Place Name: Tuolomne County/Mono County
Place Description: State: California
Elevation: 11,004 Feet
Prominence: 484 Feet
Elevation Gain: 1,043 Feet
Easy Bag In Yosemite
The trail lies about 20 feet past the east entrance to Yosemite National Park and is easily bypassed for other trails in the area. Gaylor Peak offers a quick and easy summit, very kid friendly. The basin offers multiple lakes and pretty good fishing.
- Easy trail
- Beautiful lakes
- Can be done in under an hour
- Semi-busy trail
- No summit register
- Close to highway
Two words are synonymous with Yosemite National Park – beautiful and crowded. If you are looking for solitude in this wonderland of granite and forest, you will need to get deep into the back country. The next best option is finding some of the lesser traveled trails. Gaylor Lakes Trail is one of those.
The trail lies about 20 feet past the east entrance gate on Tioga Pass. There is a small parking area, restroom, and pay phone (yes, you read that!) at the trail head. With high start elevation of 9,960 feet, you enter the high country fast!
While this trail receives far less visitors than most, the lot will still most likely be full and you will not be alone out there. The first half mile gives a nice climb up into the 10,000 foot region and crests at a high pass. The main trail heads down to the first Gaylor Lake, while off to the right lies Gaylor Peak. Here you will spot a faint use trail headed its way. From here we traveled across the open country towards the peak. The use trail disappears into the rocks and you will need to choose your route, however, it’s all easy class 1 walking up to the high point.
The views up here are spectacular at the 11,004 summit. Tioga Peak lies directly to the east, while Excelsior Mountain can be seen to the left of that. Mount Dana stands 2,000 feet higher right across the highway. To the west you have an amazing view of the Gaylor Lakes and Granite Lakes chains. Beyond the lakes Mount Hoffmann stands in off in the distance.
This is a very easy trail and would be a great place to hike with small kids. The short distance, the amount of lakes, and easy access to fishing would make this a fantastic family outing and should be on your list when traveling over Tioga Pass!
Don’t forget your fishing gear!
After bagging the summit, we dropped down to the first lake where I did some fishing and caught a pair of beautiful brook trout. I have been reading that all of the lakes in this basin are great for fishing.