Do you believe there are more than 800 miles of trails and 167 lakes in Yosemite National Park? It’s a freakin big park. We definitely squeezed in lots of day hiking while working here this month, which is always good, but backcountry exclusion is our happy place.
Total Trip Mileage: 15.7 miles
Elevation Gain: 2500 feet
Time Spent in the Wild: 2 days / 1 night
Yosemite National Park works on a quota and permit system, and since we hadn’t reserved online permits months in advance, we would be limited to first-come, first-serve. You stand in line a day before going out to try to score whatever is available, so I poured over maps to make 3 plans. Our saving grace was the fact that it’s sort of a shoulder season for Yosemite, so we ended up with our first choice.
We did the Young Lakes loop, heading clockwise on the Glen Aulin trail, took the out-and-back trail to Young Lakes, then finished the next day via the Dog Lake trail (with a quick stop at Dog Lake of course). The whole trip totaled 15.7 miles with a fairly gradual elevation gain, and in fact, some harder core people do it in a day.
Young Lakes is actually 3 small lakes separated by 1/4 mile, each pretty well surrounded by an amphitheater of 10,000+ foot serrated granite spires. The scenery is jaw-dropping enough during the day, but when the sunlight melts over the mountaintops turning the rock faces bronze, that’s the money scene.
There are plentiful camping options around all the lakes. We chose #2 because there seemed to be more people at 1 and I vetoed moving onto #3. I think we ended up being the only ones camped at #2!
Fall was definitely present at 10,000 feet, as a few snowflakes coated our tent during setup. Brrr.
The next day, we explored lake #3, which has a fantastic waterfall flowing from it (notice the icy grass?).
We loved our getaway and discovering more alpine lakes!