John Muir is credited with naming this basin which has several pretty lakes that are fairly close to each other. Wildflowers, Half Moon Meadow, and views down the Tuolumne River Canyon are among the highlights of this hike.
Where: Yosemite National Park
Distance: 12.73 Miles (depending on how many lakes you visit)
Difficulty: Moderate to Strenuous
Elevation Range: 7,308′ – 9,675′
Maps: Yosemite Falls, Ten Lakes
Date: June 20, 2013
Highlights: It is hard to believe that such a beautiful group of lakes in the 10 Lakes Basin can be reached by such a short hike. The trail starts in forest, then climbs, crossing granite with great views on the Tuolumne River Canyon and Mount Hoffman. Half Moon Meadow is a gorgeous big meadow that has trees hugging its boundaries. There is a steep portion, full of switchbacks where we found many different types of flowers blooming, and as you reach the top of these switchbacks, wowie, what a view!
We drove about 19.5 miles northeast from Crane Flat on Hwy 120 to find the well signed trailhead, which has parking on both sides of the road. It is located just before the highway crosses Yosemite Creek.
Just a short way up the trail, we started seeing wildflowers, which contrasted nicely with the green grass, and weathered logs.
What a beautiful view, looking up the trail, with the Paintbrush lining the way.
Half Moon Meadow
Starting up the trail toward the switchbacks
A panorama of the top of the hill.
Looking into the Tuolumne River Canyon.
And your first view of a lake in the Ten Lakes Basin.
Wildflowers lined the trail as it switched backed down into the Basin.
Is this the perfect lunch spot?
After lunch we worked our way up to another lake. I thought this pond scum was beautiful but have mentioned that to a couple of people and they think I am nuts.
I loved the smell of the pennyroyal that lined the trail in places. Here are a couple of picture of this fragrent plant that is a member of the mint family.
We headed back up and down the trail, noticing more wildflowers that had opened up since we had passed them in the morning.
I was really surprised b the diversity of colors and types of wildflowers on this hike in this dry year. It was well worth the hike but I can only imagine what the wildflower show would be like in a wetter year.
Yosemite National Park, A Complete Hiker’s Guide, Jeffrey P. Schaffer, May 2008