Hiking Trails Near Yosemite National Park

Great hiking trails near the chalet include

Fern and Yost Lakes Hiking Trails

Walk out the backdoor to the trailhead, which is on Fish Hatchery Hill, between the Chalet and the Double Eagle Resort.  The hiking trails provide access to Fern Lake on the southern shoulder of Carson Peak, as well as Yost Lake and Yost Meadow.  Although the hike to Fern Lake is only 1.7 miles, beware of the significant elevation gain.  If you want to summit Carson Peak, the glorious peak you can see from the hydrotherapy pool, go to Fern Lake and take the east slope of Carson Peak up to the plateau.  Walk north to the summit.  Yost Lake runs to the stream behind the Chalet.  From Yost Meadow another trail returns through the June Mountain Ski Area to the June Lake Village at the June Lake Loop Trailhead near the famous Balanced Boulder at the Fire Station.

Reverse Peak Hiking Trails

The trailhead is along North Shore Drive, northeast of Gull Lake.  This is prime territory for many different kinds of wildlife, although there are no fishing opportunities, and water may be scarce.  The “Snow Lakes,” a collection of small basins which retain water in the spring, are a major feature of this hike which can eventually access the Aerie Crag area and the top of Reversed Peak.

Parker Lake Hiking Trails

Trailhead elevation 8000′.  4 miles round trip.  About a half mile past Grant Lake, as you are hiking towards the 395, turn left onto a dirt road signed for Parker Lake.  Follow the signs to the Parker Lake Trailhead.  Hike past the first steep part to where the trail flattens out next to beautiful Parker Creek as it meanders through meadows and forests.  At a junction signed for Silver Lake, continue straight ahead to Parker Lake for a 4 mile round trip, or turn left toward Silver Lake for an up-to-10-mile round trip to Parker Bench.  After enjoying the view of Mono Lake, wander back the way you came, or shuttle a second car to Silver Lake for a 7 mile hike.

Gibbs Lake/Kidney Lake Hiking Trails

Trailhead elevation 8000′ (Gibbs Lake 9530′).  6-9 miles round trip.  It’s tough. On Highway 395 south of Lee Vining, turn west onto a dirt road signed for Horse Meadows.  Follow the road past the lush green meadows as far as you can, since most passenger cars will have to park about a mile from the trailhead.  Walk up the road to the trailhead, and follow the incredibly steep old road through the forest.  Keep an eye out for a trail on the right that bypasses a steep hill.  At the end of the road follow the trail to Gibbs Lake.  If you still have energy and are feeling adventurous, wander past Gibbs Lake to Kidney Lake, a mile farther and almost 1000 feet higher.  Return the way you came.

Lee Vining Creek Trail

Trailhead elevation 6780″.  1.5 miles each way.  Like a cakewalk without the burden of shlepping a cake. Take a respite from the road and heat by discovering Lee Vining Creek.  The trail begins south of the Lakeview Lodge units on the east side of Highway 395 in Lee Vining.  Follow the trail below the wall and down into the shady stream-side area.  Experience the difference between a healthy riparian forest and a riparian area devastated by 45 years of water diversions.  A leisurely walk on the creek trail takes an hour, or less if you walk only a portion of the trail.  The trail ends at the Scenic Area Visitor Center overlooking Mono Lake, north of Lee Vining.

Tioga Peak Hiking Trails

A prominent mountain that rises at the head of Lee Vining Canyon and north of Tioga Pass just beyond the border of Yosemite National Park.  Highway 120 goes right below the south and east slopes as it curves down into Lee Vining Canyon on the way to Mono Lake from Tioga Pass.  This is a simple rounded peak composed of metamorphic rock like many of the peaks in the area.  It is a very accessible straight forward class 1-2 scramble from Gardisky Lake that can easily be done as a day hike or less.  The summit area is a huge rolling dome.  Tioga Peak has arguably the best views of the Tioga Pass region.  From the junction with Highway 395, take Highway 120 west 10 miles up to the Saddlebag Lake Road on the right.  Go north 1.2 miles on the Saddlebag Lake Road (passable to all cars) and park in the lot on the left across the road from the Gardisky Lake Trailhead (9,730′).  The trail climbs 0.7 miles up to Gardisky Lake (10,483′).  Take the northwest slope or ridge to the summit.

Lundy Canyon Hiking Trails

Trailhead elevation 8200′.  1/2 mile or longer.  Turnoff is a couple miles south of Mono Lake on the 395.  Drive past the lake and the store and take the dirt road beyond the beaver ponds to where it ends at a trailhead.  Hike up the trail through the aspen groves, enjoy the abundant display of wildflowers, and revel in the beauty of the cliffs and waterfalls.  The trail is steep in places.  Wander as far as you wish and return the way you came, or shuttle a car to Saddlebag Lake for a more strenuous 7 mile hike.  This is a primo hike in September to catch the turning aspens.

Tuolumne Grove Hiking Trails

Worth the drive to get there (74 miles), especially if you are heading back to the Bay Area.  The grove itself contains a couple dozen mature Giant Sequoias, including one you can walk through.  Hiking Time:  1.5 – 2.5 hours.  Distance:  2.5 miles (4 km) round trip.  Elevation at trailhead:   6,200 feet (1,860 meters).  Elevation Gain:  400 feet (120 meters) elevation loss to the grove.  Best Time to Visit: The Sequoias should be equally scenic whenever Tioga Road is open – June through October, generally – but it might be best in the Autumn, when the deciduous trees are changing colors.  Parts of the grove sometimes get closed late in the year, though.  Difficulty: It’s an easy hike over a short, smooth trail.  The only downer (so to speak) is that you’ll have to climb 400 feet on the route back to the trailhead.  Crowd Factor:  Not as crowded as the Mariposa Grove, but you’ll still find no shortage of fellow travelers unless you’re there during inclement weather or very late in the season.   Getting There:  Take the Tioga Road west 47 miles to the lot at near Crane Flat.

The Yosemite Gateway Chalet is near many hiking trails throughout Yosemite National Park.

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