Explore the most popular backpacking trails in Yosemite National Park with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

1 day ago

Great hike! Totally worth the view at the top of Vernal. Heavy traffic mid day in June. Half way restrooms were closed and they took out the water fountain that used to be there so bring plenty of water. Over all a great hike:

Beautiful moderate hike from start to finish.

It's off the beaten path and not very crowded..This was such an amazing hike! I had a blast doing it and the view was pretty good. I hike around the other side of the gorge to get a picture of all the falls and it came out great. Don't recommend that for a lot of people as the other side has no real Trail and you end up doing a lot of bushwhacking. Still met some great people and saw some amazing scenery!

On 6/16 I started walking at 8ish. The rock hop to cross Tenaya Creek was under 6" of water on a few steps, so I was relieved I had wool socks on. Next mile or so of trail meanders along the creek and through covered forest and small creeks bordered with Indian Paintbrush and Lupine. The first major climb is about 1K', with many rocky step-like sections, with a soundtrack of Sooty Grouse whoop calls, and pretty views back towards Olmstead Point and Tuolumne Peak. After gaining a ridge that shares the Sunrise Lakes spur, the trail does several mellow up and downs, along streams and a small buggy lake, mostly under cover of Lodgepole Pine forest. The final mile is a 1K' climb via steep exposed (to sun) trail and finally along a dull, 10'-20' wide arête on the last section. Jaw dropping views from the top. Interesting mix of people from all over throughout the hike (probably around 100 passed on the entire hike). Got back to the trailhead 2:30.

4 days ago

Beautiful hike. Lots of trees and the views at the top are amazing. We hiked in August and the water was moving slow. There were a few pools at the top that we swam in. My legs started to give out on the way down, but I’m not in the best of shape.

Started around 7 am on 6/14.... what an absolutely amazing hike. Tenaya Creek was about ankle high and the water felt amazing. The switchbacks were pretty tough, but what made it worse was the massive amount of mosquitoes at higher elevation because of the recent snowmelt. Lots of water of water coming down the middle of the trail at some points, with a few random snow patches you have to walk over. After about 1000 ft of elevation gain, you immediately descend into a beautiful area of the trail, with streams, boulders and lakes. The last ascent towards Clouds Rest was pretty difficult. I had to stop once because of the altitude but an amazingly generous group from Indiana helped me and an experienced hiker gave me some much needed water, sweets and electrolytes. The summit is a short scramble, but my goodness, the view was absolutely spectacular. Full 360 degree views of Yosemite, Half Dome, North Dome, Mt Watkins, Glacier Point, and the majority of the valley. This is must do hike, something I will never forget. Total time was 8.15 hours with a few stops.

5 days ago

Spent the night on El Cap, and at Cascade Creek. The tenkara rod and fly was worth the four additional ounces, pulling in over 15 rainbow trout. The two of us easily hitchhiked from the Big Oak Flat Trailhead to the village parking near North Pines, probably the 10th car that past us, even on a weekday.

In addition to the fishing, the trail was great. We hung out with the Sierra Mountain Kingsnake and Rubber Boa, found bear markings on trees, got startled by deer enclosing on our El Cap campsite, and shared jokes and riddles over late night fires.

7 days ago

Great Hike!

trail running
7 days ago

Jogged(???) up yesterday (6/15) and there was epic wind. But it's an awesome trail with stunning views at the top. Had to scramble through some knee deep snow in places, and the rock hop to the summit, but so worth it!

What surprised me was that the wind at the summit was nearly non-existent compared to on the way up. I headed up around 2:00pm, and only saw three other people on the entire trip. Took about three hours round trip. For a guy who has spent all his life at sea level, and from a country with the highest mountain of around 6600ft, this was rather unique!

Great trip, would definitely do again. Trail was very quiet. We did a 2-day out and back. The first 4 miles was fairly easy with little elevation change. Just over a mile past the Glen Aulin High Sierra camp, on the trail to Waterwheel Falls, the trail was flooded with lots of fallen trees. It was a challenge to navigate through. However a ranger told us it should dry up in a month or so. We set up camp just before the swampy bit and continued on with day packs to the falls. The falls had lots of water.

