Visiting Tenaya Lake: Camping, Swimming, Fishing, Kayaking & Other Info

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Updated 1/1/2019

Tenaya Lake is one of Yosemite’s largest and most beautiful bodies of water, familiar to many a traveler on the Tioga Road as a place to lounge, photograph, fish—even swim. During a typical winter, the lake is buried under the heaps of high-country snow characteristic of the High Sierra. However, once in a blue moon, lucky wintertime visitors get to glimpse Tenaya Lake in another frigid guise, one somehow appropriate for a basin scooped out by glaciers. If mountain snow is slow to accumulate or otherwise sparse, the iced-over lake may be fully exposed and—as long as the road’s similarly clear—unusually accessible. The rare phenomenon occurred as recently as last year, so you may have an opportunity again this season to witness it.

A Special Visit to a Frozen Tenaya Lake

When it happens, a snow-free, frozen Tenaya Lake is something to be experienced—and celebrated. That celebration can take many forms: You may well see people ice-skating and playing hockey—8,150 feet up in the Sierra Nevada, no less—against an unbeatable backdrop of looming granite domes and ridges. Equally rewarding, though, is simply marveling at the patterns and structures of the ice itself, strung with cracks, heaves, and bubbles. Because there’s no snow to muffle the sound, frozen Tenaya Lake speaks in enigmatic—and unforgettable—groans and creaks. When Will It Happen Again? So if you’re comfortably nestled at a Scenic Wonders rental this winter, keep abreast of current conditions and find out whether Tenaya Lake is again free of its normal snowy coat. Those who’ve trekked to see its icy glaze cupped in a massive rocky embrace often call it a once-in-a-lifetime experience. There’s always the chance that you’ll luck out, too!

Make Your Yosemite Reservations Today

If you’re looking to explore Yosemite, start planning your trip with Yosemite’s Scenic Wonders. We offer Yosemite reservations within the gates of the park. With one of our cozy cabins, condominiums, or homes, your Yosemite lodging will be just minutes from all the wonderful spots in Yosemite. Give us a call at 1-888-YOSEMITE (1-888-967-3648) to learn about our rentals and to make your Yosemite reservations today.

Yosemite National Park Blog

Scenic Wonders’ Yosemite blog provides the latest news related to Yosemite National Park. By reading our blog, you’ll stay up to date on activities, accommodations, and more. Image: Jeff Pang

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