Mirror Lake in Yosemite: Winter and Summer

This iconic hike in Yosemite has been a go to for tourists and photographers for decades. This is largely due to how accessible it is year around and how easy the hike is compared to harder accessible hikes like the mist trail. I was able to visit this area in the summer and the winter so I have included both in this post.


A hugely busy hike as there is so many more people then in the winter and this hike is a lot easier. We saw about 50 people on our trip in the summer but the colors and stream make it a totally beautiful walk.

Mirror Lake Summer 10


A much more peaceful walk as the ground is covered in the snow and a lot less people are visiting. We only saw about 25 people on our hike in the winter. I loved this because you got to expeirence something so beautiful with so many less people.

Mirror Lake Winter 11

The first stop that everyone does is the bridge. The bridge crosses the slowly meandering stream and provides a great 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 itself 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 tail as well, not as much during the winter. The trail is amazing during the winter as the trees are dusted in 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 more dry and the water levels were low. It was still nice but not as pristine as during the snow and winter. Here are some pictures

Lower Pool

I love this part of the trail as it is a beautiful area to just relax at. It has a batheroom 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 during the winter, snow and water created the pool.

Mirror Lake Summer 13

Mirror Lake Winter 4

Mirror Lake

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

Mirror Lake Summer 8

Mirror Lake Winter 6

There is this view 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.

Mirror Lake Winter 5

Photo Gallery


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

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  • This is beautiful. No wonder it is such a great tourists attraction.

    • Thanks for the comment! Yosemite is a pretty amazing place to visit.

  • Ben Walnick

    How were the trails in the winter? Did you need anything other than hiking boots?

    • When we were there last year it was fine to do with just hiking boots, I imagine it would depend on the snowfall when you go though.

  • Ginelle Salas

    I am planning a trip sometime between now and mid Feb. (I am in the bay area so close enough for a quick trip). Your blog is my favorite i have come across and am taking notes! How long would you say this took you and how far is the trail? Beautiful photos btw

    • Thanks for the comment! This is a pretty short trail I would say it only takes an hour or so, depending on how long you want to stay of course. Luckily there are a lot of awesome places in Yosemite in the winter!

  • javier gasulla

    Great post! I hope to visit yosemite this June with my wife and my 5 years old kid. Do you think that this trail will be very difficult for him?

    • I would think that trail should be fine for a 5 year old. It is not too long and mostly flat the entire time.