9 days ago

I did this trail clockwise with a friend over 4 nights, 3 days plus we added our first night at Laurel Lake. Being pretty fit ourselves, we found this to be a challenging trip and very sunny/warm. Sometimes water stops are not frequent so be sure to carry plenty of water! Several boggy spots where you will get quite muddy/dirty: headed into Laurel area, headed up after Vernon Lake, Tiltill area. Heading into Laurel area you will also have to cross a river to about the knees. Bear tracks and sightings, be very careful and aware of your surroundings at all times! Many downed trees and overgrown paths so be sure to have GPS or maps to avoid getting lost. Overall very beautiful and a wide array of scenery as you hike along.

I did this as part of a backpacking trip in mid May before Tioga Road opened. Took the Mist Trail up and JMT down, mileage was around 26 per my friends GPS. I highly recommend overnighting here because the sunsets are absolutely stunning and it saves your legs for the crazy downhill back. That being said, the elevation gain is intense (especially on the Mist Trail) so pace yourself and take as many breaks as you need. Overall one of my favorite hikes, you can’t beat the views.

10 days ago

Don't believe I haven't reviewed this one. I've done it by itself without going higher twice. The 1st time was with my wife. Definitely in my personal top 10 for short hikes. Only real downside is way too many people.

Hiked this at the end of May in 2017. Great hike, but I would recommend waiting until mid summer as snow dominates and covers parts of this trail in higher elevations. If it weren't for tracks already in snow on parts of the trail, we would have been lost. Snow in late May was still 6'+ in certain sections. Lots of stream and meadow crossings due to melting snow. Bring a pair of sandals to switch into in order to keep your boots dry. We did this trail in two nights and three days. If I were to do it again, I would definitely add another night and enjoy the scenery more.

A fantastic substitute if you couldn’t get a Half Dome permit. I actually did the hike last September, just forgot to leave a review. It’s more like 15 miles total, but the view of the Upper Sierras is worth every step. The hike itself doesn’t offer a lot of scenic views, so don’t be afraid to head straight for the summit. It took about 4 hours up and 3.5 hours down. The ridge near the summit is pretty narrow, so anyone with height issues should take it nice and slow. And make sure to leave some time for Tenaya Lake too!

12 days ago

*****7.5 miles each way from Tenaya Lake!!!

-15 miles...yes, 15 miles round trip with 3,200 foot elevation gain in 7 hours and 28 minutes!!!! Yeah, I'm fast

Don’t forget to bring a mosquito spray! Swarms of mosquitoes followed us all the way up (first weekend in June). I’ll give the trail 4 stars only because the hike itself is not scenic, hard and sometimes even boring.
But 360 degrees view from the peak is breathtaking and worth hiking for sure!

Relatively easy, accessible hike to a beautiful lake-mountain view. As of a couple of days ago, it does get a bit muddy at spots. The trail out of the woods to the lake is mostly covered in mud and water so a path seems to have emerged left of the actual trail (see my posted hike). Go all the way to the end of the posted hike for upper lake as that is where the money shot was for pics and sitting for lunch.

15 days ago

Took my wife here years ago for her first backpack. She's in good shape but I have to admit this hike was a challenge for her. Still, a beautiful hike and the falls, while on the smaller side, is still wonderful. Great hike if you're looking for time in Yosemite but want to avoid crowds.

This is an amazing hike. You need a permit, which is hard to get, but wow! Do it, absolutely do it.

I'd suggest starting early to avoid crowd. Or do it late. I started at around 6AM, and was up at the cable around 9AM, and it was starting to get crowded while going down. Doing the cable when it is crowded is both annoying and dangerous, so try to plan accordingly. The trail leading up before that is very well marked, so night walk is an option.

