Leisurely Hikes in Yosemite

Tuolumne Meadows and the Tioga Road
Upper Cathedral Lake
Cathedral Peak's uneroded"steeples" rise above Upper Cathedral Lake

The Sierra Nevada is the longest and most extensively trailed mountain range in the United States. With its complex valley-ridge makeup, its lofty escarpment, and its mild weather, it is a backpacker's paradise unequaled in intrinsic beauty and scenic grandeur. Much of the finest scenery and the best fishing lie in the backcountry, accessible only by trail. There has been, therefore, a growing trend toward wilderness trips.

Galen Clark, Yosemite's beloved"Old man of the Valley," was once asked how he "got about" the park. Clark scratched his beard, and then replied, "Slowly!" Thus, the following hiking descriptions are based on a leisurely pace in order that hikers can absorb more of the sights, smells and "feel" of the country they have come to see. The pace may not be overwhelming, but Old Man Clark lived to a ripe old age of 96 and it behooves us to follow in his footsteps.

Yosemite is a magic name, famous worldwide. But when most people think of Yosemite, they think Yosemite Valley, which is all too crowded. Hardly anyone knows that it is possible to spend a week in the backcountry of northern Yosemite and not see anyone. There is no guarantee of this, but it is possible, especially if you spend the week off-trail somewhere.

Most of the acres in Yosemite National Park are officially declared wilderness, where people are only visitors and their works are absent. You should take advantage of that fact. Almost a thousand miles of trails will help you do so.

View: Best Leisurely Hikes in Yosemite National Park Map

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 7 Jul 2011
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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