Tuolumne Grove and Nature Trail. 2.5 miles (4 km) round trip; 500- foot (152-m) elevation gain on the return trip. 1-2 hours.
Begin at Tuolumne Grove parking lot at Crane Flat on Tioga Road. Follow the Old Big Oak Flat Road—one of the first roads into Yosemite Valley—steeply down 0.8 mile (1.3 km) through sugar pines and white firs to the “Entering the Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias” sign. The first sequoia is 0.2 mile (0.3 km) past the sign. To see more sequoias, follow established trails through the grove. Take a 0.5-mile (0.8-km) nature trail through the grove to learn more about these giant trees. Begin the trail at the Tunnel Tree, then bear left down the road, and cross the bridge at the right side of the picnic area. To return to the parking area, take the road uphill. The road downhill continues 4.5 miles (7.2 km) to the Hodgdon Meadow area.
Merced Grove - 3 miles (4.8 km) round trip; 520- foot (158-m) elevation gain on return. 1-3 hours.
Begin at Merced Grove parking lot on Big Oak Flat Road. This trail follows an old road that curves down into the Merced Grove, the smallest and most secluded of Yosemite’s three sequoia groves. Follow the trail for 0.6 miles (1 km), then bear left at the junction. An old cabin, the former summer retreat of park superintendents, is part of the grove’s history. Look for dogwoods blooming here in the spring.
Lukens Lake from White Wolf - 4.6 miles (7.4 km) round trip; 400- foot (122-m) elevation gain. 2-3 hours.
Begin across from White Wolf Lodge. Follow the trail through a mixed conifer forest to Lukens Lake, a small mountain lake surrounded by a meadow. The trail crosses the Middle Fork of the Tuolumne River and is wet and muddy until early August. At the lake, shooting stars and dozens of other species of wildflowers abound, often through July. Please stay on designated trails to protect the meadow.
Harden Lake - 5.8 miles (9.3 km) round trip; 355-foot (122-m) elevation gain on the return trip. 2-4 hours.
Begin across from White Wolf Lodge. Hike along a gravel road—part of the original Tioga Road—that follows the Middle Fork of the Tuolumne River for part of the route. At a trail junction 1.75 miles (2.8 km) down the road, follow the signs to the lake. The trail passes by small granite domes and through a forest of red fir and lodgepole pine to reach boulder-dotted Harden Lake.
Optional loop to the edge of the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne River. 8.4 miles (13.5 km)loop.
1,000-foot (305-m) elevation gain on the return trip. 5-8 hours.
Beyond Harden Lake, descend into a large aspen grove full of seasonal flowers, which can be wet and muddy until early August. At the next trail junction, 1.3 miles (2 km) from Harden Lake, turn south towards Lukens Lake and continue towards the White Wolf junction for 2.7 miles (4.3 km). Follow the trail 0.8 miles (1.3 km) back to White Wolf Lodge.
May Lake - 2.4 miles (3.9 km) round trip. 485-foot (148-m) elevation gain. 1-2 hours.
Begin at the May Lake parking area, 1.75 miles (2.8 km) north of Tioga Road. A short trail leads through a conifer forest and across granite slabs to reach May Lake. Enjoy views of Half Dome and surrounding mountains on the way.