Hiking To May Lake or to the Top of Mt Hoffmann in Yosemite National Park

From the trailhead, this short Yosemite Day Hike is a popular hikers destination located just West of Olmsted Point off HWY 120 (Tioga Pass).

Hikers of all ages can make this short 1.2-mile hike up to May Lake. With approx 500 feet in elevation gain and climbing to just over 9200 feet at lake level, this May Lake Frozen and Thawing in Yosemiteshort little hike will test your endurance level at elevation if you are a casual hiker or just beginning.   Still, this casual climb up to May Lake will provide you with stunning vista views of Cathedral Peak, Half Dome, Clouds Rest, Tenaya Lake and much more on the way up to the lake and the base of Mt. Hoffmann.

The hike to May Lake can be a casual day hike, the beginning of a backpacking adventure or a not to be missed peak challenge in Yosemite guaranteed to give you one of the finest panoramic views of Yosemite National Park and the Granite Jungles that await your exploration.

What you need to know:

Trail Head is located 2 miles to the north of HWY 120 just West of Olmsted Point.

Best Time to Visit:  Whenever the Tioga Pass Road is open – typically May through October

Difficulty:  It’s a short hike to May Lake, but it starts at a high elevation and climbs steadily, if not steeply, to the lake.  Plenty of Vista areas to stop and catch your breath while taking a photo.

Parking:  The Trail Parking area is relatively small for such a popular hike, yet with the hike being shorter, traffic can clear out regularly.  Parking along the roadside is an option as well as parking on HWY 120 and hiking the two-mile road stretch to the trailhead. (Not this adds a considerable climb to your hike). There are toilets at the trailhead.

Why Hike MAY Lake: It is one of the shorter scenic hikes in Yosemite. Provides you with a classic Mountain Lake in Yosemite with a steep granite mountain (Mt Hoffmann) on one edge and a vista view of the Granite Valley of HWY 120 on the other edge.  You will not be alone on this hike as it is also the trail to one of the High Sierra Base Camps at the lake, but the lake is big enough to explore the shores and find a little space.  about half the Lake is surrounded by Forest and in early hiking season, there is a waterfall cascading down Mt Hoffmann to the Northside.

Vista view across to Cathedral Peak from May Lake

Of Course Many might say that the reason to Hike o May Lake is so that you can continue on to the top of MT Hoffmann, a peak baggers dream in Yosemite. This 2100 foot climb from the trail parking area to the top of MT. Hoffmann will challenge your high altitude endurance but will provide you with an exclusive panoramic view of Yosemite where you are actually looking down on Clouds Rest and Half Dome and you get to gaze at the less mentioned but absolutely stunning North Yosemite Wilderness.