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Lukens Lake

Yosemite National Park

August 6th, 2010

2.0 miles
310 vertical feet
Total Time: 2:38

Starting elevation
8119 feet
Max elevation
8396 feet

Rating: 8/10

Directions: From White Wolf campground, take Tioga Road east for a couple miles. The Lukens Lake trailhead is on the left, but the parking lot is on the right.   View Driving Map

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GPX File

As we prepped in the parking lot, three fishermen started off on the hike ahead of us. We would see them later at the lake, but I'm not sure if they caught anything. We crossed the road and then started off on the trail to Lukens Lake, shortly passed by another group of 4 hikers. Other than those people at the start, though, we didn't encounter a lot of other hikers. A few, to be sure, but not as many as I would expect for a lake so close to the road.

Trailhead mileage sign

The trail immediately crosses a little stream -- small enough that you can probably jump across. The trail then climbs steadily through the forest. The lake sits about 30 feet higher than the trailhead. From the trailhead, the trail climbs about 150 feet in elevation, then flattens out briefly before descending about 120 feet to the edge of a meadow and stream. There's a sign here explaining that the trail was rerouted in 2008 to help restore the meadow. The sign tells people to stay on the trail to the left of the lake, instead of going to the right like the old trail used to.

Hiking up the trail

Wildflowers at the edge of the meadow

The trail turns left, then follows the edge of the meadow which was filled with wildflowers when we visited. Soon, the lake is visible ahead, to the right, past some trees. We soon came to the lake edge, passing by the three fishermen we'd seen earlier. We continued to the end of the lake, then crossed over a small stream before turning right to continue on the other side of the lake.

Hiking past corn lilies

Meadow and edge of lake

Lukens Lake

We stopped at a spot next to the lake where the trail veers left and heads toward White Wolf campground, about 2.5 miles away. While we ate lunch, we noticed mosquitoes, ants, and lots of dragonflies and damselflies of various species. While we enjoyed the scenery, there were only about 10 other people around the lake, spread out along the shore.

Lukens Lake

Western shore of Lukens Lake


A large group of people came as we left, however. We returned the same way we came. When we got to the sign at the edge of the meadow, we ran into a park ranger, who we would later find out was doing the campfire program at White Wolf that night. It looked like she was taking pictures of some of the wildflowers in the meadow. We chatted briefly, then headed back to the trailhead.

Heading back

Lukens Lake reflection

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