We loved this hike from Mono Meadows to Ottoway Lakes... I agree that some of the other trails don't quite have the "vistas" that you get in other parts of the park, but this one is a winner! Here's an excerpt from a trail report on this area....it's from a website I am creating about backpacking in the sierra.
YOSEMITE: Illilouette Canyon to Ottaway Lakes:
Have you always wanted to take a nice trip off to a distant lake, nestled amid granite peaks, where you will find solitude, stunning beauty and great fishing? This trip is one to consider. We like doing it from the Mono Meadow trail head, for a couple of reasons: it's easier to get a permit for Mono Meadows, and it actually saves you about a mile on the trail in each direction. Plus you avoid the crowds and traffic of Glacier Point.
The trail leads down to Mono Meadows in a steep mile, then continues a less steep descent, crossing the Buena Vista trail into the Illilouette Canyon. From here it is a long gentle ascent up the canyon, through an area that burned about ten years ago, with some nice views of Mt. Starr King and the Clark Range. Once the trail wends its way back to the creek, there are lots of good campsites. Upper Merced Pass Lake is lovely, and the the final climb up to Lower Ottaway Lake is wonderful, with trees growing straight out of solid granite slabs. The photo shows Lower Ottaway Lake at sunset. And you can probably see fish rising...there were so many that it was hard to take the photo and get a clear reflection in the water. A note: this is above the fire limit, so no campfires are allowed. Which hasn't prevented some people from building fires. But it should.
You can have even more fun by following this trail up and over Red Peak Pass, and down the LIttle Yosemite Valley back to Happy Isles (or across the Panaroma Trail and back to Glacier Point.) But you will run into a lot more people there!
And here's a link to the website itself: comments, corrections, or criticism is warmly encouraged!