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El Capitan Trail (Historical) is a 17 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Yosemite Valley, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, running, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from April until October.

Length 17.0 mi Elevation gain 5,515 ft Route type Out & Back
Hiking Nature trips Bird watching Running Forest Views Wild flowers Wildlife Fee No dogs
Description
Waypoints (0)

Yosemite National Park charges a fee to enter. Fees are $35 per vehicle or $30 per motorcycle. If you are entering on foot, horse, or bike the fee is $20 per person. You can also purchase a park specific annual pass for $70.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (194)
Photos (2997)
Recordings (128)
Completed (557)
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David Kvadus
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 26, 2020
HikingIcy

It was great started from the lodge. Alittle after 8 finshed around 6 bring a headlamp as it got dark around 515. There was a good amount of ice cover between El Cap summit and upper falls. Spikes worked great. We loved this trail. I’d say we stopped 4 times to snack and chill. Blowing and hour and a half.

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Brianna Neumeyer
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 25, 2020
Hiking

This recording starts at the top of the first 3.5 mile switch backs.

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Dusty Ventura
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 21, 2020
Hiking

The trail to the top of Yosemite Falls is clear of ice and snow. After that the trail is mostly snow with an easy to find path. No snow gear needed. It really is 16 miles, my phone died on the way back. You would have to start very early to not hike some of the way back in the dark. I left my car at 9am and returned at 7pm. Stop at Colombia Rock for a 10/10 night time view if you happen to be there in the dark on the way back.

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Jon Falker
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarOctober 31, 2020
Hiking

No water sources at all. We camped near the top of the Upper Yosemite Falls trail. Luckily we brought enough water up with us. Saw a bear cub on the way back down. Didn’t see mama bear anywhere.

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John Kang
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 17, 2020
Hiking
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Tyler Chuck
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 17, 2020
HikingGreat!

What a wonderful experience! The first part of the trail mirrors the Upper Yosemite Falls hike. That part is pretty steep and has lots of rocks. It can be a little tricky going down. You’ll then head to Eagle Peak and then El Capitan. Eagle Peak has incredible views of the valley and Half Dome. El Capitan is more of a dome shape than I thought and it’s hard to find the cliff where the edge drops off due to the slope. It’s pretty open as an area though and an incredible feeling to be on top. The hike is pretty long and one of the more difficult day hikes that I’ve done. We started at 8am and finished right before it got dark at 6:30pm. There wasn’t any running water during this time of year to filter. We brought about 4 Liters per person and that felt about right. Did this on a smoky day, but it luckily cleared a bit by the end of the day. An amazing experience to get to the top of El Cap after seeing people climb it for years. It’s pretty incredible.

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Dan Parrish
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 16, 2020
HikingGreat!

Not for the faint of heart. I highly recommend NOT doing any of the following: Drink 3 bottles of wine the night before you hike; oversleep; skip breakfast, other than coffee and Diet Dr Pepper; try to make up lost time by starting fast. This will result in painful muscle cramps that last most of the ascent (but you can tough it out) and a steep after-dark downclimb using your iPhone flashlight. We (M+F, both mid 30s, active-ish) summited in ~5 hours, picnicked for an hour while chatting with a duo of climbers, and looked for the impossible selfie that properly captures the awe. The return hike took us about 4 hrs with breaks and some after-dark hiking, it can probably be done in 3-3.5hrs. 3L water/person was about right, we also brought a couple gatorades and snacks. Bug spray and sunscreen are a must-have, and legit hiking boots. Also consider your drive home, easy to almost drift to sleep bc so exhausted from hiking. Also, it would have been nice if there was a sign at the summit showing the elevation, etc., we had to make our own. Also also, we are very concerned about Amber Ellingson who commented “Will write review later! Phone battery is low” about a month ago. Are you alive? The hiking community is on pins and needles in anticipation of your review.

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Jason French
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 7, 2020
HikingGreat!

Very challenging beginning to end amazing views take at least 5 liters of water. There are small springs but better to be safe. Only saw 5 people on the trail that were not the climbing rangers on the top! 12 hours of hiking solitude with amazing views. I would bring a headlamp and poles! Very little smoke on 10/5/20. Trail head parking was closed so I parked in the lodge parking didn’t get a ticket. The hike is longer than AllTrails says I stayed on route and it was like 16 miles. Overall stellar hike challenging but so rewarding

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Trisha Sarathi
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 5, 2020
Hiking

Super challenging but totally worth it! Check out my blog about this hike, we did Eagle Peak and El Capitan together! https://sarathitrisha.wixsite.com/trekwithtrisha/post/eagle-peak-el-capitan-yosemite

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Brena Andring
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 28, 2020
HikingRocky

This was the hardest trail I have ever hiked. However, this was the most rewarding!

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Neynegnul VM
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 6, 2020
Hiking

Amazing

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Hailey Ellingson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 5, 2020
HikingBugsGreat!Rocky

AMAZING HIKE!! This trail was very long and very hard, but it takes you up to the highest point of El Capitan right above the Nose. We started around 7am, and finished about 12 hours later at 7:30 pm. Things I would definitely suggest bringing: LOTS of water (3-5 L/person), bug spray, sunscreen, a headlamp (was almost dark when we finished), extra phone batteries, and hiking poles. Not a bad idea to use as backpacking trip and spend one night on the trail since it was so long. Overall, the hike was really hard but really worth it. Just hiked to the top of El Capitan!!

