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Day Hikes in Yosemite

Elizabeth Lake Trail

The Elizabeth Lake Trail, which has its trail head off Tioga Road near the Tuolumne Meadows campground, is rated as difficult. It is a 4.6 mile trail that takes about 3 - 4 hours and ascends about 1000 feet. As you begin traveling south on the trail you come to an east west trail, the John Muir Trail, which leads east from Cathedral Lakes. Continue south. The first two miles of the Elizabeth Lake trail are up hill with switchbacks that take you through a lodgepole pine forest and over creeks. Spring time will delight you with a variety of wildflowers, including mountain heather. After the first two miles the ground becomes more level and you pass through beautiful meadow areas with lodgepole pine and mountain hemlock. You will come upon Unicorn Creek that flows out from Elizabeth Lake and Unicorn Peak, which towers above the Lake. Melting snow from Unicorn Peak keeps the lake filled with cold mountain water. The area around the lake was carved by a glacier as was Yosemite Valley.

After the strenuous walk to Elizabeth Lake a dip in the cool waters can be enjoyed by hikers. If you brought your fishing gear, you can fish in the lake also. After your sightseeing you retrace your steps down the hill to Tuolumne Meadows.

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