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5 Best Lakes In Yosemite National Park

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  • Post last modified:August 1, 2022
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Yosemite is home to some beautiful waterfalls, and the Yosemite National Park is a must place to visit when you are craving to spend some time in nature.

The national park is home to 400 different species of amphibians, reptiles, and mammals, and you can get a chance to interact with them.

One of the best things about this national park is its numerous lakes famous for their turquoise water, and there are many recreational activities you can do at these lakes. Mountain peaks surround these lakes, and you explore the breathtaking scenery of nature.

There are around 2000 lakes in Yosemite, but we shortlisted the five best lakes in Yosemite National Park that you must visit.


Mirror Lake

Mirror Lake

On the base of Bald Mountain lies Mirror lake, surrounded by the high peaks of the mountain and lush green forests. The best time to visit is during the summer and spring seasons, during which the water level of the lake is at its maximum level.

The scenery around the lake is so perfect during these seasons that you can get the best photographs for your Instagram.

There are several trails where anyone can go hiking as there are different levels of courses, and you can choose one of them based on your experience. 

The Mirror lake is perfect for water activities such as you can go for swimming, boating, and kayaking in the lake. Apart from water activities, the other activities you can do here are:

  • Horse riding.
  • Interacting with the region’s flora and fauna.
  • Camping in the wild of the mirror lake.


May Lake

May Lake

May Lake is a high-elevation lake in Yosemite National Park, north of Yosemite Valley, accessible via Tioga Road. Like other lakes, May Lake is surrounded by a granite cliff.

It is heaven for hikers as there is a 2.4-mile-long trail where you can go hiking and enjoy the beautiful scenery of nature.

The best time to visit May Lake is the summer and spring season, during which you can camp at one of the campsites and go hiking through the trail, which is free of snow these seasons. The best time to go hiking when camping here is from the sunset.

The lake is crowded with people in summer but hiking through the complex networks of trails gives you a chance to spend some alone time with mother nature.

Hiking is the most popular activity to do here. Still, apart from hiking, you can enjoy many water activities like the other lakes, such as swimming and fishing.


Tenaya Lake

Tenaya Lake

Tenaya Lake is the largest lake in Yosemite National Park, and it is must visit the lake.

The lake is surrounded by high peaks, giving a picturesque and breathtaking view of nature. The lake isn’t crowded with people, and the best season to visit Tenaya Lake to have the maximum fun is summer.

There are many activities you can enjoy here, such as hiking through the trails to enjoy the fantastic views of nature, swimming in the lake, kayaking, and boating.

The lake is a bit frozen on summer days, but that doesn’t stop the people from swimming here. The lake is famous for the water activities, but there are many other activities you can do, such are bird watching and camping.

Some people referred to Tenaya Lake as the “Jewel of the High Country.”

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Cathedral Lake

Cathedral Lake

Cathedral Lake is generally two lakes lying on the same trail. There are two cathedral lakes, one known as the upper Cathedral Lake, and the other is the lower Cathedral Lake.

Cathedral Lake is ideal for camping, and there are beautiful campsites located where you can camp. The lower cathedral lake has more options to camp than the upper cathedral lake, and we suggest you camp at the lower lake.

The campsites quickly fill out in the summer and spring and summer season, so be there at the location at the time to find a good spot to camp.

Along the hike, you can enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Tuolumne Meadows and camp between these lakes in the heart of the wilderness. The lakes are home to several species of ducks and beers, and you can get a chance to interact with them or see them from a close view.

Hiking isn’t everyone’s game, and it is sure to have the proper experience of hiking before going into the depth of wilderness of the area.


Lake Eleanor

Lake Eleanor

Lake Eleanor is located northwest of the Yosemite National Park in the Stanislaus National Forest. This lake is the best place to enjoy the water activities such as kayaking, fishing, and swimming in the heart of nature.

Lake Eleanor isn’t crowded with people even in the summers, and you can spend some peaceful and calming time in nature. This lake is also a great place to enjoy a picnic here as they are vast grounds and can be accessed by hiking half a mile through the parking lot.

If you want to fish at lake Eleanor, you need to be in the middle of the lake by boat or kayak to catch fish, as the fishing opportunities aren’t great at the shoreline.


So that’s all about some most beautiful lakes you should visit while in Yosemite National Park. These lakes are best for having some recreational activities in the water in summer, and you can spend some time in nature by camping and hiking through the different network of trails of the other lakes.

So what are you waiting for? Back your bags and explore the never-ending beauty of this park.

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