Yosemite National Park

Hiking Yosemite Valley

Easy Hikes

Bridalveil Fall
Trailhead: Bridalveil Fall Parking Area
1/2 mile, 20 minutes round trip; Easy
Jampacked: views of Bridalveil Fall, El Capitan and Cathedral Rock in one quick jaunt.

Happy Isles
Trailhead: Happy Isles Nature Center Shuttle Stop #16
Approximately 1/2 mile, 20 minutes round trip; Easy
Happy Isles and the Nature Center provides family-centered exhibits, and wheelchair and stroller accessible paths that wind around the rushing Merced River. Ideal place for a family outing.

Lower Yosemite Fall
Trailhead: Yosemite Falls Shuttle Stop #7
1/2 mile, 20 minutes round trip; Easy
Impressive views of both the upper and lower falls are seen on the path to the base of the falls.Wheel chair accessible, with assistance.

Mirror Meadow
Trailhead: Mirror Lake/Meadow Shuttle Stop #17
3 miles, 1-2 hours round trip; Easy
Formerly known as Mirror Lake, before it silted up. But as always, a bucolic stroll.

Intermediate Hikes

Columbia Rock
Trailhead: Sunnyside Campground, Shuttle Stop #8
2 miles; 1 to 3 hours round trip
Strenuous; 1000' elevation gain
Roughly a quarter way to the top of Upper Yosemite Fall, this is an excellent goal in itself, with panoramic views of the valley.

Vernal -Nevada Falls Loop
Trailhead: Happy Isles, Shuttle Stop #16
6 miles; 2 to 4 hours loop
Strenuous; 1000' elevation gain
Arguably the most scenic hike in the park for its length. The first part of the hike is over a paved but steep trail (7/10 mile). This ends a bridge which affords a stunning view of Vernal Falls (bring a poncho). From then on you loop around Nevada Fall using whatever combination you choose of either the John Muir or the Mist Trail.

Advanced Hikes

Four Mile Trail
Trailhead: Southside Drive
4.8 miles, 3 to 4 hours one way
Very strenuous; 3200' elevation gain
This route takes you from Yosemite Valley to Glacier Point. Very scenic. Can be hiked in reverse, for a languid descent into the valley.

Half Dome
17 miles, 10 to 12 hours round trip
Most strenuous; 4800' elevation gain
Open late May to mid-Oct only
Yosemite's most distinctive feature, Half Dome, dominates the valley view. Half Dome rises 4,733 feet from the valley floor and at 87 million years old—believe it or not—is the youngest plutonic rock in the valley. A hike to the top of Half Dome provides the physically fit with a strenuous walk, intimidating climb and rewarding view.

Hiking in Yosemite
Yosemite Valley | Wawona | Tuolumne Meadows

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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