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27 May 2018 / leggypeggy

Beautiful and varied views at Mirror Lake and Cook’s Meadow

Mirror Lake, Yosemite

Finally we reach Mirror Lake

Mirror Lake and granite cliffs, Yosemite

We loved the scenery looking north

There are two ways to get to Mirror Lake in Yosemite National Park—we took the wrong way. I’m kidding. We took the southern trail, which just happened to be longer and rougher than the paved trail that goes along the northern side of Tenaya Creek.

As it turned out, we were quite pleased to have stayed on the southern side because it is much more scenic. The path is rocky with quite a few ups and down, and runs through beautifully treed areas with a few glimpses of wildlife (click pics to enlarge). The north side is just a paved service road.


Our trek to Mirror Lake began at the park’s shuttle stop #17. At first it’s a single path, that soon divides to either side of the creek. We’d read that it was possible to do an entire loop, and assumed we could start from either side. We chose to avoid the crowd on the paved road, so instead of crossing the stone bridge over the creek, we veered to the right.

We expected to walk a couple of miles and then find a crossing.

Southern trail to Mirror Lake, Yosemite

The southern trail is much more scenic

Southern trail to Mirror Lake, Yosemite

All the walk is beautiful and some is even flat!

Turns out, there is no safe access from one side of Mirror Lake to the other, except via bridges at each end of the trail.

Even though we hiked for quite some time, we never found the far bridge that would have taken us to the other side. We weren’t alone because all the hikers coming towards us had gone on for a long ways and never found the bridge.

Southern trail to Mirror Lake, Yosemite

See how much prettier the rougher trail is

The website, which we didn’t read until long after the walk, warned that ‘hikers often spot what appears to be an easy way to rock-hop across Tenaya Creek, either just for fun, or as a way to shortcut the loop and rejoin the trail without doing the entire loop. While this crossing is only ankle deep at first, it quickly becomes thigh deep, and, all too often, hikers are swept into dangerous whitewater and pinned against rocks. Don’t be tempted to leave the trail, and always remember when approaching moving water to look at the conditions downstream.’

Mirror Lake, Yosemite

It might look shallow enough to wade across, but don’t be fooled

We didn’t see a shallow enough spot to even think about crossing. That’s probably because the creek runs highest in spring and summer. Funnily enough, Mirror Lake is often referred to as Mirror Meadow in late summer due to the lack of water and the influx of grasses and sandy areas. Maybe you can cross then?

Yosemite Fall from Cook's Meadow, Yosemite

Looking at Upper Yosemite Fall from Cook’s Meadow

View from Cook's Meadow, Yosemite

Another view from Cook’s Meadow

In addition to the Mirror Lake hike, we did a circuit of Cook’s Meadow. It’s almost in the middle of Yosemite Valley and gives wonderful views of the surrounding granite cliffs, including the Half Dome. The meadow is named after John Cook, a New York businessman, who ran a hotel in the valley in the 1880s. His livestock used to graze where we walked. I hope they appreciated the views. 

P.S. Speaking of cooks, I hope you’ll take time to check out my cooking blog.

Cook's Meadow and Half Dome, Yosemite

A cow’s eye view of Half Dome (on the right) from Cook’s Meadow


Leave a Comment
  1. Sharon Bonin-Pratt / May 27 2018 4:02 pm

    It’s a huge park and every part is another extraordinary scene. Have you spotted wildlife? You can get pretty close but be careful not to feed any of the critters, or I’ll have to come visit you in the local hoosegow. Are you camping or staying in a lodge? I’m so glad you’re enjoying your US trip. I’d love to visit Australia one day – there are lots of sites I’ve read about that interest me.

    Liked by 4 people

    • leggypeggy / May 27 2018 4:08 pm

      You can bet that I’d never feed the wildlife. And I won’t go too close either. I saw some nut do that the other say! We’ve been camping and the weather has been quite good. We’ve moved on from Yosemite.

      I think you’d love Australia. I’ll post more about it when this trip ends.

      Liked by 4 people

  2. Andrew Petcher / May 27 2018 5:06 pm

    Looks delightful, great pictures.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Vicki / May 27 2018 5:19 pm

    Wow, that scenery is gorgeous and the sight of that water surface at Mirror Lake certainly is misleading – the smooth water surface looks shallow enough.

    Just as well you met some hikers coming back towards you. Would be awful to continue on for a long time and then……have to walk all the way back 🙂

    Cook’s meadow looks like a nice place to camp, so no doubt Cook’s stock ‘camped’ there and thoroughly enjoyed the view of the grassy meadow at least.

    Liked by 4 people

    • leggypeggy / May 27 2018 5:23 pm

      Actually we did continue on hiking for a long time, thinking the others we encountered just hadn’t gone far enough!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Gilda Baxter / May 27 2018 5:48 pm

    Well done for choosing the “rough trail” always more exciting to do the harder, but more scenic route. I would love to hear about the practicalities of how to stay in the National Park, did you camp everyday? Did you get warm weather? Yosemite NP is high on my wish list. Great post😄

    Liked by 3 people

    • leggypeggy / May 27 2018 5:50 pm

      We stayed at a campground outside the park (but not too far away). I think the park’s campgrounds are limited and fill quickly. The weather was pretty good. Not too cold and no rain, but that’s hard to manage. Hope you can get there soon.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. beetleypete / May 27 2018 6:02 pm

    Something so majestic about waterfalls. The appeal never fades.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. derrickjknight / May 27 2018 6:19 pm

    More excellent shots, from stunning landscapes to such good use of the forest light

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / May 29 2018 12:26 am

      Thanks so much, Derrick. I never know how shots have turned out until I download them to the computer.

