Lake Tenaya is an impossibly beautiful alpine lake in the center of the High Sierra of Yosemite National Park. It is located at an altitude of 8,149 feet and is about the most perfect place imaginable for a picnic, a hike or just to take a break from driving.
Some picnic tables are located at the parking areas at each end of Lake Tenaya and an easy 2-mile trail takes you along the southern shore. The trail starts from the sandy beach at the northeastern end of the lake.
Lake Tenaya’s Sandy Beach
The popular sandy beach of Lake Tenaya was created by an unusual phenomenon. The repeated freezing and thawing of the water in the lake gradually pushes sediment from the bottom of the lake toward the shore. That’s what the geologists says and whether it make sense to you or not the beach on Lake Tenaya couldn’t be more pleasant.[sam id=1 codes=’false’]
Lake Tenaya’s Ice Age Formation
Lake Tenaya, like many other lakes in the high country of Yosemite is the result of glaciers scooping out depressions in the granite and leaving debris to form natural dams. In the case of Lake Tenaya the ice was once over 2,000 feet deep and the resulting lake is up to 180 feet deep.
Lake Tenaya is named for the chief of the Ahwahneechee tribe that frequented the area.