There are over 800 miles of Yosemite hikes in the park, and there's something for everyone. So many visitors only take the paved short hikes, but there are a bunch of great trail hikes that aren't necessarily hard or long. But of course, there are the longer and tougher hikes too. Yosemite was the favorite stomping ground for John Muir, father of the modern-day outdoors movement. He would bring contemporaries like Emerson and Teddy Roosevelt here to get them to fall in love with the outdoors. It's easy to do, so please get out of your car, get off the paved walkways, and experience a hike.
|How To Hike Half Dome – The Complete Guide||17||Very Hard||Yosemite Village||5200||N|
|North Dome Hike||9.5||Moderate||Yosemite Valley||2170||N|
|Hike Chilnualna Falls Trail||8.4||Hard||Wawona||2500||N|
|Clouds Rest Hike Guide||12.5||Hard||Lee Vining||3200||N|
|Four Mile Trail Hike Guide||10||Hard||Yosemite Village||4570||N|
|Hike Columbia Rock (Yosemite)||2||Moderate||Yosemite Valley||1050||N|
|Upper Yosemite Falls Hike||7.2||Hard||Yosemite Valley||3900||N|
|Hike Mirror Lake Trail (Yosemite)||5||Easy||Yosemite Valley||480||N|
|Mist Trail to Vernal Falls and Nevada Falls||6||Hard||Yosemite Valley||2600||N|
|Hike To Artist Point in Yosemite National Park||2.2||Moderate||Yosemite National Park||750||N|
|Hike the Taft Point Overlook and Fissures||2.5||Easy||Yosemite National Park||250||N|
|Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias Hike Guide||7||Moderate||Yosemite National Park||1590||N|
|Sentinel Dome Hike||2.2||Moderate||Yosemite National Park||530||N|
Check out my Yosemite hiking tips page too!
Most people only experience Yosemite National Park from their car, but the majority of Yosemite is backcountry, which is best explored by hiking. There are hikes for all levels, and these Yosemite hiking tips will help you pick the perfect one and have a great time experiencing it. It’s time to leave the car and crowds behind and enjoy Yosemite the way it was meant to be.
The hike up to Half Dome, towering over the Yosemite Valley at 8846 feet, is one of the great bucket list hikes. You’ll pass iconic waterfalls, hike through majestic sequoias, and then pull yourself up steel cables to stand at the summit. There’s a lot to know before you start; this isn’t just a hike where you show up at the trailhead and go. There’s a decent amount of anxiety about the cables section of the hike for a lot of folks. In this guide, I will cover everything you need to know in a simple and step-by-step way. I’ll help you prepare, conquer your fears, bag the summit, and have a great time in the process.
Yosemite Village, CA - 17 miles, Very Hard
The North Dome hike in Yosemite is a gem in so many ways. It’s tough, but not super hard. You enjoy beautiful trails but without the major crowds. A quick side-trip takes you to Yosemite’s only natural arch, which is worth a visit. There are picture-perfect views of Half Dome from directly across the valley. And then, of course, North Dome offers panoramic views from down the Yosemite Valley up to the high peaks on Tioga Road and beyond. I highly recommend this hike; give it a try.
Yosemite Valley, CA - 9.5 miles, Moderate
The hike to Chilnualna Falls is one of Yosemite’s undiscovered gems. And, of course, when I say “undiscovered,” I mean in loosely, but in practical terms, this waterfall hike only has a fraction of the crowds that other Yosemite waterfall hikes have. The Chilnualna Falls Trail is in the southern Wawona section of the park, and offers a multi-cascading waterfall, swimming holes, views of Wawona Dome, and beautiful trails. If you’ve done the big name hikes already or are just looking for something a little more peaceful, the Chilnualna Falls Trail is the move.
Wawona, CA - 8.4 miles, Hard
The Clouds Rest hike in Yosemite is a favorite of the park rangers; you get incredible panoramic views from over 1,000 feet above Half Dome. And unlike Half Dome, for the Clouds Rest hike, no permit is needed, the distance and climbing is manageable, and you don’t have to navigate anything like the anxiety-inducing cables section. It’s considered one of the epic Yosemite hikes and is definitely worth the effort.
Lee Vining, CA - 12.5 miles, Hard
The Four Mile Trail hike is like a “best of” Yosemite hike. Built in 1872 as a $1 toll road, the Four Mile Trail connects the two most popular spots in the park, the Yosemite Valley and Glacier Point. Along the way up the switchbacks of this engineering marvel, you are rewarded with turn after turn of breathtaking views of the Yosemite Valley. You’ll see El Capitan, Yosemite Falls, Half Dome, and everything in between. And if you hike up, you are rewarded with a rest at Glacier Point, probably the most stunning vista in the park.
