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Lower Gaylor Lakes Trail



4.4 mile 7.1 kilometer point to point
88% Runnable


Ascent: 1,357' 413 m
Descent: -6' -2 m
High: 10,057' 3,065 m
Low: 8,702' 2,652 m


Avg Grade: 6% (3°)
Max Grade: 14% (8°)


No Dogs
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Map Key

Trail shared by Megan W

Enjoy some of the best, unobstructed high Sierra views from this uncrowded trail

Megan W

Features Lake · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers

Tioga Road is closed during the winter, which may limit access.

Runner Notes

Some rocky and rooty sections. High elevation will be noticeable on this workout.


On this less famous of the two area Gaylor Lakes Trails, you'll find more solitude and similar alpine beauty. There are two places to start this trail, either at the Tuolumne Lodge (as shown here in the map) or from Tioga Road where the trail crosses. If you opt to cut off the initial two miles by parking along the road it can be tricky to find the trail here and there is room for only a couple cars at skinny pullouts. Look for an old rusty trailhead sign a bit back from the road, about 1/2 mile east from a gated dirt road.

To get the full experience, start from the Tuolumne Lodge and parallel the burbling Dana Fork stream. Travel gently uphill through forest until reaching the Tioga Road crossing. Right before you get to the road, you have to cross the Dana Fork by wading as there is no footbridge here. While in the late summer, early Fall this crossing may be done via rock hop, in the late spring or early summer, the Dana Fork will be full of water from the snow melt, making the crossing tricky and wading a necessity. Use caution. Find the trail on the opposite side, just west of a small creek. Continue straight at the first intersection, passing the Gaylor Lakes Spur on your left (west). After a clearing, take the left fork to stay on the Lower Gaylor Lakes trail, ignoring the Dana Fork Trail that heads east to Mono Pass. Ascend through shady pine forest keeping an eye out for wildflowers along the way. There are some steeper rooty and rocky sections on the way up. Break out into open grass covered slopes and pass smaller rocky pools.

Relax on the shores of shallow but picturesque Lower Gaylor Lake. Romp or doze in the inviting 10,000 foot meadows here. There are great views of the rugged granite peaks in this area without as many pesky trees blocking the vistas.

Extra credit: it is also possible to reach the other Gaylor Lakes by finding a faint trail heading northeast through a stand of pines.

Flora & Fauna

Mice, marmot, pika, rabbits, deer, coyotes.


Land Manager: NPS - Yosemite

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Trail Ratings

  3.7 from 3 votes


  3.7 from 3 votes
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in California


3 Views Last Month
550 Since May 15, 2016



Lower Gaylor Lake
Sep 24, 2016 near Bridgeport, CA
Lower Gaylor Lake drainage.
Sep 24, 2016 near Yosemit…, CA
The trail with the Cathedral Range in the distance looking back toward where you came from in the spring time.
Sep 24, 2016 near Yosemit…, CA
After crossing the road, the trail runs through a meadows with great views of the surrounding mountains.
Sep 24, 2016 near Yosemit…, CA
The trail approaches Lower Gaylor Lake, with Mount Gaylor sitting on the right in the distance.
Sep 24, 2016 near Yosemit…, CA
The trail narrows as it approaches the lake.  The trees begin to thin and more rocks appear.
Sep 24, 2016 near Yosemit…, CA