Explore the most popular trails near Buena Vista with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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A strenuous hike for a novice. Went with a buddy who's not much of a hiker and he had a rough go at it. Stopping frequently and cramping up towards the top. Bring 3-4 liters of water, a good pair of hiking shoes/boots and hiking poles. Mid-October needed a warm sweater and gloves near the top.

The first 2.5-3 miles was fairly easy, mostly down hill on an asphalt road to Tamarack Creek(?) bridge, the last water source(October). There, the climb begins. About half way up the terrain changes from closed forest to open granite. Stay left and follow the man-made stacked rock markers. The last 2 miles goes back into the trees and flattens out a bit, then opens up again as you reach El Capitan. This is as far as we went. The view across the valley is amazing, but you can't see Half Dome from there. We were told to keep following the trail if you want to see Half Dome, we had gone far enough!

The hike up took 5 hours with frequent stops to catch our breath and question what we had gotten ourselves into! An experienced hiker could do it in 4 hours or less. Well worth the pain when you look over the ledge and grasp just how massive it is! The hike down took 4 hours with frequent stops on the uphill parts towards the end. Should only take 3.5 hours. Round trip was 9.5 hours with a lunch break on top. This was a beautiful hike and is a good test for the average hiker. I would rank it as moderate...beginners beware!

In my opinion this trail should be rated more of a hard trail due to its length and elevation gain. Overall great views all around from forest, to granite clearings, to an amazing view of the valley. Be wary though that after crossing cascade creek there is no water until shorty before getting to El Cap.

A nice trail to a beautiful panorama of Yosemite. We saw three deers on our way up, and only two other hikers during the entire hike, so that's definitely a nice place to get away from the valley crowds.
The helicopter base at the top is fun to explore too.

hiking
Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Beautiful. Lush riparian forest near Tamarack turning to dry alpine sierra forest closer to el cap.
It's only 4/5 because I consider something like the falls to el cap or half dome to be 5/5. This is worth your time if you can't do those.
When you top out there is still quite a ways to scramble down to the edge of el cap's cliff face and doesn't offer the same totally panoramic view as half dome, although it is incredible in its own right.
I didn't see a single person on the way out from Tamarack and only saw one group of people near Tamarack campground on the way back. Went on a Wednesday.
Hope you've been working that stair master!

backpacking
Monday, July 17, 2017

snowshoeing
Saturday, May 21, 2011

This is a nice snowshoe trail that takes you to the Crane Flat Lookout - a fire lookout, which has a wonderful 360-degree view of Yosemite. You can see El Capitan & Half Dome in the distance to the east and lovely forest and mountain all the way around. The top of the lookout is huge (several football fields in size) and relatively flat, allowing for plenty of people to find a spot of their own to sit and enjoy. Another fun thing is the abandoned helicopter shell at the top of the lookout. The trail itself follows the fire road so it is wide and well groomed. It does have a fairly constant incline, but not too steep. We went end of season, so the snow was beginning to get a little thin in the sunniest places, but was still good. There was a decent amount of traffic on the trail, but we still had long stretches of solitude. I don't recall the exact length (I'll defer to the info on the site) but it provided for a nice day trip which included lunch at the top, and a little time to sit and enjoy the view.

hiking
2 months ago

snowshoeing
8 months ago

hiking
Saturday, August 19, 2017

Sunday, August 13, 2017

scenic driving
Monday, October 10, 2016

snowshoeing
Sunday, March 27, 2016

snowshoeing
Monday, December 28, 2015