Author Topic: Gaylor & Granite Lakes Loop – Yosemite  (Read 23398 times)

wshawkins

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Gaylor & Granite Lakes Loop – Yosemite
« on: January 18, 2013, 12:43:17 PM »
Gaylor & Granite Lakes Loop – Yosemite



This is one of my favorite hikes in Yosemite.  Highlights of this trip include good fishing in all lakes, see a cool silver/gold mine ruins, great views of granite peaks, and many native flowers in season.  This is one of them hikes you come back to time and time again.  This trip is from Late September 2012.



Gaylor Lakes Trailhead




Start the loop trail at the Gaylor Lake Trailhead that is just a few yards from the Tioga Pass entrance station.  The first 0.7 mile of the hike is a bit steep but a steady shady climb up the ridge on a trail that features dozens of stone steps. 



First look at Middle Gaylor Lake




Once on the ridge, the trail drops down to the Middle Gaylor Lake.  You could fish this lake now but I save this lake for last as the loop trail comes back here! 



Middle Gaylor Lake




Keep to your right of Middle Gaylor Lake and take the steady but easy climb to Upper Gaylor Lake.  Upper Gaylor has Brookies up to 10”. 



Upper Gaylor Lake




Small Brook Trout out of Upper Gaylor Lake




Trail up to the Dana Ruins




Dana City Ruins




Continue on the loop and keep to your left around Upper Gaylor Lake and hike up the hill to the ruins of the Great Sierra Mine and Dana Village (See the full story on the “Great Sierra Mine”  http://www.rockcreeklake.com/board/index.php?topic=359.0).  After you investigate the ruins, Adits and cool equipment left behind, take off-trail over the ridge due west from Dana Village to Upper Granite Lake. 



Upper Granite Lake is in this Cirque




Upper Granite Lake




Upper Granite Lake lies at the base of the cirque just behind Lower Granite.  Upper Granite Lake has the most scenic features in the valley and dreamlike views.  Also makes a good lunch stop and as a bonus, has the largest and fattest fish on this loop with Brookies up to 14”. 



Nice Size Brookies in Upper Granite Lake




Once you’re done with fishing and lunch, take the spur trail down to beautiful Lower Granite Lake next.  You may want to wet your line here with Brookies up to 11”. 



Lower Granite Lake




Colorful Brookie out of Lower Granite Lake




Hike to the outlet of Lower Granite Lake and again take off-trail due east back to Middle Gaylor Lake.  Middle Gaylor Lake had the best fishing action of all the lakes, with Brookies up to 13” but average about 10”. 



Middle Gaylor Lake




Brookie out of Middle Gaylor Lake




When you’re through for the day, head back down the trail to the trailhead parking lot.  Distance for the loop is about 6 miles round trip.  Add another 1.5 miles to the loop if you wish to add Lower Gaylor Lake to your hike.


For those who fish, this is an outing where you can easily land 50 + fish in a day or more.  They were inhaling Elk Hair Caddis, Gnats and Parachute Adams flies on my last fall trip there.  All the lakes hold aggressive and colorful brook trout.  Even though this is in Yosemite and it gets it share of hikers, most end their hike at Middle Gaylor Lake.  If you take the loop you will probably not see another person until you return back to Middle Gaylor Lake.  As for fishing pressure, the two times I fished here this year I saw only one fisherman.  The lone fisherman was at Middle Gaylor Lake and he was all of 6 years old.  His Dad was obvious teaching his son how to fish, with Mom close by sitting on a stump with a smile on her face.  Yes, a good day to make memories!



Middle and Upper Gaylor Lakes






"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."

Gary C.

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Re: Gaylor & Granite Lakes Loop – Yosemite
« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2013, 11:13:51 PM »
That looks like a great way to spend a day, awesome dayhike!

wshawkins

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Re: Gaylor & Granite Lakes Loop – Yosemite
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2013, 07:39:44 AM »
Here is a map of the hike if you decide to take the loop route.

