#6 of 61 national parks in United States of America

Best trails in Yosemite National Park

40,834 Reviews
Looking for a great trail in Yosemite National Park, California? AllTrails has 258 great hiking trails, trail running trails, dogs no trails and more, with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers, and nature lovers like you. Gearing up for a challenge? There are 116 hard trails in Yosemite National Park ranging from 2.1 to 211 miles and from 3,828 to 14,475 feet above sea level. Start checking them out and you'll be out on the trail in no time!
Description

With over 3.5 million yearly visitors from throughout the world, the iconic Yosemite National Park is known for some of the most beautiful hikes and landscapes in the United States. There are over 800 miles of trails to explore through Yosemite Valley, Tuolumne Meadows, and Wawona. Yosemite has so much to see including the sequoias, the flower filed meadows and valleys left behind from the glaciers, the highest waterfall in the United States, and the spectacular Half Dome and El Capitan. Entrance Fees You can pay the entrance fee or purchase an annual or lifetime pass at any park entrance station. (You can also purchase these in advance, if desired.) All park entrances (except Hetch Hetchy) are open 24 hours per day. If the entrance station is unstaffed when you arrive, you can pay on the way out. Seven-day pass if entering via: Non-commercial car, pickup truck, RV, or van with 15 or fewer passenger seats $35 per vehicle (no per-person fee) Motorcycle $30 per motorcycle (no per-person fee) Foot, bicycle, horse, or non-commercial bus or van with more than 15 passenger seats $20 per person aged 16 or older Accessibility: The Interagency Access Pass for free or discounted admission for US Citizens or permanent residents with permanent disabilities is accepted here. There are designated handicapped-accessible parking spots in the major parking lots. The Yosemite Valley Visitor Center is mobility equipment and stroller accessible and has wheelchair accessible bathrooms and a bookstore. Most of the films at the Yosemite Theatre include closed-captioning. A limited amount of manual rental wheelchairs and electric scooters are available at Yosemite Lodge or Curry Village during the summer. Assistive listening devices are also available at the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center for ranger-led programs. ASL interpreters may be available with advanced notice of at least two weeks (email yose_deaf_services@nps.gov). Temporary disabled parking placards are available at the park entrance stations or visitor centers for those who not have a state-issued permit or do not have it with them. All shuttle buses in the park are wheelchair accessible and can fit chairs under 46 inches long and 24 inches wide. The YARTS bus service from Merced or Mariposa is equipped with lifts but advanced notice is required (call 1‐877‐989‐2787 at least 48 hours before). OPDMDs such as Segways are allowed in the park only for those with a mobility disability. Foodservice facilities in the park are wheelchair accessible except for partial-accessibility in the Tuolomne Meadows Lodge and White Wolf Lodge (both of these have stairs). The Yosemite Lodge and Wawona Hotel have wheelchair-accessible rooms. The Yosemite Valley, Wawona, and Hetch Hetchy areas have wheelchair-accessible picnic tables. There are three campgrounds with campsites that are wheelchair accessible. Service animals must be on-leash throughout the park. Additional accessible trails and facilities information can be found here: https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/upload/access.pdf

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Map of trails in Yosemite National Park
Park information
Acreage:
759,620 acres
Contact
209-372-0200
Top trails (258)
#1 - Vernal and Nevada Falls via the Mist Trail
Yosemite National Park
hardYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow Star(3138)
Length: 7.2 mi • Est. 3 h 54 m
SEASONAL CLOSURE: During the winter months, portions of the John Muir Trail in Yosemite are closed. Visitors can still visit the falls, but you must return on the stairs, instead of returning on the John Muir Trail. For more information, please visit https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/vernalnevadawinter.htm Hike to two breathtaking waterfalls along some of 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 traveled in Yosemite National Park. You will hike so close to these two massive waterfalls that you may get wet from the trail. The best time to hike this trail is in Spring or early Summer, while the snow runoff is high and the falls are full of water. The Mist Trail starts at Happy Isles Trailhead (YARTS Happy Isles shuttle stop #16, and within walking distance of Curry Village and the parking lot). The park recommends starting early to avoid the larger crowds. After a brief stroll along the river, you climb a pretty steep initial accent over stone steps until you reach the footbridge, which offers the first glimpse of Vernal Falls in the distance. You will also find a water fountain and restrooms. You will then continue up to Vernal Falls, past Emerald Pool, and alongside Nevada Falls until you reach the high-point of this hike. You can choose to take the alternate route down along the John Muir Trail to see great views of Nevada Falls and Liberty Cap in the distance before meeting back up with the Mist Trail near the footbridge. This route back is slightly longer, but offers a change of scenery and is easier on the knees. Before hopping back on the YARTS shuttle, treat yourself to some ice cream or a refreshing drink at the small stand, or head over to Curry Village for a larger variety of choices.Show more
