Hiking in Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park is home to some of the most scenic and spectacular hikes in the world. Visitors travel from all corners of the world every year to marvel at the waterfalls and hike the famous trails. With over 800 miles of trails you are sure to keep yourself busy. Most visitors head straight for Yosemite Valley, but there are many great hikes in Wawona, Tuolumne Meadows and the Hetch Hetchy as well. Some of the most popular hikes include hiking Half Dome, the Mist Trail, The Panorama Trail, and Upper Yosemite Falls.
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Half Dome Hike
Half Dome Hike
Yosemite National Park, California, United States
 
Difficult: 15.7 miles, Full day
Yosemite National Park's iconic day hike, with stunning views over Yosemite Valley from the top of Half Dome.

Half Dome is the signature landmark of Yosemite National Park. “Average” people can accomplish the approximately 16-mile, 12-hour hike to the top of Yosemite’s signature landmark if they have three things: Education, Preparation and Motivation. This app will you with your education. I include advice on preparation – but you need to be in top...
The Mist Trail - Vernal and Nevada Falls
The Mist Trail - Vernal and Nevada Falls
Yosemite National Park, California, United States
 
Moderate: 6.5 miles, Half day
Hike to two breath-taking waterfalls along Yosemite Valley's most popular hiking trails

If you only have time for one hike while in Yosemite look no further: the Mist Trail is the hike for you. It is no wonder why this trail is one of the most popular trails in Yosemite Valley. You will hike so close to 2 massive waterfalls that it will be very difficult to avoid the mist from the falls. The best time to hike this trail is in Spring...
The Panorama Trail
The Panorama Trail
Yosemite National Park, California, United States
 
Difficult: 8.9 miles
A mostly-downhill hike with views of Half Dome, Nevada Fall, Vernal Fall, Yosemite Falls and the Yosemite Valley

There is no better hike in Yosemite National Park which offers the amazing views of Half Dome, Vernal Fall, Nevada Fall, Illilouette Fall, Yosemite Fall, and the entire Valley than the Panorama Trail. This 8.5-mile hike will take you on an adventure from Glacier Point, high above the valley, down to the Mist Trail where you will hike next to both Nevada...
Cathedral Lakes, Yosemite NP
Cathedral Lakes, Yosemite NP
California, United States
 
Moderate: 8.0 miles, Half day
Worship the great outdoors from the heart of Yosemite National Park.

Two superb Yosemite lakes await you from the Cathedral Lakes trailhead at the side of Tioga Road, inviting you to swap the throngs of car-bound visitors for relative peace and tranquility of calm waters, pine forest and granite peaks. Elevation gain: • 1,300ft (from 8,600 - 9,600ft) Tips: • Insects can be plentiful around the lakes, so be...
Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias
Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias
Wawona, California, United States
 
Moderate: 7.5 miles, Half day
Walk among the giants of Mariposa Grove in Yosemite and see some of the biggest and oldest sequoias in the world

No trip to Wawona is complete without spending a day exploring the giant sequoias of Mariposa Grove. This protected grove of trees is home to over 300 giant sequoias, some almost 2,000 years old! This walking tour will start at the base and take you all over the grove showing you the most popular trees in the area while giving you a lesson on the...
May Lake
May Lake
Yosemite National Park, California, United States
 
Easy: 1.3 miles, 1-3 hours
An easy day hike or overnighter to a popular and beautiful subalpine lake.

The hike to May Lake is a bit of the essence of Yosemite -- expansive views over granite peaks, a sparkling blue lake set below 10,000' Mount Hoffmann, a subalpine forest, and, well, other people. This is not where you go for a solitary backcountry escape - but it is a delightful and beautiful place to take someone for their first backpacking trip or...
Clouds Rest
Clouds Rest
Yosemite National Park, California, United States
 
Difficult: 12.1 miles, Full day
The best place to enjoy the view of Half Dome from the top.

