A great day hike in Yosemite with little traffic, sounds almost like an oxymoron in today’s Yosemite National Park experience. Yet just inside the gates of Yosemite’s Tioga Pass entrance is a small trailhead leading to Three High Alpine Lakes with tremendous views.

The Gaylor Lakes is a short day hike that takes visitors over a short steep ridge back to a unique alpine meadow that connects three lakes that feed the Tuolumne Meadow.

Upper and Lower Gaylor Lake are located just over the ridge and along the trail up to the Great Sierra Mine Ruins. To the North of these lakes and a little off trail are the Granite Lakes which are not to be missed on this trip.

How to Hike Gaylor Lakes and Granite Lakes:

  • Parking for for these lakes and trail is just past the Tioga Pass East entrance of Yosemite National Park , Easy Overflow parking can be found just outside the park at the Pullout above Tioga Lake.
  • Hike first mile up over Gaylor Peak ridge – this like most Yosemite hikes is a pretty healthy climb. Easy to follow trail.
  • Visit Lower Gaylor lake right off the trail as you round over the ridge. Then Hike up to Upper Gaylor. From Upper Gaylor or Lower Gaylor you can choose route over to Granite lakes by just heading towards the ridge to the North. this ridge also leads to the White Mountain Region.
  • Make this trail a loop experience and hike down stream to hit lower trail options from Tuolumne Meadows and back out to the highway. Note there is no trail back to original parking just follow road)
  • Alternative Route is to Start from Lyell Canyon Route off the JMT and to hike Lower trail up the canyon to these Lakes.