Mirror Lake in Yosemite is one of the few places where it has been possible within a single human lifespan to observe Earth’s geology undergo a significant change.
As recently as the 1980s Mirror Lake was a lake surrounded by forest. Not very different from what the earliest Native Americans would have seen.
Mirror Lake to Mirror Pond
With recent erosion and flooding, however, Mirror Lake would more properly now be called Mirror Pond. What was so recently part of the lake is now Mirror Meadow. Today Mirror Lake is a little less spectacular than it once was but still worth the time and effort to visit.
Get off the shuttle bus at stop #17 and cross the Tenaya Creek Bridge and continue up the gentle sloping road to Mirror Lake. Chances are you will find few crowds and find peace and quite even in the middle of summer.
In spring the water level is usually still high enough to get the reflections the lake is so famous for. Walk along the east side of the lake in the morning and the west side in the afternoon to take advantage of the best light for reflections.
By late summer and fall the you make find the lake little more than a dry sandbar with a barely a trickle of water.
The lake originally formed when a rock slide created a natural dam at some unrecorded time in the dim past. The change in geology that is eliminating Mirror Lake is just the continuation of the constant natural process of change.[sam id=1 codes=’false’]
Mirror Lake Loop Trail Closed
As recently as 2009 a rock slide closed a section of the 5-mile loop trail around Mirror Lake valley and so it is not possible to completely circle the lake but even a partial walk around Mirror Lake is always rewarding.