As one of Yosemite’s great overlooked hikes, Gaylor Lakes ranks among the most enjoyable sightseeing spots in the region because of an awe-inspiring scenery and an almost utter lack of other hikers. Few people ever make it out this far, unless it’s a weekend, which is certainly a shame, as the scenery factor here is certainly among the highest you’ll see. With sweeping views of the Dana Meadows and the mountains behind it, the Gaylor lakes themselves, and an abandoned 1870s mine above upper Gaylor Lake, few areas in the Tioga Road hikes offer as many things to see and do as Gaylor Lakes does, something that is truly amazing considering the great hiking areas nearby. This is precisely why we recommend you do not miss out on this wondrous spectacle during your stay here! It is seriously a blast.
Distance and Hiking Time
This 3 mile round trip hike normally takes 2 – 5 hours if you stick to the beaten path. But, because of its wide open nature, you can easily take part in quite a bit of exploring. Obviously, this means you can extend the hike as much as you want, which, in our book, is always a good idea.
When to Visit
Again, just make sure you don’t try to come here when the Tioga Road is closed. All access is blocked during this time of year, so come June through October (or check the status online).
Except for on the weekends, this hike is very lightly traveled, which is great for you! Yes, you’ll be able to see the odd hiker here and there because of the wide open spaces, but you will never feel claustrophobic. This is as close to “your special place” as you can get!