Cloud's Rest, a massive granite formation just northeast of Half Dome in Yosemite Valley, is famous for its very high degree of visual prominence in the valley as well as its razor-sharp ridge near the summit. For people who have hiked Cloud's Rest, they are most impressed with the thrilling feeling they have while scrambling up the narrow ridge, with...
Ten Lakes at Yosemite National Park
Ten Lakes at Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park, California, United States
 
Moderate: 22 miles, Multiple days
A three-night, 22-mile hike in the Ten Lakes area of Yosemite National Park

This route could be done in two or three days, or you can keep it easy by hiking four easy days. This route starts at Tenaya Lake and ends where 120 crosses Yosemite Creek, so it may be best to leave a car at the end before beginning. Parking at Tenaya Lake is on the shoulder of the road, and the shoulder gets crowded on a busy weekend in the summer....
Lukens Lake
Lukens Lake
Yosemite National Park, California, United States
Easy: 1.3 miles, 1-3 hours
An easy escape to a flower-filled meadow off the Tioga Road.

Lukens Lake is a short walk to a lake that explodes into fields of wildflowers in-season. It's the perfect length for a quick leg-stretch after, or before, a long time in the car and is a great excursion for small hikers who want to explore their Yosemite. Lukens Lake isn't your "typical" Yosemite trip of soaring peaks and expansive views but it's beautiful...
Lower Yosemite Falls
Lower Yosemite Falls
Yosemite National Park, California, United States
 
Easy: 0.3 miles, 1 hour or less
A quick stroll to see the tallest waterfall in Northern America crash down on the rocks below

Yosemite Falls is the highest waterfall in North America, and 5th in the world, with a total of 2,425ft of elevation loss from top to bottom. Because the vertical drop is so long, it does not look like the water is falling very quickly because the wind often blows it sideways. In fact, it is so far down that it is separated into 3 separate sections,...
Mirror Lake
Mirror Lake
Yosemite National Park, California, United States
 
Easy: 2.5 miles, 1-3 hours
An easy walk in Yosemite National Park with reflections of Half Dome and wildflowers all around.

If you are looking for an easy hike to escape the larger crowds in Yosemite Valley look no further than the Mirror Lake Hike. It only takes a short while along this 2-mile out-and-back hike, but you may find yourself spending all day at the river admiring the wonderful scenery.
Upper Yosemite Fall Hike
Upper Yosemite Fall Hike
Yosemite National Park, California, United States
 
Difficult: 6.1 miles, Full day
Enjoy the thrilling views of looking down from the top of Yosemite Fall.

Yosemite Fall, dropping 2,425 feet to the bottom of the valley from the top, is one of the most visited places in Yosmite National Park. The fall consists of three sections: upper falls, middle cascade and lower falls. While most people visit lower falls only, upper falls is definely worthy of visiting for its eye-opening views and hiker's self-satisfaction...
Trailspotting Half Dome, Yosemite National Park
Trailspotting Half Dome, Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park, California, United States
 
Difficult: 15.5 miles, Full day
Yosemite's world-class hike. Equal parts challenging and breathtaking, this is the one trail you'll never forget.

It's difficult to approach Yosemite's Half Dome without a sense of trepidation. Perhaps it's the 15½ mile hike and 4,800ft elevation gain? Perhaps it's the worry of the vertigo you might experience on the cables? Or maybe it's just the dread of the Yosemite crowds. Whatever your concerns may be, they shouldn't keep you from missing out on one...
Sierra Point
Sierra Point
Yosemite National Park, California, United States
Difficult: 1.4 miles, 1-3 hours
Sierra Point is an old viewpoint on the eastern end of Yosemite Valley from which you can see four waterfalls.

Sierra Point is a rocky outcropping across from Glacier Point from which there is a view of four waterfalls: Vernal, Nevada, Illilouette, and Yosemite Falls. It is (barely) accessible via a now-defunct trail that connects to the JMT just outside of Happy Isles. It was closed years ago due to rock fall and is no longer maintained, signed, or added to...
Pohono Trail: Glacier Point to Dewey Point
Pohono Trail: Glacier Point to Dewey Point
Yosemite National Park, California, United States
 
Moderate: 18.2 miles, Multiple days
Excursion above Yosemite Valley with spectacular views all around.

