I’m skipping our Half Dome Hike Day for a moment here because I want to write a longer post about that later, and instead moving to the day after our big hike. We opted to start our day with a 7(ish)-mile loop to Mirror Lake, in The Valley. Parking in The Valley can be tough, so try to get their early. We found a great parking spot near the dog-boarding facility (which is surprisingly low-cost if you’re looking for a place to board your dog while you hike for the day!) and made our hike as long as we wanted it to be. That’s the great thing about The Valley … all of the trails do sort of connect in one way or another, so it’s easy to turn a lot of the shorter ones into something longer if that’s what you’re looking for!
Mirror Lake is actually not even a lake at all! It’s a seasonal pool … so if you plan to check it out in the fall or winter, you probably won’t see any water at all! Which is a real shame, because the reflective surface (the whole reason it’s called Mirror Lake!) is really out of this world. It sits right between the walls of both Half Dome and North Dome in it’s own little valley, and is a very popular spot for visitors to spend the day jumping off of rocks and swimming. It almost looks like one of those old ads from the park from the 60s…like you sort of teleport back in time when you see it.
The most popular image of Mirror Lake shows Mt. Watkins perfectly reflected in the water below …
We kept hiking past the busier part to spend some time by a really beautiful river and bridge … Jim spotted it as the perfect painting/snack spot!
And just as a little bonus, I couldn’t pass up sharing this cute little Cairn Garden! I know people have a lot of opinions of Cairns out in the wild, but this is almost more of an art installation, which I found very cool. And as someone who hikes poorly-marked trails from time to time, I am always grateful when I come across a Cairn in the wild to keep me on trail!
thanks for stopping by for more photos!