Four Mile Trail

HARD 447 reviews
#7 of 228 trails in

Four Mile Trail is a 7.5 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Yosemite Valley, California that features a waterfall and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until November.

DISTANCE
7.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
3,277 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

bird watching

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

snow

no dogs

The Four Mile Trail switchbacks 3200 feet down from Glacier Point to Yosemite Valley, providing wonderful views of the valley. See Half Dome, North Dome, El Capitan, Cathedral Rocks, the Royal Arches, and full views of Yosemite Falls. From the top, the trail is fairly flat for the first mile, then hits relentless switchbacks at the reverse Tunnel View and then along cliffside views to Union Point at the 1.8 mile mark, that then take you into the trees and down to the valley floor near the Swinging Bridge. Views are more spectacular closer to the top of the trail such that if you don't want to go the whole trail in both directions and have transportation (bus or private car) to or from the top, you can hike a partial way down from the top to 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. The trip down, while not as strenuous as the trip up, requires your attention due to the decomposed granite. The trail can be very slippery. [Note/Winter Road Closures: The Glacier Point Road closes 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 closes 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 the 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.]

hiking
6 days ago

Great hike, if doing this hike I'd suggest considering extending it to make the Yosemite Grand Tour. You'll get to see the amazing Vernal and Nevada falls plus other plus other views.

hiking
24 days ago

Some trails are boring because of way too many switchbacks. This is one of them. HOWEVER, once you reach Glacier Point the views are well worth the effort! It would have gotten 5 stars if those switchbacks weren't so dizzying! Bring water and watch out for those who are running DOWN those crazy switchbacks.

hiking
25 days ago

A great day hike if you’re up for the challenge! I highly recommend. The trail got icy and really snowy but we plowed through to enjoy some of the best views I’ve ever scene.

1 month ago

Hard Core with excellent views hiking up and at the summit! Coming down...tough on the knees.

1 month ago

Did with my 60 year old parents at the end of November. Some snow on upper part (past lookout point). Amazing views. Using poles and frequent breaks it took us all day.

Great in winter to get to Glacier Point. Also amazing views throughout multiple valleys.

1 month ago

Just did this trail today, Dec 27th.Park sign says closed mid way up yet we made it to Glacier Point - other fresh footprints before us. 10 miles total roundtrip... bring food, water, layers and crampons. we didn't need them but could easily see how we would've had conditions changed just a tad.

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike with views pretty much the whole way up. Not a hard hike as long as you pace yourself. Did this hike once when Glacier point road was open and once when it was closed. If the road is closed due to snow I would bring hiking sticks or spikes as the trail can get pretty icy. The last time I did it at the end of November the last mile was pretty much a sheet of ice on the way up.

hiking
1 month ago

Hiked this trail in July 2017. A bit strenuous because of the switchbacks. But, totally worth it. Stunning views along the hike.

hiking
1 month ago

We made this hike on June 2017. We are begginers and we kind of almost died. It was the most difficult hike we've done in our lives. Not kidding! It is a very hard trail, a solid climb with switchbacks all the way up until about 1/2 a mile from Glacier Point, where it gets flatter...at least in summer. We ate like 4 energy bars, 2 peanut butter & jam sandwiches and drank about 1L of water each.
BUT THE VIEWS. OMG. Wow. Wouldn't trade them for nothing. Going up is the best option because the valley and surrounding mountains are revealed bit by bit when you start going over the forest. I love how each switchback reveals a bit more of the view. Going down might be quite anticlimactic. We made it up in around 5 hours with lots of breaks, resting, stopping to just appreciate the view and of course taking tons of pictures. I was impressed with the amount of people going up as fast as they could without taking a moment to see the beauty around them. Anyway, got gorgeous pictures and great funny memories :)
Take a lot of water and food.

