Yosemite National Park

• HIking in Yosemite NP Photos and Video  NPS Website  Trail Map 

 

Glacier Point Road    
      
 Glacier Point (P.O.I.) Easy 0.7 miles
Synopsis: Seldom have absolutely spectacular views been earned with so little effort. Words hardly describe the grandeur of the vistas available here - from El Capitan to the valley to Half Dome to the amazing falls of the Merced River canyon. It's almost too much to take in, but still a must-see. 
       
 Sentinel Dome (dayhike) Easy-Moderate 2.2 miles
Synopsis: Some people claim that of all the spectacular peaks and domes in Yosemite, it is from this spot that the best views are to be had. I don't know if that's true (Cloud's Rest advocates may argue) but I do know that it's an amazing destination with gorgeous prospects all around. The trail here is short and mostly gentle, with a little sturdy climbing at the last. Sentinel Dome is also known to be a hangout for sunsets, so if you arrive late and have a headlamp with you, stick around for what may be an unforgettable show. 
     
Mariposa Grove    
         
 Lower Grove loop (dayhike)   Easy  2 miles 
Synopsis: If you're pressed for time and don't want to take the tram, but still want to see some of the big trees, this loop is ideal. Standing in the presence of the Grizzly Giant alone is enough to impress anyone. 
       
Tuolumne Meadows    
       
 Dog Lake (dayhike) Easy-Moderate  2.8 miles
Synopsis: A short, enjoyable hike to a pretty lake with nice views to some eastern peaks. There is a bit of a climb as you pass Lembert Dome on the west side, but the trail is good and there will probably plenty of company to show you the way. A nice hike for late arrivers or those getting used to the altitude. 
       
 Lower Cathedral Lake (dayhike) Moderate-Difficult  8 miles 
Synopsis: A popular hike with tremendous mountain, lake and forest scenery. The granite and pines of the Sierras surround you so spectacularly you may not notice how much company you have on the trail (on the return leg of this hike it rained and hailed on us and there was still a decent number of folks passing us on their way out). The initial part of this hike is where most of the climbing happens, so if you're not used to the elevation you might want to take it easy, or even turn back. 
     
 Pothole Dome cascades (dayhike)   Easy 2.5 miles
Synopsis: More of a walk than a hike, but you couldn't find a prettier place to take it. The trail out around the dome is flat enough for all ages and conditions, though there is a bit of easy scrambling to get to the cascades area. 
     
Yosemite Valley    
     
 Bridalveil Falls (P.O.I.) Easy 0.4 miles 
Synopsis: Bridalveil Falls is an excellent example of a hanging valley waterfall. The walk to the base is easy and worthwhile. 
     
 Lower Yosemite Falls (P.O.I.)   Easy 1 miles 
Synopsis: This is an easy stroll to the base of one of the tallest and most beautiful waterfalls in the world. No more need be said. 
     
 Merced River loop (dayhike) Easy  2.1 miles 
Synopsis: This is a flat, pleasant trail that mostly follows a bike path from Yosemite Lodge to loop past the river a couple of times and return along Northside Drive. There are several spots where side trips to the river can add to the fun. 
     
 Middle Yosemite Falls (dayhike)   Moderate  3.1 miles 
Synopsis: For those who don't have the time to reach the top of the falls, some steady, and often steep climbing offers a chance to see a part of Yosemite Falls that is only barely visible from the valley floor. In fact, amazing views are commonplace on this hike. 
     
 Turtleback Dome (dayhike) Easy  1.3 miles 
Synopsis: There are few more spectacular entrances to a national park attraction than the Tunnel View entrance to Yosemite Valley. For this reason the place can be a zoo, especially on summer weekends. If you want just as good a view without the crowds - probably without anyone else at all - take the short little hike up to Turtleback Dome, and take your time.  
     
     

All photos and video by Laura or Bob Camp unless otherwise indicated. Use without permission is not cool.