#2 - Upper Yosemite Falls Trail
Yosemite National Park
hardYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow Star(2993)
Length: 7.6 mi • Est. 4 h 30 m
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 Yosemite 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 definitely worthy of visiting for its eye-opening views and hiker's self-satisfaction of reaching it. The trail to Upper Yosemite Fall is about 4 miles one way, gaining approximately 3,000 feet in elevation along the way. Once you get to the top of the valley, you can go to Yosemite Fall Overlook, a small platform near the mouth of Upper Yosemite Fall, to enjoy the thrilling views of looking down from above. The trailhead is located in the Sunnyside campground (Camp 4) near Yosemite Lodge. It generally takes 6 - 8 hours for average hikers to complete the roundtrip hike. The trail is generally open for the whole year, but can be difficult to hike in winter due to snow, especially beyond Columbia Rock. Show more
#3 - Vernal Falls
Yosemite National Park
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow Star(2691)
Length: 4.0 mi • Est. 2 h 16 m
The Mist Trail from its junction with the John Muir Trail (just above Vernal Fall footbridge) to the top of Vernal Fall is closed Monday–Friday, 7 am to 4 pm, for trail work (the trail may occasionally be closed overnight). Use the John Muir Trail for access to Vernal and Nevada Falls (and beyond). For more information, please see https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/conditions.htm Show more
#4 - Half Dome Trail
Yosemite National Park
hardYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow Star(2003)
Length: 16.3 mi • Est. 9 h 33 m
Half Dome is a serious endurance hike taking you 4800 feet above the Yosemite Valley to spectacular views of Vernal and Nevada Falls, Liberty Cap, the Yosemite Valley, and the High Sierra. This is one of Yosemite National Park’s most iconic hikes. You must obtain a permit to hike to the summit of Half Dome. Preparation and safety are key to having a fantastic experience. This is a hike that requires users to be in good shape. Most people take 10 to 12 hours to hike to Half Dome and back, depending on the way chosen to come down. Plan to leave around sunrise (or earlier) and then have a non-negotiable turn-around time. The trail is fairly well marked but make sure to watch for all trail signs as it can be easy to miss them. The elevation gain is very strenuous, starting with a steep climb to Vernal Falls, followed by another steep climb to the top of Nevada Falls. There is about 1 mile of fairly level hiking before reaching Little Yosemite Campground, followed by steep switchbacks through the forest. At about 7 miles into your trip you’ll reach a break in the trees with a beautiful view of Half Dome and the valley below. Some steep switchbacks carved like stairs into the rock guide the way up to the top of what is known as Sub Dome. Once you walk across the rocky surface of Sub Dome you’ll arrive at the base of the cables with only 400 feet to go. These last 400 feet are the most challenging, but also the most rewarding (although you may not realize it until users are comfortably back on the valley floor). The part of this journey that makes the ascent up Half Dome famous is the cable route. Two steel cables allow hikers to climb the last 400 feet to the summit without rock climbing equipment. The cables are around a 45-55 degree grade, with wooden supports every 10 to 20 feet to rest and maintain your balance. Using gloves is highly recommended to get a better grip and avoid painful blisters. Be sure to tightly secure your water bottles and cameras for the climb up because you will want them once at the top. Once you have reached the summit, take the time to rest for a while and take in the incredible panoramic views. The Half Dome cables usually go up the Friday before Memorial Day (conditions permitting) and come down the day after Columbus Day. Compared to the hike up, the return journey flies by and before you know it you will be back at the top of Nevada falls. You have 2 options here: the Mist Trail, which is how you came up is about 3.4 miles (5.5km), or the John Muir Trail for a slight change of scenery (about 0.5 miles further). The waterfalls suddenly seem much more pleasant as you hike down compared to the earlier climb, and it's hard to hold back a smile as you reach the Vernal Falls footbridge where you can refill your water (there are also facilities here). About 30 minutes later you are back at the trailhead where you can catch a free shuttle to your car or anywhere else in the valley (there is a concession stand near the bus stop where you can buy cold drinks and ice cream). For Half Dome Permits visit the National Park Service website, recreation.gov or call the Yosemite Park Ranger Station.Show more
#5 - Lower Yosemite Falls Trail
Yosemite National Park
easyYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(1857)
Length: 1.2 mi • Est. 28 m
