Mirror Lake is a quick and easy two-mile hike (round trip) located in Yosemite Valley that offers a rewarding view at the end. The trail to the lake is paved, making it a Yosemite National Park adventure that is suitable for a wide range of ages.
(Or, you can also make it a five-mile hike by going beyond the end of the paved trail and completing the loop around the lake. See the end of the post for a link with more information.)
Although this place is called Mirror “Lake,” it turns out that it might actually be more of a pool in a seasonal stream, according to an information board at the lake. Variations in the volume and speed of the stream’s water cause sand to be washed in and out of Mirror Lake in cycles.
Getting to Mirror Lake is a nice walk that offers sufficient shade with tall trees all around. There’s an elevation gain of 100 feet, but even for people with an average or low fitness level, it’s a very doable “hike.” As you get closer to the lake, a highlight along the way is a little but powerful waterfall on the right side. It’s nice to spend a minute or so just watching and listening to the water fall.
I did this hike during a visit to Yosemite in the fall, and there wasn’t much water in the pool, but it was still a nice place to see. I brought a bottle of water and ingredients to put together a sandwich that I ate during once I got to the lake.