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This short trail can be a precursor to an ascent of Mt. Hoffmann or an easy trek with the kids. Expect to see crowds due to easy access.

The trail to May Lake is an easy, short ascent. It is suitable for children and overnight stays. The hike begins at the May Lake Trailhead at the end of May Lake Road or Old Tioga Road.

From the parking area hike north through the forest and past a small pond. You'll see Mt. Hoffmann to the northwest as you begin the hike. The lake lies in the shadow of this 10,850-foot peak, which is considered the geographic center of Yosemite National Park.

A few minutes after beginning the hike you'll cross some granite mounds and begin to ascend more steeply. Past the granite the trail begins to switchback. The total elevation gain is 500 feet.

When you reach the top of your ascent the trail splits. The left trail leads to a dispersed campground for backpackers and the lakeshore. Follow this to make a circle around the lake. The right fork leads to the May Lake High Sierra Camp. This site consists of cabins with a backcountry feel. Reservations can be made for these cabins, but are necessary at least a year in advance.

Directions: From Arch Rock Entrance, Follow Highway 140 northward to Big Oak Flat Road. Turn left on to Big Oak Flat Road and follow it 9.5 miles to Tioga Road. Turn right on Tioga Road and follow it 26.5 miles to May Lake Road. Turn left on May Lake Road and follow it two miles to the trailhead.

Elevation: 8,850 feet

Ending Elevation: 9,330 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.