To keep in mind: There's a hotel bus that goes up to Glacier point and back down to the valley hotel several times a day in summer. You have to pay, but keep it in mind in case of emergency or if you have limited time. The only way up is reserving a spot with the hotel but going down is first come first served until the spots of ppl that only paid one-way are filled.

2 months ago

We did the four mile trail however had to turn around because the snow became pretty deep. We hiked 3 miles in until you don’t see the trail anymore. Hike is tough especially through the snow be sure to bring the right gear. We still had amazing views of el captain and half dome. Just keep in mind it’s dangerous hike with all that powder so be careful

hiking
2 months ago

Some of the most stunning views I’ve ever seen while hiking. Constant amazement at the unreal beauty of the surrounding waterfalls, cliffs, rivers. A magical experience. Highly recommend hiking past glacier point to sentinel dome. Was lucky enough to be the only person atop sentinel dome in late November (Glacier Point driving road closed.)

2 months ago

Hard ascent( especially the ice and snow on the upper part of the trail). With the road closed, a good way to access the awesome views from Glacier Point.

hiking
2 months ago

Switchbacks all the way up and all the way down. Gorgeous views at the top, which were made even better by the recent snowfall. Bring water and real shoes — I saw too many people in tennis shoes struggling on the ice and snow.

2 months ago

This is a solid climb with beautiful vistas along the way. At some points it feels like just trudging uphill. I definitely recommend doing it when Glacier Point road is closed, the viewing spots at the top were relatively uncrowded as it was just those of us who had hiked up. I hiked back down the 4 mile trail but would have preferred to go down the panaroma trail for a less steep incline. Happy to report my knees are just a little sore today and Im feeling good after the climb! Take plenty of water and snacks.

hiking
2 months ago

It was great hike however be ready for a steep switchbacks. There were stunning views of the valleys going up and down the mountain.

2 months ago

Great workout and wonderful views along the way up. I completed this trail in September 2016. The only disappointing thing about this trail is that the view at the top is shared with a whole bunch of people who just drove up and parked.

hiking
3 months ago

Beautiful views the whole way, but good lord strap in for a challenging hike. The elevation gain over a 4.6 mile hike is brutal. It’s truly 9.2 miles from the trail head and back. It took us 3 hr up and 2 back. We started at 10a and got to our car at 3:30p . The only downside of this hike is that at the end of it you are with a ton of people who just drove up and are crowding all the viewpoints... so it can feel a little unrewarding. Usually after that strenuous of a hike you weed out a lot of people but that’s not the case for this hike. Remember you can always meet your group at the top or be dropped off to hike back down. This would make the hike challenging but not as treacherous to go both ways. THIS IS REALLY A HARD HIKE, no joke. Overall glacier point is phenomenal and you get some really beautiful views the entire way. And it’s pretty spectacular to come off the mountain and see what you accomplished from the valley floor. So take water, snacks, and good shoes... and take your time to look around when you’re at the flying altitude of eagles.

hiking
3 months ago

Probably one of the most gratifying hikes in Yosemite because of the panoramic views on Glacier point, and stunning views of the valley at every hairpin. In terms of difficulty this is a solid hard. There are steep switchbacks on the way up and slippery gravel on the descent. We took 3 hours up and about 2 down. Started at 930 and back at 430. Had a blast!

hiking
3 months ago

Awesome hike!!! Tons of switchbacks with great rewarding views from glacier point. Ended up being over 9miles 4.6 each way. Hit it early!!

hiking
3 months ago

We hiked up to the glacier point which was a great hike with even greater views !
We had lunch on the beautiful glacier point and hitchhiked back to the village because we don’t like in and out trails that much. It was a perfect day.

3 months ago

amazing hike. took 2h to ascend & 3h to descend. would highly recommend hiking poles on the

3 months ago

I could have been in better shape. Great views of the valley. I would not suggest this for the novice. No special gear needed when it’s dry. No food at summit on October 30th.