A quick stroll to see Yosemite Falls, the tallest waterfall in Northern America and 5th in the world, crash down on the rocks below. Open year-round, this trail is easy but icy in the winter. This is a 1 mile/1.6 km loop which takes about 30 minutes to complete. The trailhead is at the Lower Yosemite Fall Trailhead (shuttle stop #6). This short, easy walk provides spectacular views of Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls and even Middle Cascade. Like all waterfalls in Yosemite, this waterfall is often dry from late July or August through October and is best seen in spring when the winter snow is melting and the upper lakes are full, significantly increasing the flow of the water over the edge. Accessibility: This trail is paved with wooden bridges, typically at least four feet wide, and mostly gentle except for steeper grades near the viewing area at the end of the route (grade starts to increase at about 0.7 miles). The last 180 feet has a slope of 14% so only the first half of this trail is considered wheelchair/mobility equipment and stroller friendly. There is a free wheelchair-accessible shuttle available at shuttle stop #6 as well as wheelchair-accessible bathrooms at the trailhead.Show more
#6 - Four Mile Trail
Yosemite National Park
hardYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow Star(1520)
Length: 9.2 mi • Est. 6 h 9 m
SEASONAL ROAD CLOSURE: Roads leading to this trailhead are subject to seasonal closure. For more information, please visit https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/conditions.htm The Four Mile Trail switchbacks 3,200 feet down from Glacier Point to Yosemite Valley, providing wonderful views of the valley. Views of Half Dome, North Dome, El Capitan, Cathedral Rocks, the Royal Arches, Tenaya Canyon, and Yosemite Falls can be seen here. From the top, the trail is fairly flat for the first mile, then hits relentless switchbacks at the reverse Tunnel View. Afterward, hike along with cliffside views to Union Point at the 1.8-mile mark that takes you into the trees and down to the valley floor near the Swinging Bridge. Begin the hike near sentinel rock. Views are most spectacular closer to the top of the trail- There is an option to hike a partial way down from the top of the switchbacks and the reverse Tunnel View, taking in the best views. The end of the trail puts you at the visitor center at Glacier Point. There are bathrooms near the swinging bridge if needed. The descent, while not as strenuous as the ascent, requires your attention due to the decomposed granite. The trail can be very slippery and rocky. Looking to extend the hike? Take the nearby Panorama trail back down the valley instead of the double-back. Tour buses run from the valley to Glacier Point. For more information, please visit https://www.travelyosemite.com/things-to-do/guided-bus-tours/ The Glacier Point Road closes seasonally due to snow, usually from sometime in November through late May or early June. From approximately mid-December through March, the first five miles of this road are open to Yosemite Ski & Snowboard Area (formerly Badger Pass Ski Area). It is not possible to drive to Glacier Point when the Glacier Point Road is closed. The Tioga Road also closes seasonally due to snow, usually from sometime in November through late May or early June. The road closure extends from the Tuolumne Grove, just east of Crane Flat, to Tioga Pass Entrance Station. (Highway 120, the continuation of the Tioga Road outside the park, is often closed in winter from Tioga Pass to five miles west of Lee Vining.) When Tioga Road is closed, it is not possible to drive to Tuolumne Meadows or enter Yosemite National Park from the east. All other park entrances, including those along Highway 120 from the west, Hetch Hetchy, Highway 140, and Highway 41, remain open all year. Show more
#7 - Clouds Rest Trail via Tenaya Lake
Yosemite National Park
hardYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow Star(1330)
Length: 13.0 mi • Est. 7 h 3 m
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 sheer drop-offs on both sides, to the summit. The fastest way to day hike Cloud's Rest starts from the Sunrise Lakes trailhead on Tioga Road near Tenaya Lake. From the trailhead, you start the hike by following the trail markers for Sunrise H.S.C. After the first 1.5 mile hike on the relatively flat trail, you begin to climb up the lower slope below Sunrise Mountain. The switchbacks on the slope will surely pound your heart as you are gaining 1,000 feet in elevation in just one mile before reaching the top of the slope. On the top, you immediately encounter the Y junction for either Cloud's Rest or Sunrise Lakes. Bear right for Cloud's Rest and begin to follow the trail markers for it from now on. The trail beyond the junction (called Forsyth Trail) descends sharply for 0.5 miles until you reach the flat land below Sunrise Mountain. The trail on the land is about 1.7 miles long and traverses beautiful woods and a nice lake before you encounter the next junction. Bear right at the T junction for Cloud's Rest and you are about 1.5 miles away from it (though the marker says 2.5 miles). Since you're approaching Cloud's Rest from its back, you only begin to see it after passing the junction. Keep hiking up on the trail until you encounter the marker for Cloud's Rest Foot Trail. Use extreme caution beyond this point as the passway on the top of Cloud's Rest is narrow and both sides are sheer drip-offs. You can enjoy the spectacular views of Half Dome, Tenaya Canyon and surrounding mountains after a short scramble to the summit where you can find a geology mark on it. Take the same way back to the Sunrise Lakes trailhead once you're ready to return.Show more
#8 - Glacier Point Trail
Yosemite National Park
easyYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(851)
