"Mirror Lake Falls"

Yosemite National Park, California, USA

About “Mirror Lake Falls”

Hiking Distance: 2.5 miles round trip
Suggested Time: 90 minutes

Date first visited: 2004-03-21
Date last visited: 2005-04-29

Waterfall Latitude: 37.76053
Waterfall Longitude: -119.55116

Waterfall Safety and Common Sense

“Mirror Lake Falls” tumbles from the vicinity of Basket Dome to the base of Tenaya Canyon near Mirror Lake.

I made up the name for the falls because of its proximity to Mirror Lake and because I didn’t see much written about it in the literature.

Mirror_Lake_008_04292005 - The so-called 'Mirror Lake Falls'
The so-called ‘Mirror Lake Falls’

I once mistook this waterfall for Snow Creek Falls since it appeared to be significant the first time I saw it in March 2004.

However, it turned out that this was more of a temporary waterfall and said to have a very short season (though I was quite surprised at how big it was).

Therefore, in order to even see this waterfall flow, we had to time a visit for the early- to mid Spring months.

It seemed like this waterfall really lost its fuel by late Spring, which seemed to be the case with some of the other ephemeral waterfalls like Staircase Falls.

We stumbled upon this waterfall probably about 1/4- to 1/2-mile beyond Mirror Lake. The first time we saw it, we were hiking on the north side of the Mirror Lake loop, but the second time we saw it, we were on the opposite side of the Mirror Lake Loop, and that’s what’s pictured above.

The nice thing about hiking the Mirror Lake Loop was that we left the crowd behind once we left the popular Mirror Lake.

So it was tranquil and naturesque, and we heard nothing but silence broken by the sound of crashing water from this waterfall as well as the rush of Tenaya Creek.


“Mirror Lake Falls” resides in Yosemite National Park. For information or inquiries about the park as well as current conditions, visit the National Park Service website.

Mirror_Lake_Falls_001_03212004 - Unnamed ephemeral waterfall seen from the north side of the Mirror Lake Primitive Loop
Mirror_Lake_002_04292005 - Unnamed ephemeral waterfall seen from the south side of the Mirror Lake Primitive Loop

This waterfall shares the same trailhead as that of Mirror Lake. Take the shuttle from Curry Village (signpost V22, which has the nearest car park) to signpost V26.

Curry Village sat on the eastern end of Yosemite Valley. To get there from Los Angeles, our preferred route would be to drive on the I-5 north. After descending into the Grapevine (some 2 hours from home), we then take the Hwy 99 through Central Valley towards Fresno. Then, we hop onto the Hwy 41 at Fresno which leads us to the southern entrance of Yosemite National Park via Oakhurst. Continuing on Hwy 41 (now Wawona Road), we then take this for the next 60-90 minutes (passing through Wawona) all the way into Yosemite Valley and eventually to Curry Village.

Overall, this drive would take roughly 6 hours or more depending on traffic.

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Tagged with: tenaya canyon, mirror lake, curry village, yosemite valley, yosemite, waterfall, california, sierra, half dome

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Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of the award-winning A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
Read More About Johnny | A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls.