July 30, 2011

Yosemite Trail Run - Mirror Lake

During our family camping trip to Yosemite National Park a group of us did an early morning trail run. Since we were staying in Lower Pines campground in Yosemite Valley we began our run there and headed out towards Mirror Lake. We ran out of the campground and onto a main road running past Upper Pines Campground.  This road is used by park shuttle buses as well as pedestrians and bicycles to access the trailhead to Mirror Lake and makes a loop back to the campground. The loop also passes Happy Isles which has a nature center and is the entrypoint for hikes leaking up to Vernal Falls, Nevada Falls, Half Dome and other well known Yosemite destinations. Since it was early morning we didn't encounter any buses on the road. After just under half a mile we reached the trailhead for Mirror Lake. The trail here narrowed but was still paved. It was quiet and peaceful, it was nice to have the trail all to ourselves. We began to climb up here and continued to do so for a while. We started to feel the effects of running at over 4,000 feet. After about just over 1.5 miles we reached Mirror Lake. This body of water used to be much larger but it is really just a large pool now. It is called Mirror Lake because in it you can see reflections of the surrounding cliffs. This area can be very crowded in the summer time but this early in the morning we had it all to ourselves to enjoy. We continued past Mirror Lake onto Snow Creek Trail which was a rocky dirt trail. There were nice views of Half Dome from this trail. We turned back after we were just over 2 miles away from the campground and then retraced our steps back. It was great being out for a run in beautiful Yosemite National Park on a beautiful morning. The trail was great for a run but I'm sure all runs in the park would be beautiful.