Length: 0.6 mi • Est. 14 m
SEASONAL ROAD CLOSURE: Roads leading to this trailhead are subject to seasonal closure. For more information, please visit https://www.nps.gov/yose/index.htm INDEFINITE CLOSURE: Glacier Point Road is also planned to be closed until 2022 due to road construction and during that time the only access available to Glacier Point will be through the Four Mile, Panorama, and Pohono Trails (all considered strenuous hikes). More information can be viewed on the park page here: https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/glacierpoint.htm Drive to the best view in all of Yosemite. This 270-degree view of the Valley, Half Dome, and 3 Falls will amaze you. Glacier Point is a popular stop for many new visitors to Yosemite National Park on their way down to Yosemite Valley. Although it's not much of a hike, the view at the end of the paved walkway will leave you breathless. You will see (left to right) both Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls, Yosemite Valley below, Clouds Rest, Half Dome standing proud, and even Vernal and Nevada Falls. What more could you ask for? Winter In Winter the road to Glacier Point is closed to cars, but strap on a pair of cross country skis or snowshoes and you should be good to go. If you want to stay overnight, reserve a spot in the Glacier Point Ski Hut where there are bunk beds (dormitory style), a wood fire, food, and good company. Accessibility: This is the partially wheelchair and stroller friendly, fully paved route to the Glacier Point viewing platform. It is mostly gentle except for a very steep section in the last 0.1 miles over 12%. Wheelchair/mobility equipment and stroller users may not be able to navigate the full trail without assistance. There is a waypoint on the map marking where the grade increases. The restrooms, gift shop and snack bar located at the trailhead are all wheelchair accessible. Show more
#9 - Sentinel Dome Trail
Yosemite National Park
easyYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow Star(881)
Length: 2.1 mi • Est. 1 h 9 m
Sentinel Dome starts from Glacier Point Road and scales one of Yosemite's high domes and offers a full breathtaking 360 degree view. It provides one of the very best NP experiences for the effort you can find. To the west, you'll see almost a reverse Tunnel View of the Yosemite Valley and can see beyond to the Merced River canyon. To the north is Yosemite Valley, including El Capitan and Yosemite Falls. You'll see Nevada Falls, Half Dome and Clouds Rest to the east, and many of the High Sierra peaks. This summit was made famous by Ansel Adam's 1940 photo of the Jeffrey Pine tree. The tree perished in 1977, and fell over in 2003. The trail crosses a bridge over a stream near the beginning of the hike and gradually slopes up along a granite floor among the pines. It then turns slightly left and after a gradual climb through more pines, meets the base of the dome, where you then take a sharp left straight up onto the exposed dome. Enjoy the views! An alternate route begins at the service road entrance about a half mile towards Glacier Point from the main trailhead. This spur joins the main trail at the base of the dome and is about two thirds of a mile.Show more
#10 - Mirror Lake via Valley Loop Trail
Yosemite National Park
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(1208)
Length: 6.1 mi • Est. 2 h 26 m
The Mirror Lake via Valley Loop Trail is an easy loop in Yosemite National Park, with the pathway around Mirror Lake being a must-see for its beautiful reflections of Half Dome and its abundance of wildflowers during the early summer months. Mirror Lake is a seasonal calm lake located on Tenaya Creek and situated in Tenaya Canyon directly between North Dome and Half Dome. It is the last remnant of a large glacial lake that once filled the entire Yosemite Valley. This is a well-marked trail and significantly less crowded than other trails in the park, since it is further away from Yosemite lodging. The trailhead is at the far east end of Yosemite Valley and many visitors take the free shuttle bus or hike east from Curry Village or the Ahwahnee Hotel where there is a parking area and drinking water is available. The shuttle stops directly at the trailhead. There's a one mile paved trail walkway and bike path along Tenaya Creek to the north side of the lake and an unpaved trail along the south side. Starting from the Upper Pines Campground lot, users recommend walking the paved and plowed path up to this trailhead if interested to add distance. During the winter, the mirror lake trail is completely covered in partially packed snow, so users should bring proper winter footwear like snowshoes or crampons or else feet will constantly sink down and slip slip. During summer months and fall, this is a great route to see plenty of local flora and fauna, since as a less-frequented area, there is more nature to see here. Accessibility: This trail is paved on the west side until the lake before turning to rocky dirt. Then, the southern portion of the Valley Loop Trail has multiple areas where the grade is greater than 8% so it may be too steep for wheelchairs, mobility equipment, and strollers. There is a waypoint marking a shuttle station and from this point, the northern trail can be taken the most accessible portion as an out-and-back route (see https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/california/mirror-lake-paved-trail for this shorter route on its own trail page).Show more
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