Yosemite Valley is great to see with hundreds of other tourists atop Glacier Point, but doesn't everyone just like to be exposed alone in the wilderness every once and awhile? Dewey Point is much less of an attraction, but provides a very nice view of the valley. Parking at Glacier Point, and with stops along the way at Sentinel Dome and Taft Point,...
Bridalveil Fall
Bridalveil Fall
Yosemite National Park, California, United States
 
Easy: 0.2 miles, 1 hour or less
A quick walk to a stunning waterfall, believed to be the home to the protector of Yosemite Valley

If you were paying attention when you drove into Yosemite Valley (and I hope you were), you likely would have noticed Bridalveil Fall on the right side. The waterfall is appropriately named: when there is enough wind, the mist looks like the veil a bride might wear. The Ahwahneechee tribe believed the fall to be the home of a spirit which protected...
Old Big Oak Flat Road
Old Big Oak Flat Road
Yosemite National Park, California, United States
Moderate: 3.0 miles, 1-3 hours
Solitude in Yosemite Valley

Old Big Oak Flat road used to be the access road to the valley until it was deemed to be too unsafe and eventually destroyed by rockfall. Today it is an interesting hike (partially on the old pavement, partially scrambling and route finding over rock fall) with great views of the Valley sights.
Elizabeth Lake - Yosemite National Park
Elizabeth Lake - Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park, California, United States
 
Easy: 4.6 miles, 1-3 hours
An glacier-carved alpine lake located at the base of Unicorn Peak offers scenic views and tranquility.

Elizabeth Lake (9,487 feet) is located at the base of Unicorn Peak (10,823 feet) and easily accesible from the Tuolumne Meadows campgroud. The Elizabeth Lake trail begins in the B loop of the campground, rises gradually along Unicorn Creek for about 2.3 miles and gains 1,000 feet in elevation change to reach the lake. You need to cross the creek to...
Upper Young Lakes Loop
Yosemite National Park, California, United States
 
Moderate: 14.9 miles, Full day
Loop trail from Tuolumne Meadows to Upper Young Lake and return.

This is a classic Sierra Nevada high country trek, complete with subalpine forests, exposed granite outcroppings, and pristine glacial cirque lakes. Start the hike from the Lembert Dome parking lot. Follow the dirt road at the west end of the parking lot past the stables to Parson's Lodge. Just north of the lodge you'll pick up the trail to Glen...
Inspiration Point, Yosemite NP
Inspiration Point, Yosemite NP
Yosemite National Park, California, United States
 
Easy: 2.5 miles, 1-3 hours
Be inspired to swap the Tunnel View crowds for a serene way to experience Yosemite's signature vista.

If the Tunnel View crowds are getting between you and one of Yosemite's most famous viewpoints, consider the short hike up to Inspiration Point where you can admire this signature Yosemite Valley scene on your lonesome. Before the 1930s construction of the Wawona Tunnel and the adjacent parking area, this road heading out of Yosemite Valley snaked...
Lyell Canyon-Vogelsang Loop
Lyell Canyon-Vogelsang Loop
Yosemite National Park, California, United States
Moderate: 20 miles, Multiple days
A tramp through the heart of Yosemite's Cathedral Range.

This delightful trip takes you through some of the most accessible and spectacular parts of Yosemite's High Country and its glacier-carved landscapes. It can be done as either an "independent" backpacking trip or through Yosemite's High Sierra Camps, providing meals and shelter at the Vogelsang High Sierra Camp in-season. You start out from the Tuolumne...
Ostrander Lake
Ostrander Lake
Yosemite National Park, California, United States
 
Difficult: 12.4 miles, Full day
A 12-mile our and back hike to Ostrander Lake in Yosemite National Park

This is a 12.4 mile out and back hike to Ostrander Lake with about 1617 ft. of elevation gain, from 7000 ft to over 8600 ft. The trail head is located off Glacier Point rd. The first 3 miles of the hike are relatively flat. After 3 miles, the next 3 miles climbed at about a 10% grade. The mountain crests at about 5 3/4 mi then drops down to Ostrander...
McGurk Meadow
McGurk Meadow
Yosemite National Park, California, United States
 
Easy: 2.0 miles, 1-3 hours
An easy hike through a beautiful meadow full of wildflowers in Yosemite National Park

If you are looking for one of the best hikes in Yosemite to see beautiful wildflowers up close, this is the hike for you. The hike can be as short as 1.5 miles or as long as 4 (or longer if you continue to Dewey point). You will lose around 100 feet of elevation while hiking down to the meadow, which you will need to make up on the way back. Just...
Turtleback Dome
Turtleback Dome
Yosemite National Park, California, United States
Easy: 1.3 miles, 1 hour or less
Treat yourself to views of Half Dome and the Valley below with no crowds and the view to yourself.