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Amber Ellingson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 4, 2020
Hiking

Will write review later! Phone battery is low.

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Ethan Bamke
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 2, 2020
Hiking

First and last 3 miles are tough. Round trip was 17.5 miles. When you get to the top of El Cap, you actually have to go down a bit to get towards a cliff. Super Smokey right now. I’d wait to do this hike until the smoke dies down and the view is better. Couldn’t even see half dome until the way back down.

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Century Shah
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 28, 2020
Hiking

Beautiful trail, would definitely do it again. first 3 miles is extremely streneous, after that about 2.5 miles is pretty straight and easy and the last part has some accends. Last 3 miles going down is also streneous. Going up my outer hips were sore and going down my toes, calves and knees were sore. Hiking poles helped a lot. Per person we had 3 ltrs of water and 20 oz of Gatorade, 2 pbnj sandwich, and jerkey. The summit is so gorgeous, you'll forget the pain. We chilled at the top for 2 hours then coming down we alsp took a detour to Eagle Peak. Views were breath taking. We started at 6 am and its was pretty hot, but there are lots of shade and cool breeze. We parked at the lodge across camp 4 and the trail is just few 100 ft away. First mile or so has lots and lots of bugs, but it clears out after.

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Chris Watson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 27, 2020
Hiking

My son and I completed the El Capitan summit trail with the addition of Eagle Peak. Bring lots of water, we brought 4 liters and barely had enough. Start early! (5-6 am). The first 3 miles and the last 3 miles were brutal. It’s the upper Yosemite falls trail. Going down wouldn’t be bad normally, our legs were smoked from hiking all day. We used poles, highly recommend but not a requirement. If you are up for a challenge - this one is for you.

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Kelly Jardine
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 20, 2020
Hiking

must do hike if you are in yosemite. ascent to upper falls is mostly steep switchbacks but the rest of the trail to the summit flattens out. START EARLY and bring lots of water. we started at 6am and took about 6.5 hrs round trip. (trail is 16 miles up and down). poles would’ve been great for the way down. tough but fun trek and 110% worth every minute.

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Ashish Shinde
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 2, 2020
HikingGreat!

Good hike. Last section of the trail going around the rocks is not clearly visible. On our way down, about 1 mile to trailhead on the right side, we saw a bear cub. I would recommend knee braces and hiking poles.

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Ashish Shinde
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 1, 2020
Hiking
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Erinn Knox
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 30, 2020
Hiking

Great hike but it is really tough and hard going the decent is painfully hard. The distance on this app says 13.5miles to the El Capitan Summit and back to the parking lot, it’s not it is 17.4 miles I recorded it on my watch. Make sure you bring LOTS of water we met someone en route and the ended up turning back early because the ran out of water. It was a great hike and beautiful views!

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Gabe Bider
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 21, 2020
HikingRocky

Upper Yosemite Falls trail has nice views of the valley and of the falls, but the falls are nearly dry right now. Once you get to the top you’re in forest the rest of the way to El Cap so not really any views until you’re on top. Views on top are sweet, but you have to scramble quite a ways down from the top to get to a proper cliff’s edge of El Cap. Overall (coming from someone who has hiked a fair bit of Yosemite) the trail itself isn’t the most exciting, but still extremely rewarding and awesome to say you’ve hiked to the top of El Cap. I would say Half Dome is a superior hike because the trail is more interesting and I enjoyed the summit of Half Dome and the views more.

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Kerry Kennedy
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 13, 2020
HikingBugs

I did this trail simply out of knowing how popular it was, but it honestly was not my favorite in the park. The trek there is super hard- think over 100 switchbacks. I LOVED the top of upper Yosemite falls, where there are a few pools of water you can swim around in. This was my only shower while backpacking and it was amazing to get in the water right at the top of Yosemite falls! But after you pass the falls and continue going up, the mosquitos were the absolute worst I have ever seen. I covered myself in bug spray and still had at least 10-20 touching me at all times. It’s very wooded and runs along a river so I guess it makes sense but geeeeez we got eaten alive. Had a wilderness permit, camped up past the falls, and did El Cap the next morning. The summit is like a huge wide rock slab, and I couldn’t really find a good place to get a picture. Maybe it’s just my opinion, but it just wasn’t that impressive to me. Still glad I did it because it’s a bucket list hike, but the upper falls are WAY cooler.

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Veeresh Neralagi
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 13, 2020
Hiking

Amazing trail, truly a beautiful experience!

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Jwalin Joshi
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 13, 2020
Hiking

Iconic

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Santosh Tatipamula
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 12, 2020
Hiking

Amazing hike. Great views and an interesting trail. Started around 8:30 AM at Camp 4 and got back around 4:30 PM.

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Michael Klein
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 12, 2020

Did this trail overnight in 2019. Wonderful weather and views! great camping overnight!

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Kaylee Vandjelovic
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 6, 2020
Hiking

We did this hike because we didn't get permits for Half Dome and it was an incredible hike!! You are treated to amazing views of Half Dome at the top. It's not for the faint of heart though, as it gains a lot of elevation and will take most of the day. We did a couple side trips to the falls and Yosemite Point, adding a few extra miles. Highly recommend!!

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Chris Nguyen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 3, 2020
Hiking

Great trail! The view of the valley from the top was spectacular. Happy hiking!

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