Did it along cloud rest. Both trails are very well marked and easy to follow. You can easily do 3miles/hours if you have the legs for it

16 days ago

Good one, but do yourself a favor and push a little more to the next fall, and do the loop. It's worth it

Either remove shoes/socks to cross the stream within the first 500 feet of the Trailhead, or hike in wet socks/shoes till they dry (like I did!) Patches of Trail is covered with snow. In addition to the downloaded AllTrails map, the PeakFinder App helped in identifying all the surrounding peaks from Clouds Rest Summit. I came across a deer and some marmots along the way, and a couple of striped squirrels on the Summit. Breathtaking view of Sierra Nevada range at the top!

From Cloud Rest great views of Yosemite and the Valley. Looking down at Half Dome and El Capitan from the top. The river crossing out of the parking lot was running high (gators and water proof boots helped). Recommend downloading the Map as the trail after about 2.5 miles goes up thru numerous streams and some snow that blot out the trail. Seemingly lost Zombie backpackers and walkers needed guidance on our way up this part and when we got down. The hike is closer to 13.5 miles.

Such amazing views!!

For parents who hike with their kids/dogs: Hiked this trail with my two boys and pupper on Mother's Day. I'd say this hike would be difficult for kids under 10, and dangerous in several areas, especially near the top at the falls. AllTrails says it's good for dogs and I don't disagree, but there is signage at the trailhead saying dogs are not allowed. Luckily this trail is lightly trafficked, so fewer people to complain, I guess. It is beautiful though, with awesome views of Wawona valley, wildflowers, and wildlife. It took us about 6 hours to complete. We took our time on the way up, took several breaks to eat and enjoy the scenery, and we ran most of the way back. Will definitely hike this again.

Up Up and Up, the views are spectacular the hike is difficult. Thankfully I love the escalator at my gym! Once we reached the beginning of the half Dome summit it became real. I made it about 1/3rd of the way and froze in fright, my daughter Emily another 1/3rd than her leg cramped up and could not continue. My second daughter Kaylie and fiancé Branden made it to the top and were terrified, they couldn’t wait to get down, but they did it and I am proud of all of us! Please wear good shoes!!! It took us exactly 12 hours...6 hours up, 2 hours resting throughout, 4 hours back....good socks a must, I had liner socks also and my feet were great, others did not and their feet did not fare so well. Extra zip locks for trash and of course, water, 3 liters was perfect for all of us. Be safe peeps!

I did this trail a few years ago. We took the Hiker's Bus from Yosemite Valley and got dropped off at the Porcupine Creek trailhead on Tioga Road. The trail is a gentle downhill to the North Dome Trail junction, then climbs to Indian Rock. We hadn't planned to go to Indian Rock but took the short spur trail - well worth it. From Indian Rock, the trail descends to North Dome. We had lunch on top of North Dome and enjoyed the amazing and unique views of Half Dome across the valley before heading along the north rim to Yosemite Falls. Unfortunately, there was a nearby brush fire the weekend we had planned this trip so views of the valley were fairly obscured by smoke by mid afternoon. The views would have been epic otherwise. A somewhat difficult hike due to the distance and steep, rocky descent from Yosemite Falls. But much easier than doing the route uphill! We got a later start than planned, and with the slight detour to Indian Rock, we ended up going down most of Yosemite Falls trail in the dark - definitely not recommended! lol Bring plenty of water and bug repellant. Would love to do this one again.


This was a great hike definitely up on the 10 mile marker for distance though not 6.9. View at the upper falls was amazing however getting up there at some points was steep overall a great hike

21 days ago

Went in late August and it was a great trail. Good hike. If I remember correctly there are some gradual uphill switchbacks, but nothing too challenging. The destination takes the cake. Camped at Upper Cathedral Lake for a little more privacy, but it’s a popular spot so you’ll be around other campers regardless. Got on the trail late. Saw a few people heading back from their day trek so the motivated can do it in one day, but I highly recommend camping there. Got very chilly at night, but the stars were brilliant (as expected in Yosemite).

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