirror Lake is an iconic hike in Yosemite that has been a go-to for tourists and photographers for decades. This is mainly due to how accessible it is year round and how easy the hike is compared to harder hikes in the valley like the Mist Trail. I was able to visit this area in the summer and the winter so I have included photos of both in this post. Here is all the information.


  • 2 miles
  • 100 feet of elevation
  • No parking, must take the shuttle


Mirror Lake is a busy hike in the summer as there are so many more people in the park than in the winter. We saw about 50 people on our trip in the summer, but the colors and stream make it a lovely walk.

Mirror Lake Summer 10


A much more peaceful walk as the ground is covered in the snow and a lot fewer people are visiting. We only saw about 15 people on our hike in the winter. I loved that it was less busy because it was a more relaxing experience.

Mirror Lake Winter 11

The first stop for most people is at the bridge. The bridge crosses the slowly meandering stream and provides an excellent vista of both the stream and Half Dome, if you go off to the side of the bridge. Here are some pictures from summer and winter.

Mirror Lake Winter 10

Mirror Lake Summer 15

The Trail

The trail is a glorified road with a wide lane for people to walk on. In the summer you will always see a bunch of bikers riding up and down the trail as well, not as much during the winter. The path is impressive during the winter as the trees are dusted with snow, and the water and granite face provide a beautiful set of colors.

Mirror Lake Summer 4

Mirror Lake Winter 9

During the summer the trail was much drier, and the water levels were low. It was still lovely but not as pristine as during the snow and winter.

Lower Pool

I love this part of the trail as it is a beautiful area to just relax at. It has a bathroom for families and a beautiful view of Half Dome. During the summer months, kids were climbing the rocks that make up the pool during the spring and winter.

Mirror Lake Summer 13

Mirror Lake Winter 4

Mirror Lake

While this area hasn’t been a real lake for years, it still is a beautiful spot. If the water is high enough, you can get a good picture of Half Dome reflected in the water of mirror lake. When I was here, there was not enough water to get a real reflection, but it still provided a ton of excellent picture opportunities.

Mirror Lake Summer 8

Mirror Lake Winter 6

There is this view looking north from the pond area as well.

Mirror Lake Summer 9

Mirror Lake Winter 1

Here are some other good pictures from summer and winter.

Mirror Lake Summer 11

Mirror Lake Winter 7

In the summer they had a bear trap out to catch a bear that had been wandering to close to people.

Mirror Lake Summer

In the winter they had beautiful trees covered in snow. Both are great times to visit Yosemite Valley and to explore the Mirror Trail.

Mirror Lake Winter 5

Which way do you prefer Mirror Lake? In the Winter or the Spring? Let me know in the comments.

Center map

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