An easy, short hike up an access road to a nice viewpoint of Yosemite Valley below in the distance. From the top of Turtleback Dome you are treated to views of Half Dome and the Valley below. It’s a similar perspective as Tunnel View but you won’t be fighting for space to get a photo. Look to the north for a view across to Big Oak Flat road and...
Yosemite Point
Yosemite Point
Yosemite Village, California, United States
 
Difficult: 8.4 miles, Full day
A great viewpoint to provide fantatisc views of Yosemite Valley land features, including Half Dome and Lost Arrow Spire.

Yosemite Point (6,939 ft.), a mountain cliff stands right to Yosemite Fall , provides great and unobstructed views on the Yosemite Valley area. To get there, you need to hike the Upper Yosmetite Fall Trail to the top of the valley, cross Yosemite Creek, then follow the North Dome trail to the juncton for it. The trail head to the Upper Yosemite Fall...
4 Mile Trail - Yosemite
4 Mile Trail - Yosemite
Yosemite Village, California, United States
 
Difficult: 10.0 miles, Half day
Valley floor to Glacier Point

This trip starts out of Yosemite Valley floor and is about 9.4 miles round trip and 3300ft elevation change. This is a difficult hike. The GPS trail on this hike is off on the trip up, but accurate on the downside trip. Parking is available on the side of the road, but you will have to compete with people stopping to look and enjoy the scenery....
Day hike to Mt. Dana.
Day hike to Mt. Dana.
Yosemite National Park, California, United States
Difficult: 5.2 miles, Half day
A day hike to Mt. Dana, the second highest mountain in Yosemite National Park, at an elevation of 13061 feet.

Mt. Dana is relatively easily accessible 13000+ ft peak and is the second highest in Yosemite National Park (Mt. Lyell is the highest one). The trail head is located right next to the East entrance of the Yosemite National Park. There are no trail markers or maps but there is an unofficial use trail to the top and is pretty easy to follow. The trail...
Tuolumne River
Tuolumne River
California, United States
 
Easy: 1.6 miles, 1 hour or less
Enjoy a relaxing break to the sounds of the Tuolumne River after this short hike through the meadow

The hike is short but sweet, and offers a great view of Tuolumne Meadows, especially during spring when the snow has melted and the wild flowers are out on full force. You will start by walking through the meadow, between Pothole Dome and the Tuolumne River, before reaching a few cascades of the Tuolumne River where you can sit in the shade, soak your...
Mount Conness
Mount Conness
Yosemite National Park, California, United States
Difficult: 9.0 miles, Full day
A classic Yosemite peak, highest in the Sierra north of Highway 120 and holding the second largest glacier in Yosemite.

This track was taken on a Labor Day 2010 climb of Mount Conness. The approach via class 2 pass between Conness and White. Descent via convoluted 2nd-3rd class east ridge route. This route starts from the Sawmill walk-in campground. If you walk through the campground you’ll eventually find yourself of a well-worn single track trail. It passes the...
Tioga Peak
Tioga Peak
Yosemite National Park, California, United States
Moderate: 2.9 miles, 1-3 hours
Tioga Peak is a nice and easy peak found near Tioga Pass just east of the Yosemite boundary.

An easy peak for those looking for a beginner's introduction to cross-country travel in the Sierra.  If you follow the northwestern ridge you will find a nice use trail. If you decide to continue on the trail to the lake first and then head up the slope, you’ll have to navigate through some brushy overgrowth. Although any approach is easy, the...
John Muir Trail: Tuolumne to Reds Meadow
John Muir Trail: Tuolumne to Reds Meadow
California, United States
 
Difficult: 34 miles, Multiple days
"Another glorious day, the air as delicious to the lungs as nectar to the tongue." - John Muir

So, you started off on the John Muir Trail in Yosemite Valley a few days ago and have spent some time replenishing your calories at the Tuolumne Grill, your supplies via the Store and your resupply box, and have made some friends (NOT the bears) at the Tuolumne Meadows backpacker camp. Now it's time to drag yourself away from civilization once again...
John Muir Trail: Happy Isles to Tuolumne Meadows
Difficult: 21 miles, Multiple days
"The mountains are calling and I must go." - John Muir

Welcome to the beginning of what is bound to be an epic adventure! The John Muir Trail begins in what could be called the Disneyland of National Parks - Yosemite Valley. If you are hiking this at the most popular time of year, you'll be starting off in the Valley with what might feel like each and every one of the park's 3.7 million annual visitors....
Chilnualna Falls
Chilnualna Falls
Yosemite National Park, California, United States
 
Difficult: 8.4 miles, Full day
Hike this lesser-known trail to discover Chilnualna Falls with a wading pool and cascades waiting at the top.

