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Best Trails in Yosemite National Park

1674 reviews

#1 of 35 National Parks in California

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Yosemite National Park is home to some of the most scenic and spectacular hikes in the world. Over 3.5 million visitors travel from all corners of the world every year to marvel at the waterfalls and hike the famous trails of the 3rd oldest national park in the United States (Established October 1, 1890). 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. The park's elevation ranges from 2000ft to 13,114ft (600m to 4,000m), stretching from Giant Sequoia groves housing 200ft trees over 2,000 years old, to breath-taking valleys carved by glaciers, and home to the highest waterfall in America, to alpine meadows filled with rivers, lakes, and wildflowers. Half Dome and El Capitan rise from the central glacier-formed Yosemite Valley, as does Yosemite Falls, North America's tallest waterfall. Three Giant Sequoia groves and vast wilderness are home to diverse wildlife. Tuolumne Meadows is a great area to visit to get away from the large crowds in Yosemite Valley. This area is a few thousand feet higher than the valley and may take some time before becoming completely acclimated. Wawona is in the south western part of Yosemite National Park and is much less visited compared to the Valley. There are several highlights of this area including the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoia which was protected by Galen Clark 150 years ago and is home to over 300 massive Sequoias, some of the largest and oldest trees in the world still alive today.

on Tioga Pass to Mount Dana
1 day ago

hiking

with a average grade of 20% (3400 feet in 3 miles), asap you hit 11500 feet, you will feel the altitude which will slow you down. surprisingly, the trail is well marked with stone crains. All the loose stones makes it difficult to hike up. this does not need any permit- thats the best part.

on Half Dome Trail
2 days ago

We started from the parking access this app takes you too. From the first marker it says 8.2 miles to half dome, so there and back is a little farther than the app specifies (Total of 16.4 mi)
IT starts off a little challenging the first mile, then steadied out the next 6 or so miles. The last part going up the sub dome is the most challenging part of the hike, then the cables takes a little upper body strength.
Pack gloves with a good grip and minimum of one gallon of water per person. The rock under the cables is slippery so wear decent shoes.
This was an amazing experience and the views are like no other. Enjoy!

on Vernal and Nevada Falls v...
3 days ago

Beautiful! Watch out for hungry squirrels

on Vernal and Nevada Falls v...
3 days ago

Amazing! Worth the steep uphill hike. The view was amazing. Don't stop at the bridge, go all the way up

on Half Dome Trail
3 days ago

Breathtaking- quite literally.

on Kibbie Lake Trail
3 days ago

backpacking

Well, what an amazing trail!

We did the loop – which makes the whole thing about 16 miles. I don't know why this page has it been at 29 miles.

The drive in is long and windy, so leave enough time to get in there. This place is remote!

We started at Eleanor Lake dam, and took the southern side trail over the mountain first and then came back the nice gentle decline on the way back.

It can get pretty exposed in places, so start early. The trail takes you through so many different terrains. If we were to do it again, we would probably start at the Eleanor camping sites trailhead, take the trail to the junction of the Eleanor Lakes camping trail and Kibbie creek track, and then follow the trail to Kibbie Lake from there.


We started at Lake Eleanor Dam, but the 1mile track from there to the junction was overgrown and pretty unpleasant.

Kibbie Creek is beautiful. Definitely worth your time to stop, enjoy the stream, swim in the small lush granite canyon.

From there, the trail goes up steeply, and doesn't stop until you reach the top. You can lose the trail pretty easily because it's not frequently walked, but there's enough piles of rocks that you'll find your way.

There are lots of beautiful granite monoliths, redwood forests, ferns, ridges and gullies along the way that you'll always be in awe, and it'll keep your mind off the hill - which is steep!!

Once you reach the top, it's a very easy and fast track down to the lake.

We stayed on the south side of the lake which has a great swimming hole and beautiful views, but if you make your way to the north side, there's more camping spots and more great views.

On the way home, it's a lush Redwood and Fern Valley, and lovely soft underfoot. We jogged most of it with full packs. It took us only about 2 hours to make it back to the Eleanor Lakes camping trail junction.

We then did the final walk around on our lake to the dam to get back to the car.

Well worth it! We'll prob go again soon.

on Vernal and Nevada Falls v...
3 days ago

hiking

very beautiful views of the falls and great workout climbing granite steps.

on Upper Yosemite Falls Trail
4 days ago

hiking

The first mile up is incline switchbacks. Then you get to a railed off point with great views of Half Dome. Most people turn around after that point. But if you pass the switchbacks keep going because the hardest part is over. The next mile is easy; the trail is either flat or down incline. The rest of the trail is up incline "stairs/steps". Once you get to the top there are two viewpoints. One clearly labeled "overlook" with breath taking views of the Valley. The other point is not labeled (follow North Dome sign) it's where the water of the water falls are. If the falls are dry there'll be swimming holes which you can use to cool your feet. If the falls are blooming you can stand over the water on the bridge.

Take 2.5-3 liters of water per person, lunch and snacks.

on Half Dome Trail
4 days ago

backpacking

The mother of hikes! An absolute must do. I've done it five times so far during the off season when you don't have to worry about a pass. My favorite way is to leave at 2am from Curry Village and get up there as the sun is rising.

on Half Dome Trail
4 days ago

backpacking

The mother of all day hikes, no question, for both difficulty and reward. Took my kids up last week, although we were backpacking and camped at Little Yosemite Valley, so our ascent was only 3 miles. My 3rd time up there. It was quite nerve-wracking having my kids up there, even though they are 23, 15 and 13. The two older ones went to the very edge to look over, just as I did my first time at 17. I couldn't look, but it was great experiencing it with them. My 13 year old was a little freaked out coming down the cables, but I was right below him.

Can't say I'll do it again, 3 times is enough, and the descent is WAY harder on the knees and legs than the ascent. Be forewarned on that. I HIGHLY recommend taking the John Muir Trail down instead of the Mist Trail, much more of a gradual descent. Still, it's a singular experience, whether you do it as a day hike or, like us this time, as part of a longer backpacking trip.

on Sunrise Lakes Trail
4 days ago

backpacking

Easy, gradual ascent from Tenaya Lake trailhead for about 1.5 miles, then some really brutal switchbacks for another mile, with a 1000 ft gain. That section was by far the most difficult part of our 3 day hike from Tenaya to Yosemite Valley. We camped at the first lake and it was near perfect. Great spot right by the water with nice flat sections for tents and a great granite shelf for cooking. The water temperature in late August was absolutely perfect, and there were no bugs to speak of.

on Upper Yosemite Falls Trail
4 days ago

on Mirror Lake Trail
4 days ago

on Upper Yosemite Falls Trai...
4 days ago

hiking

Such a good hike. Definitely the most challenging one I've done yet. Make sure you bring enough water because it's a struggle to get to the top. So rewarding with an amazing view! We also went in the water at the top because we needed a little cool down. The waterfall didn't have a lot of water being that it's the middle of August. Still so worth it!

on Sentinel Dome Trail
4 days ago

hiking

Great hike and I love the views at the top! There are few people at Tioga area compared to the Valley, which makes it that much better!

on Glacier Point Trail
4 days ago

A long drive up, but the views were great!

on Lower Yosemite Falls Trai...
4 days ago

walking

Easy paved trail... too crowded down here at Lower Yosemite Falls.