Yosemite Village, CA - 10 miles, Hard
If you’re not a big hiker but still want to get a taste of what the epic hikes of Yosemite are like, this short, yet specular, hike to Columbia Rock is for you. In just 2 miles (round-trip) you’ll get to hike the iconic switchbacks, up the walls of Yosemite Valley, on a trail built by Yosemite’s master trail-builder, John Conway. And at the top, you reach Columbia Rock, a scenic overlook with sweeping views of Yosemite Valley and Half Dome. The hike is just minutes away from the popular Yosemite Lodge and tourist attractions of the valley.
Yosemite Valley, CA - 2 miles, Moderate
The Upper Yosemite Falls hike is one of the must-do hikes at Yosemite National Park. The trail is an iconic engineering marvel. It’s tough, climbing about 3000 feet in 3 miles, but the incredible scenery makes your heart light even when your legs feel heavy. You’re treated to panoramic views of the Yosemite Valley, Half Dome and the high peaks, and of course, Upper Yosemite Falls. The falls are the tallest waterfall in North America at 2425 feet, and you’ll be able to see it from many angles as you hike to the top. And at the top, you can simply take in the views, or even hike onto a viewing platform carved into the granite wall. Give the hike a go; the memories will stick with you for a lifetime.
Yosemite Valley, CA - 7.2 miles, Hard
As one of the few hikes that are flat in Yosemite, the Mirror Lake Trail takes you on a scenic loop around the popular swimming hole and Tenaya Creek. Mirror Lake is very popular, and you can expect crowds at the beginning of the hike. But after that, you should have most of the trail to yourself as you meander through Tenaya Valley, gazing up at views of Half Dome, North Dome, and Mt Watkins. This guide has a short 2 mile option to Mirror Lake and back, and also a very doable 5 mile loop up peaceful Tenaya Valley.
Yosemite Valley, CA - 5 miles, Easy
Considered the classic Yosemite hike, the Mist Trail to Vernal Falls and Nevada Falls lives up to its hype. The lower slopes are paved and scenic, but then you cross the Merced River and hike through the mist up 600 granite steps to the 317-foot Vernal Falls (3 miles round-trip). You can then continue to the massive and booming 594-foot Nevada Falls (6 miles round-trip). And for a (highly recommended) loop hike back, follow the famous John Muir Trail down scenic switchbacks where you’ll get great views of Nevada Falls and Liberty Dome.
Yosemite Valley, CA - 6 miles, Hard
Just a mile away from the popular Tunnel View overlook, this hike to Artist Point in Yosemite National Park feels like it’s a world away. Simply a short hike away from the parking area and you leave the crowds behind, get a sample of Yosemite’s famous trails, and then arrive at Artist Point, with incredible views of the Yosemite Valley. And most likely, unlike Tunnel View, you’ll have the spot all to yourself. It’s a great hike for all levels and a great leg stretcher if you’re arriving in the Yosemite Valley.
Yosemite National Park, CA - 2.2 miles, Moderate
The 2.5-mile hike to Taft Point Overlook and the Fissures offers a lot of incredible scenery away from the crowds, all for a small effort. After hiking through lush forest, you arrive at the fissures; massive gashes cut into the granite cliffs. And from there, it’s a short walk to Taft Point, which offers sweeping views into the Yosemite Valley. The hike is downhill to Taft Point, and then has a mild uphill back to the start on Glacier Point Road. Do yourself a favor, get away from the crowds along the road and enjoy the pristine wilderness on this hike. You won’t be disappointed.
Yosemite National Park, CA - 2.5 miles, Easy
Nestled in the southern, less-visited part of Yosemite National Park, the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias hike takes you on a tour through a grove of 500 mature Giant Sequoia trees, including some that are 2,000 years old. The Mariposa Grove was first protected by Abraham Lincoln in 1864, added as a National Park in 1906, and in 2019 reopened after an extensive restoration. The 7 mile Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias Trail hits all of the major attractions in the grove. It’s got a little bit of uphill, but in general, is pretty easy and offers great scenery for the effort.
Yosemite National Park, CA - 7 miles, Moderate
The Sentinal Dome hike offers everything that’s great about Yosemite National Park in an easy 2.2-mile package. You get to hike on the iconic trails of the Sierras, you get to climb a big granite dome, and you get the best panoramic views of all the attractions in the park. Even if you’re not an experienced hiker, you need to put this trail on your list, it’s worth it.
Yosemite National Park, CA - 2.2 miles, Moderate