"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."

fishpole

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Re: Gaylor & Granite Lakes Loop – Yosemite
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2013, 08:58:31 AM »
Some nice catches. Thanks for the report and pictures.  :clap:

Gary C.

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Re: Gaylor & Granite Lakes Loop – Yosemite
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2013, 11:56:35 PM »
Thanks for the map. I've been thinking about trying to put an extra long weekend together and spend it on dayhikes like this. Something like 20 lakes Basin, somewhere out of Tuolumne, and now maybe this hike. I'm not sure when I'll have time but it would make for a great 4-5 day trip.

wshawkins

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Re: Gaylor & Granite Lakes Loop – Yosemite
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2013, 08:46:51 AM »
Tioga Pass area, where this hike is located, is one of the best fly-fishing areas I fished.  I take this loop trip just about every year.  If you go and it’s a windy day, head to the Granite lakes as it’s better protected from the wind because it’s in a cirque (surrounded with mountains on three sides). 

Upper Granite was the hardest to fish but most satisfying of all the lakes.  The fish spooked easily, so stealth approach is advised.  Had the biggest fish and only lake where dry flies were the most effective.

The whole Tioga Pass area is amazing, with maybe a 100 lakes within 5 miles of this spot.  Maybe a dozen or more lakes that have fish than run north of 14”, which include brook, rainbow, brown and goldens.  Does it get any better than that!



A low Tioga Lake from Tioga Peak

"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."

fishpole

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Re: Gaylor & Granite Lakes Loop – Yosemite
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2013, 03:34:21 PM »
Good info and thanks for the map. :clap: :clap: :clap:

John Harper

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Re: Gaylor & Granite Lakes Loop – Yosemite
« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2013, 10:03:01 AM »
Yes, upper Granite Lake reminds me of a huge rock swimming pool.  I had a huge brookie attack my gold Fiord Jr. at the very end of my retrieve, came shooting out of a crevice in the large rock that juts out into the lake.

On the other hand, I find lower Granite more scenic, almost looks like it was landscaped by Disney.  Beautiful views of Yosemite from the end of the lake.

Lower Gaylore is pretty decent, although it can be extremely muddy in wet years.  Often will find pockets of brookies where cast after cast gets a fish.

One of my favorites as well, the mining camp is totally rad.

John

wshawkins

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Re: Gaylor & Granite Lakes Loop – Yosemite
« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2013, 07:32:23 AM »
You ask 5 different people what lake on this loop is nicest you probably get five different answers.  Everyone has their favorite, including my family members!

More pictures:


Upper Granite Lake



Lower Granite Lake



Lower Granite Lake outlet on dry year
"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."

wshawkins

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Re: Gaylor & Granite Lakes Loop – Yosemite
« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2013, 02:54:13 PM »
Another photo of Lower Granite Lake. 


"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."

wshawkins

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Re: Gaylor & Granite Lakes Loop – Yosemite
« Reply #10 on: January 23, 2013, 06:49:50 AM »
And here's Lower Gaylor Lake, maybe the less traveled to lake of the group of five lakes.



"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."

John Harper

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Re: Gaylor & Granite Lakes Loop – Yosemite
« Reply #11 on: January 23, 2013, 12:34:55 PM »
My buddy dropped his hemostats into a split rock on the shore of lower Gaylor.  Two summers later I was on a solo trip and decided to take a coat hanger with me.  Got the hemos back after they wintered over twice.  It really is an incredibly beautiful basin, one of my favorites for sure.
John

wshawkins

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Re: Gaylor & Granite Lakes Loop – Yosemite
« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2013, 07:29:13 AM »
One last little advise if you plan on fishing these lakes.  You can enter Yosemite National Park and pay the 20$ fee and park at the trailhead, or you can park free just before entering the park.  There is a parking on your right about 200 feet from the fee station.  No reason to pay if your just visiting the lakes.  There is room for 20-30 vehicles at least.  But if you plan on seeing more of the park, the entrance fee is good for seven days in Yosemite.  Have fun!


