May Lake Trail

May Lake Trail, Yosemite National Park: Address, May Lake Trail Reviews: 4.5/5

May Lake Trail
4.5

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4.5
55 reviews
Excellent
40
Very good
14
Average
1
Poor
0
Terrible
0

PacificNWFamily
Washington State92,468 contributions
Excellent repeat hike to May Lake
Jul 2021
My recent visit to Yosemite included a day hiking to May Lake and just beyond. It was an excellent choice.

The parking lot is now paved. It was full around 10:30 am, so we parked just down the road a bit. There is a vault toilet at the trailhead.

We saw quite a few people including several backpackers. The May Lake backcountry campground is a good choice for novice backpackers as this trail is so short.

After reaching the lake, we walked past the closed May Lake High Sierra Camp and continued another 1/4 mile or so. We sat on rocks at an outcropping and enjoyed the views. Clouds were building, so the views were dramatic.

We looked but did not see the local pesky marmot that has been trying to sneak food from the backpackers. There were quite a few tents in the campground.

We saw several groups with young children. The trail is in good condition and is relatively easy with little elevation gain, about 500 feet in 1.2 miles.
Written 6 August 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Susan S
Iowa City, IA22 contributions
Alpine lake
Sep 2019
Beautiful alpine lake, easy trail, few people in the fall. Can continue a steep , fun climb up Mt Hoffman ( which is off trail) , but I would recommend doing it!
Written 23 September 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Offgrid_nomad
Gulfport, MS68 contributions
Great Morning/Afternoon hike.
Oct 2018 • Friends
Great morning/afternoon hike. Moderate/easy Difficulty. Only 2.4mi round trip. This one will fool you when you get to the first rock face and you may start to think you're going the wrong way but just keep following the trail and it will lead you to the East side of the lake. I came late in the year, October. And I was the first one to the lake by around 0830. Around 1030 I saw two Coyotes on the West Bank heading North, Casually hunting. There was an outhouse in a concrete structure but it was closed when I hiked it (presumably because it's the end of the season.) No pets are allowed on the trail. (My beagle pictured is a Service Dog.)
Written 12 October 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

phil52_10
Maidstone, UK874 contributions
Beautiful lake, hard climb
Sep 2018 • Couples
The end of the walk is a peaceful, beautiful lake and worth the effort. The trail is very steep in places and the length and change in elevation seem to mean something different to everyone. From a 60+ couple with slight mobility problems this is a hard walk with many places up and down and some rough terrain and when we were there abnormally high temperatures which didn't help. Allow three hours at least if you are not used to hikes at that elevation. If you take your time the views along the trail can be quite breathtaking and then sitting by the lake offers a quiet opportunity to take some great photos.
Written 7 October 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

frequent1
Groveland, CA1,448 contributions
Amazing Views, awesome lake at the base of Mt Hoffman
Jul 2018 • Friends
The May Lake trail is a short hike 1.2 miles from the trailhead. May lake is breathtaking. We got a change to see the high sierra camp pack mules coming down the trail. We kept going and had lunch at raisin lake, and the views there of Clouds Rest, Mt Clark, Tenaya Peak and Cathedral peak were spectacular. We then proceeded to hike back to Tenaya lake via Murphy Creek trail head. The total hike was about 8 miles and just beautiful. The flowers were just beginning to bloom in July. Spring in the high sierras.
Written 13 July 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

pingaroo
Chicago, IL2,190 contributions
Short trail to alpine lake
Jun 2018 • Couples
May Lake Trail is 2.4 mi/3.9 km roundtrip with 485 ft/150 m elevation. It can be accessed by a 2 mi dirt road off Tioga Road. The dirt road has a lot of big potholes, which we managed in a SUV but might be challenging in a sedan. There is a parking lot for about 25 cars as well as a restroom at the trailhead.

My husband and I did the trail around 2pm on a Sunday in June. Although the parking lot was almost full, the trail was not crowded. We came across 15 people during the 1 hour hike. Perhaps people were staying overnight at the May Lake High Sierra Camp or hiking up Mt Hoffman. Trail condition was mixed gravel/rock/roots. We brought 2L of water with us, which was sufficient on a 90 deg F/32 deg C day.

The first part of the trail through the forest was boring in terms of views. Once the forest opened up to granite, there were great views of the granite peaks, including Half Dome. The view of Mt Hoffman at May Lake was phenomenal. May Lake itself was average as the water was not as clear as Tenaya Lake.

In terms of difficulty, this hike was not challenging by Yosemite standards. However, if you're not acclimatized to the high sierra elevation (7000 - 10,000 ft), you will tire easily. Since we live near sea level, we spent the first day acclimatizing to the elevation and started with shorter hikes such as the May Lake Trail. Although we're fit and avid hikers, we felt the altitude on this hike.
Written 11 July 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Ann W
Mammoth Lakes, CA12 contributions
Four Stars only by Yosemite Standards
Aug 2017 • Family
Lovely hike with views to a gorgeous lake at a middling elevation (for upper Yosemite), but often crowded. The parking at the trailhead is limited so arrive early. The steepest part of the trail is sun-exposed in mid-day, but the early start helps avoid that as well. This is a great hike for older children, but I've seen a lot of miserable toddlers on this trail. There are better places to take the little ones.
The fit and acclimated members of your party should be prepared to climb Mt. Hoffmann--the draw will be irresistible.
Written 14 February 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Feng L
Mississauga, Canada1,008 contributions
beautiful reflections
Aug 2017 • Family
the entry pond has the most beautiful reflection, it is a mid length trail leading to a peaceful lake.
Written 13 October 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

CozyZville
Indianapolis IN57 contributions
Wedding in CA
Jul 2016
We were in the Yosemite area for a wedding the summer of '16. We took a couple of days and visited Yosemite and took the N. route east and stopped to hike the May Lake Trail. It's a nice, easy hike. When you reach May Lake, it's a nice view of the lake with campsites in that area. Not very challenging and most people could do it. It's a nice hike there and back in a couple of hours.
Written 5 April 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

kbokellybrooke
Philadelphia, PA59 contributions
Beautiful and Serene
Aug 2016 • Couples
We had to move along to the next spot on our adventure, but we wanted to get one last Yosemite hike in before leaving and May Lake was perfect for that. In hindsight, I really wish that we had budgeted enough time to hike Mt. Hoffman. Still, May Lake was so beautiful and there are so many great views from the trail.

I don't remember exactly how long this hike took, but I am guessing 2.5-3 hours. That, of course, includes stopping for a while at the lake and just staring at how beautiful the surroundings are. We also stopped for probably 20 minutes or so on a large boulder close to the starting point because we weren't ready to leave yet!

Bring water. It is cooler at the high elevation, but a decent portion of the trail is exposed, so it gets hot in the sun.

Also, the elevation gain isn't bad (I think around 500 ft) but it is at high altitude. so if you aren't acclimated or are used to higher levels of oxygen, you may tire more quickly than you would expect.

This is also a pretty quiet trail. We only encountered about 10-15 other hikers. This was a must different experience than our hike on the Mist Trail the day before.
Written 30 January 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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