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A long loop trail leads to Young Lakes from the Tuolumne Meadow area of the park. Avoid the crowds by following this trail to three alpine lakes.

This loop trail begins at the Lembert Dome/Glen Aulin Trailhead in Tuolumne Meadows. It begins by following the trail to Glen Aulin northwestward out of the parking area. The trail leads past Soda Springs, gaining elevation slightly. Within the first mile and a half the trail crosses Delaney Creek, and its tributaries, and reaches a trail junction.

The trail leading to the right from the Tuolumne Falls Trail is the beginning of the Young Lakes Loop. This trail is less frequently used by day hikers than that which leads to Tuolumne Falls, so enjoy the silence. This route ascends slowly northward as it leads through lodgepole pine forest and glacier-scraped granite.

Approximately one mile from Tuolumne Falls Trail this route crosses Dingley Creek. From the creek crossing the trail ascends 800 feet in the first mile. It then levels for a quarter mile then continues to climb. Two miles from Dingley Creek the trail crosses a branch of Conness Creek. Immediately after the creek crossing is a junction with the Dog Lake Trail, which is the second half of the loop.

At this junction follow the left fork to reach Young Lakes. The trail climbs 200 feet total in the mile and a half to the lakes. Before reaching the glacier-scoured bowl which contains the lakes hikers must descend slightly. The trail first reaches the western shore of lower Young Lake. This lake supports several campsites on its northern shore.

The lower lake lies at an elevation of 9,850 feet with Ragged Peak towering above its southern shore. Two other lakes lie immediately east and are well worth the short trek to their shores. From the westernmost lake shore follow the trail southward one and a half miles to the junction with Dog Lake Trail.

When you reach the trail junction turn left and follow the trail southeastward. The trail crosses a narrow ridge on the southwestern flank of Ragged Peak then begins a slow descent. Approximately one mile from the trail junction the Dog Lake Trail crosses Dingley Creek. The trail descends 200 feet then ascends slightly in the mile beyond the creek crossing. Within two miles the trail crosses Delaney Creek and intersects the trail leading to Lembert Dome.

If you are feeling energetic at this point the short trek to the dome is well worth the extra effort. If not, continue descending along the Dog Lake Trail. It parallels the creek draining from Dog Lake and switchbacks down a steep slope. This last descent lasts approximately three quarters of a mile and ends at the access road to the Lembert Dome/Glen Aulin Trailhead.

Directions: From Arch Rock Entrance, Drive northward into the park toward the Yosemite Valley. Turn left on to Big Oak Flat Road and travel almost 9.5 miles to Tioga Road. Turn right on to Tioga Road and travel 39 miles to Tuolumne Meadows. Turn left on to the dirt road that leads to the Lembert Dome/Glen Aulin Trailhead. Hike northwest from the western side of the trailhead parking area.

Elevation: 8,600 feet

Ending Elevation: 8,200 feet

Usage: Heavy

Difficulty: Easy

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Yosemite National Park, California

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The details, dates, and prices mentioned here were accurate at the time of publication.

Review by Wildernet Copyright © 2010 all rights reserved.