Young Lakes – Yosemite National Park

Lower Young Lake Skyline

Young Lakes

Location: Yosemite National Park Eastern Edge of the Park
Trailheads: Tuolumne Meadows Via Glen Aulin to Young lakes, Tuolumne Meadows Via Dog Lake to Youngs lake, elevation 8,584 feet
Highest point on the trail: 9,973 feet
Lower Young Lake elevation: 9,880 feet
Elevation Gain: 1,389 feet
Hiking Distance: 6.4 miles
Best seasons: Summer through fall
Campsites: north side of Lower and Middle Lakes, northwest side of upper lake
Activities: Fishing, photography, cross-country explorations, peak climbing

Young Lakes is great beginner or intermediate backpack experience in Yosemite National Park. Roughly 6.4 mile hike depending a bit on route with approx 1400 ft elevation change during route.

Permits are required and can be obtained via two routes:

Glen Aulin trail to Young Lakes Route – This route will follow the Glen Aulin Trail 1.6 miles thru the Tuolumne meadow Then Turn north up to Young Lakes, this route is 85-90% Moderate uphill after your Turn north on the trail. the trail crosses Delaney and Dingley creeks and follows a tree lined ridge with several grassy forest meadow locations before finally climbing up to Lower Young Lake and Ragged Peak.

The Dog Lake to Young’s Lake Route will take off from the Parking Lot East of the Wilderness Permit House. The First Mile is a steep switchback climb over the ridge directly behind Lembert Dome. Provides a nice stop at Dog Lake if you willing to Add 1/4 mile off shoot route, then has a moderate to easy hike across the side of the ridge line crossing both Delaney and Dingley creek and multiple High Alpine Meadows with gorgeous panaramic views. Before the trail declines about 500 feet to meet the other Young Lake Trail and then climb back up to Young Lakes (For our Hike this was the hardest part of the hike)

Father and Sun Filling Water at Young Lakes Yosemite- Mt Conness at Sunrise
Father and Sun Filling Water at Young Lakes Yosemite- Mt Conness at Sunrise

Lower Young Lake has plenty of camping around the lake, features great fishing and swimming and access to Ragged Peak Climbing. Plus sunset evening glows that can include Mt. Conness, White Mountain and Ragged Peaks depending on your evening location.

Middle Young Lake looking at Ragged Peak
Middle Young Lake looking at Ragged Peak

Middle Young Lake is a heart shaped Meadow Lined Lake, again with camping available on the North and West edge of the lake. East edge of the lake features great rock formations and small water falls seasonally. South side of lake lined with large meadow and seasonal wild flowers.

Upper Young Lake Looking back at Ragged Peak
Upper Young Lake Looking back at Ragged Peak

The upper Young Lake is typical High Alpine Glacial Pool, fairly large with very few trees near the water. The mountain climbs right out of the Southern Flanks of the Lake. and the North features great views of Mt. Conness and White Mountain. Little Windy up hear but if you have opportunity to get one of the rock/tree pockets for cover this is a spectacular stay.

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