Hiking in Yosemite National Park



Popular Places

  • South Entrance (Wawona)
  • Yosemite Village
  • Neighborhoods

  • Highway 41 corridor
  • Yosemite ranks among the tops in the world for best places to hike. There are 800 miles of trails, all of them through miles of stunning mountain scenery. Between November and May, most of them are buried deep in snow, but during the generally dry, sunny summers they're naturally popular with thousands of day hikers and backpackers.

    Half Dome is one of the best-known extreme hikes on earth, especially due to its climactic ascent up two steep cables to the bare granite summit. To limit the hazards of crowding, permits are required for both day and overnight trips; check the NPS website and plan ahead.

    The corridor that leads toward Half Dome is also a breath-taking route in its own right: along the whitewater Merced River on the Mist Trail past 300' Vernal Fall then 600' Nevada Fall. Many people go less than a mile up, to the bridge below Vernal, but the whole loop is about 7 miles, with a 2000' ascent.

    On the other side of Yosemite Valley is Yosemite Falls, with three stages of hikes there. The wheelchair accessible base of Lower Falls is dramatic but easy to do. Hikers can go a mile up the Yosemite Falls Trail to the awe-inspiring overlook at Columbia Point. Those wanting to go big can cover the full 3.5 miles to the cliff at the top of the falls and watch it pour down over 2400' into the Valley.

    The summer high country is a center for backpackers with Lembert Dome, Cathedral Lakes, and Mono Pass being popular day trips. Overnighters head for Glen Aulin, Ireland Lake or even the whole John Muir Trail, 180 miles to Mt. Whitney. Plan ahead and get a permit for all overnights; approved bear-resistant food containers are required.

    expert pick

    Half Dome Trail

    user rating

    East end of Happy Isle Loop Road
    (Yosemite Valley)

    The best hiking adventure for the very fit...
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    expert pick

    Lower Yosemite Falls Day Hike

    user rating

    Northside Drive
    (Yosemite Valley)

    An easy half-hour loop to the base of a park icon...
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    Top of Nevada Falls Hike

    user rating

    East end of Happy Isle Loop Road
    (Yosemite Valley)

    A strenuous but astounding day's round-trip to a 600-foot waterfall... read more

    Mist Trail to Vernal Fall

    Lembert Dome Trail

    P.O. Box 577
    The trail head is at a parking lot north of CA 120 in Tuolumne Meadows at rd. marker T-32. Follow the nature trail that starts here and take off at marker no. 2

    Popular climb that leads to a spectacular view...
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    Chilnualna Falls Trail

    P.O. Box 577

    Wawona's best big hike... read more

    Sentinel Dome Trail

    P.O. Box 577

    Leads to the summit's sweeping views... read more

    Cathedral Lake Trail

    P.O. Box 577
    The trail head is off Tioga Rd., at the west end of Tuolumne Meadows, west of Budd Creek

    Popular subalpine route to beautiful lakes and peaks... read more

    Upper Yosemite Falls Trail

    user rating

    Camp 4 near Shuttle Stop #7
    (Yosemite Valley)

    Superb views of Yosemite Valley from above on this tough 3.5 mile climb... read more

    North Dome

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