4 months ago

my wife and I just got done going up and down. went up at 1145a got there at 245p. stayed up there and enjoyed the views for an hour. headed down, that took about 2 hours on the dot. mosquitoes were waiting for us, but walk fast to the base camp restaurant to refuel. we dont hike hardly at all but first time in Yosemite we wanted a challenge and the thrill of accomplishing this. went through half a gallon of water, sunscreen was a good idea as well. bring snacks for the top!

Bring your hiking poles and hiking shoes!! I brought mine even though I read here that you shouldn’t and I’m glad I did. so many people commented they wish they had poles. This trail is not as bad as upper Yosemite falls. Made it up in 2hrs 20 minutes but it took me longer to Get down probably because I yielded to so many coming up later in the day. Beautiful views for sure. 8am start was perfect.

hiking
4 months ago

I did just the down portion of this hike. I was driven up to glacier point and enjoyed the wonderful view of half dome, north dome, Yosemite falls, and the valley floor. The trail was a strenuous walk down. It’s rocky and can be a bit slippery in spots with sandy rock on top of the “paved portion.” There were great views of El Capitan and the cathedral rocks, as well as Yosemite falls on the decent.

hiking
4 months ago

I did this on 22nd September. Started late around 11:30 AM. Took 4 hours for ascent and 3 hours for decent. Terrain is treacherous, hiking poles don't help well due to uneven grounds. Switchbacks sometimes seem never ending. Yosemite waterfall was dry, so the wall looked plain and dull. The valley view was spectacular but never changing. You will reach a point where you will see half dome and that's more than half way done. Bring plenty of water for one way like 2 liters as at the top you can refill it. Get good shoes with traction as the terrain is slippery due to gravel and sand. Very challenging hike with rewarding views throughout. If you are starting late, please get bug spray as after 5-6 PM, the biting flies won't leave you, I promise. Nevertheless, I will definitely be coming back next April to do the same when the water peak off is high. Can't wait.

22nd September was free national park day and the crowd at glacier point was crazy.

hiking
4 months ago

I would like to come back and do this again, but on a cloudy day. Maybe in October or November. Because of the fires, the air was pretty smoggy and everything looked dry. The falls are all dried out at this time.

I started at 05:45 AM. Two other gentlemen started at the same time. Someone else started at 07:00 AM and he caught up and passed me on the way to the top haha.

Lots of beautiful views and it is fun to see the sun touch everything and then come down to completely different lighting. No surprise, lots of switchbacks, but it is a fun, challenging, enjoyable hike. It took me 3.5 hours to make it to the top and two hours to get back down.

Glacier Point is a madhouse.

I had an amazing experience getting to run into a momma bear and cub on the way back down. She was on trail as I was cantering down, we both scared the life out of each other as I turned the switchback and she was less than 15 feet away. I kept my eyes on them and they watched me as I passed. Pictures are lame, because I wasn't about to be one of those people who gets too close and then dies. I just held my camera in the air and clicked while I backed up. Just wonderful! I hope I never forget that moment.

hiking
5 months ago

Strenuous- best done from the Valley to Glacier Point. Get up early in the morning - switchbacks are difficult, but we are happy we did not do the first half of the climb in the sun! We started at 9am. Bring plenty of water and food. We saw many people not prepared with the right amount of water or shoes.
It took us 3 hours with 2-3 breaks in between to get to the top. About 2-2.5 hours to get down.
Spectacular views at Glacier point and well-worth the hike!

5 months ago

AMAZING views the entire way up and down. It is strenuous for sure but so worth it. Switchbacks almost all the way up.

hiking
5 months ago

got on the trail around 830am and there were only a few other groups on the way up, plus a couple on their way down, so it was nice and quiet, and well shaded. there aren't any particularly steep sections, just lots of switchbacks which was surprisingly enjoyable. the view from the top is awesome but lots of people, and on the way back down it was fairly busy. couldn't get a good look at yosemite falls but vernal and nevada falls can be seen from the top.

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