      Liked by 2 people

      • derrickjknight / May 29 2018 3:16 am

        Same here, especially as the viewfinder on the point and shoot is badly damaged

        Liked by 1 person

  7. weggieboy / May 27 2018 7:03 pm

    The American West definitely is a wonderful (wonder full…) place to find oneself!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. lmo58 / May 27 2018 7:43 pm

    Fantastic descriptions and beautiful photos. I love waterfalls and Yosemite is magnificent. Many thanks Peggy. I hope your hip is behaving itself with all the climbing. Many thanks again.

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / May 29 2018 12:33 am

      Thanks Louise. Yosemite is gorgeous. The hip still likes to complain, but I’m managing.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. GP Cox / May 27 2018 9:06 pm

    This truly is a magnificent country! Great photos!!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Eliza Ayres / May 27 2018 9:44 pm

    Reblogged this on Blue Dragon Journal and commented:
    Sounds like a lovely time!

    Liked by 3 people

  11. chattykerry / May 27 2018 10:42 pm

    I can’t say anything other than FABULOUS!

    Liked by 4 people

  12. almeidadepaulo / May 27 2018 11:59 pm

    Wonderful pics Peggy!!!

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Explore with Kenneth / May 28 2018 12:37 am

    Amazing! I can’t wait to go back to Yosemite one day!

    Liked by 2 people

  14. susan@onesmallwalk / May 28 2018 1:02 am

    I am so glad that Yosemite cooperated and gave you those gorgeous views. Happy travels – Susan

    Liked by 3 people

  15. shawnthompsonart / May 28 2018 6:48 am

    Nice landscapes, you captured the mountains and the rocks beautifully.

    Liked by 3 people

  16. Superduque777 / May 28 2018 8:18 am

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / May 29 2018 12:40 am

      A perfect link. Thanks.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Sy S. / May 30 2018 7:06 am

      I enjoyed the video and the pictures synced to the song, “Rocky Mountain High”! John Denver is one of my favorites to listen to. I will be listening to his song “Rocky Mountain High” and within the album “John Denver Greatest Hits”, after I post this message.

      Just think about Peggy and John’s camping in the Rockies (shortly) and some more beautiful American scenery. And with a little luck sit by a campfire with other campers and listening to John Denver’s songs and the guitar strumming.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Superduque777 / May 30 2018 9:31 am

        Liked by 1 person

      • leggypeggy / May 30 2018 11:41 am

        Sy, I promise to let you know if we hear John Denver while we’re camping. We head out tomorrow morning.


  17. Osyth / May 28 2018 8:50 am

    Stop it Peggy! Too much beautiful! Just gorgeous …. I close my eyes and I’m there and one day I will be. By the way … what on earth did that squirrel have in his mouth? 😳

    Liked by 3 people

  18. gerard oosterman / May 28 2018 8:59 am

    Stunningly beautiful. Glad you and poor John did not rock-hop across that lake.

    Liked by 3 people

  19. thewonderer86 / May 28 2018 5:49 pm

    Sometimes it’s a blessing to take the wrong path!

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Invisibly Me / May 28 2018 7:03 pm

    Going across Tenaya Creek and going off trail sounds incredibly dangerous, so I can see why the website offers that warning. Shame about not finding the bridge but I often prefer those ‘hidden’, alternative routes and things you find when looking for something else too.
    Incredible views, and absolutely stunning photos! xx

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / May 29 2018 12:43 am

      We’re sensible enough not to try things that are too dangerous, but we still like to explore.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Emma Cownie / May 28 2018 7:09 pm

    It looks so peaceful and majestic.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. theorangutanlibrarian / May 29 2018 7:48 am


    Liked by 1 person

  23. poshbirdy / May 29 2018 10:36 pm

    How stunning. We still have not made it to Yosemite, but we plan to do so. Your pics are breath-taking

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / May 29 2018 11:49 pm

      Thanks so much. I hope you get there. It’s really worth the effort.


  24. efge63 / May 30 2018 3:48 am

    A little black and blue bird sat upon my pack one day
    As I rested my weary feet along the stony way
    She said to me
    Have you seen the seven wonders of Yosemite Valley?
    I am only one of 262 varieties in this land
    Now please, won’t you feed me from your hand?

    Thank you for take all us with you!!!! Kisses!!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  25. Sy S. / May 30 2018 6:50 am

    Yosemite is very beautiful and to think you only saw a small part of the park. I wonder if you can search Topographic Maps on your iPad, computer… and then could have determined how far away
    you were from that elusive bridge crossing the river.. and maybe with GPS coordinates? I am sure in the main lodge/shop or guide area (or serious hikers), they had Topographic maps to view.. but then again starting out you did not expect to not reach the bridge.

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / May 30 2018 7:00 am

      Hi Sy
      We did look at some relevant maps (not topographic) and one even showed (by dotted line) the water crossing that the website said not to take. We had a lovely walk regardless.


  26. jeanleesworld / May 30 2018 12:09 pm

    Such lovely colors! You had perfect light for this hike. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  27. Dave Ply / May 30 2018 1:26 pm

    That’s some impressive countryside. I wonder how many “Mirror Lakes” there are?

    Liked by 2 people

  28. Chris Riley / May 31 2018 9:17 am


    Liked by 2 people

  29. NatureOnNotice / Jun 8 2018 9:33 am

    Reblogged this on NatureOnNotice.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Jun 10 2018 2:41 pm

      That’s so mice. Thanks very much. Most appreciated.


  30. tony / Aug 30 2018 12:31 pm

    This Sounds and looks like a great walk!


    Liked by 1 person

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