Chilnuala Falls is a well-kept secret in Yosemite, simply because the majority of visitors to Yosemite National Park don’t venture out of the Valley. If you are staying in Wawona, or have entered Yosemite through the South Entrance, then Chilnualna Falls is on your way down to the valley. Like most waterfall hikes in Yosemite (Lower Yosemite Falls...
Wawona Swinging Bridge
Wawona Swinging Bridge
Yosemite National Park, California, United States
 
Easy: 0.8 miles, 1-3 hours
A short flat hike to the swinging bridge over a slow-moving river with perfect pools for swimming.

This 1.5 mile out-and-back hike will take you to a swinging wooden bridge with some great pools to swim in and lay in the afternoon sun. There is also a granite "slide" upriver of the bridge but water your swimsuit, as the tough granite has been known to rip holes in some suits. You will find it hard not to spend all day here, so pack a lunch and...
Tuolumne River Loop - Dana and Lyell Forks
Tuolumne River Loop - Dana and Lyell Forks
Lundy, California, United States
 
Easy: 4.0 miles, 1-3 hours
An easy 4 miles long loop hike traverses both forks, Dana & Lyell, of Tuolumne River and provides great scenic views.

Dana and Lyell Forks of Tuolumne River merge into the river somewhere near the Tuolumne Meadows campground. This easy and flat hike take you to encircle the area and enjoy surrounding scenic views of Lyell Canyon and Lembert Dome. To start the hike, park you car in the Dog Lake parking lot on Tuolumne Medaows Lodge Road and locate the JMT trail head...
Lower Chilnualna Fall
Lower Chilnualna Fall
Yosemite National Park, California, United States
Moderate: 0.9 miles, 1 hour or less
A short but steep hike up to the base of Chilnualna Fall in Yosemite National Park

This hike will only take about 30 minutes round trip and will bring you to a beautiful waterfall with a great swimming hole at the base. You can climb up the trail further and scramble up a few rocks to find another waterfall above with an even bigger swimming pool. If you are itching for even more of a hike consider continuing up the trail another...
Lembert Dome
Lembert Dome
Lundy, California, United States
 
Moderate: 2.4 miles, 1-3 hours
Enjoy scenic views of Tuolumne Meadows from the top of the dome.

Lember Dome (9,450 ft.), located near the Tuolumne Meadows campground, is one of the best place to enjoy the views of Tuolumne Meadows. To hike Lembert Dome, you start from the Dog Lake parking lot on Tuolumne Meadows Lodge Road, follow the trail for Dog Lake at first, cross Tioga Road and continue hiking up the trail until you meet the junction for...
Wawona Meadow Loop
Wawona Meadow Loop
Yosemite National Park, California, United States
 
Easy: 3.5 miles, 1-3 hours
Take a relaxing stroll around a beautiful meadow with this easy 3.5-mile loop

If you are looking for an easy afternoon walk to explore Wawona consider the Wawona Meadow Loop. Located conveniently next to the Wawona Hotel, the trailhead is just across Highway 41. Compared to most other hikes in Yosemite, this is about as easy as they come: it’s a 3.5-mile level stroll around the meadow, and most of it us under tree cover...
Mariposa Grove to Wawona Lodge
Mariposa Grove to Wawona Lodge
Yosemite National Park, California, United States
 
Moderate: 5.5 miles, 1-3 hours
Take a closer look at the Wawona wilderness while escaping the crowds on this downhill hike in Yosemite National Park

After spending your morning at the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias (see the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias Guide if you haven’t already), you may still find yourself itching to explore the area a bit further, a bit more off the beaten path. Because Mariposa Grove is such a popular spot in Wawona it is usually full of families, which can deter...
Rancheria Falls
Rancheria Falls
Mather, California, United States
 
Moderate: 14.0 miles, Full day
A great early-season dayhike or overnighter past and to some wonderful waterfalls in Yosemite Valley's twin.

Check out towering waterfalls and soaring granite cliffs without the crowds of Yosemite Valley. This route is suitable for a moderately long dayhike or an overnight backpacking trip, at its best (but most popular) in the spring. Hetch Hetchy is the fraternal twin of Yosemite Valley, drowned in the early 20th century to provide drinking water for...