Park here before entering Yosemite if just here for the loop trail
"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."

Gary C.

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Re: Gaylor & Granite Lakes Loop – Yosemite
« Reply #13 on: January 24, 2013, 09:19:03 AM »
Thanks for the tip.

fishpole

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Re: Gaylor & Granite Lakes Loop – Yosemite
« Reply #14 on: January 24, 2013, 12:18:05 PM »
Good info, too bad we have to pay to enter what we already paid for. HMMM . Soon there will be a fee for opening our eyes after entering what we paid for twice.

John Harper

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Re: Gaylor & Granite Lakes Loop – Yosemite
« Reply #15 on: January 25, 2013, 08:41:59 AM »
I usually park on the side of the road where people are leaving Yosemite, a lot easier than trying to turn around when people are lined up going into the park.  Also, don't just enter in front of the rangers, or you'll get charged $10 for walking in.  I try to get there well before the entrance is open.

My buddy and a girlfriend got tagged for $10 each by walking in and getting stopped.  Just hike around the entrance and avoid any hassle.

John

wshawkins

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Re: Gaylor & Granite Lakes Loop – Yosemite
« Reply #16 on: January 26, 2013, 07:31:29 AM »
Good point John.  Yeah, you cannot walk in front of the rangers or they will want some $$.  Just walk around.
"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."

charlie

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Re: Gaylor & Granite Lakes Loop – Yosemite
« Reply #17 on: January 26, 2013, 02:25:00 PM »
Looks like a great fishing  hike. Just may do that one this year. Thanks!!!!


Charlie

wshawkins

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Re: Gaylor & Granite Lakes Loop – Yosemite
« Reply #18 on: January 27, 2013, 07:19:59 AM »
Hope you do take this trip later this year!  And welcome to the Rock Creek Message Board charlie!   :clap:
"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."

bj

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Re: Gaylor & Granite Lakes Loop – Yosemite
« Reply #19 on: January 27, 2013, 12:28:08 PM »
Haven't been to those lakes for a few years but have to agree it's a great spot. Steep but short hike.
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Hardrock

wshawkins

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Re: Gaylor & Granite Lakes Loop – Yosemite
« Reply #20 on: January 27, 2013, 02:17:39 PM »
Yes, its steep in the beginning ...................................................................







But worth it for the views alone!  Good fishing is just the cherry on top!



"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."

charlie

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Re: Gaylor & Granite Lakes Loop – Yosemite
« Reply #21 on: January 27, 2013, 06:00:51 PM »
Thanks for the greeting WS!  I was a member here before, and a lurker before that. I  changed computers and lost some data, including my sign in here.  I'll stay now, as I love the forum and the turf it covers. I'll post some pics from my most recent visits when I get a chance. I appreciate all the wonderful info to be found here and  how friendly everyone is. People here  were very helpful to my wife and I  going off trail into the Treasure Lakes  in 2011. We did a 50 mile loop in the GTW this past Sept., along with some other great fishing. Unfortunately we only did a drive up at Rock Creek. We'll be back this year!  I  use to live in June Lake , but never explored the Tioga area as much as I could have.  Have to fix that. Thanks again!

Charlie

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Re: Gaylor & Granite Lakes Loop – Yosemite
« Reply #22 on: January 27, 2013, 08:01:22 PM »
Charlie are you the same guy that traveled from the East Coast and posted a trip last summer If so welcome back! If not welcome aboard anyway!

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Re: Gaylor & Granite Lakes Loop – Yosemite
« Reply #23 on: January 27, 2013, 08:04:05 PM »
Charlie, I meant summer 2011.

wshawkins

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Re: Gaylor & Granite Lakes Loop – Yosemite
« Reply #24 on: January 28, 2013, 07:21:49 AM »
Welcome back charlie!  I remember your Treasure Lakes trip plus some of your fishing skills you shared.  Hope to hear more from you.
"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."