Photo of Hiking Trails in Yosemite National Park, CA

The Best Hiking Trails in Yosemite National Park, CA

Explore Hiking Trails

Adventures in the valley that started the National Park Movement

There’s nothing quite like hiking in Yosemite National Park. The Yosemite Valley, where most of the top hikes are located, has trails for hikers of all ability levels and is guaranteed to be a hit with the whole family. These trails offer views of iconic landmarks like Half Dome, Yosemite Falls, Vernal Falls, and Mirror Lake.

The best hikes in Yosemite National park are easily accessible near Yosemite Village. Several, including the famous Mist Trail, begin along the John Muir Trail. There are many options ranging from short family friendly trails to challenging all day hikes.

At Strava, we use data from millions of hikes to make sure you have the most accurate information before you head out on trail. This list of top hikes in Yosemite National Park will help you have a memorable trail adventure!

Top 10 hiking trails in Yosemite National Park, CA

1

Half Dome

Hard
16.61 mi(8h 6m)·
5,007 ft
The Half Dome hike is one of the most challenging and rewarding hikes in the National Park System. If there’s one way to see the highlights of Yosemite National Park, this is it! You’ll begin by taking the John Muir Trail past Vernal falls, then Nevada falls. From there you’ll walk beneath Liberty Cap, through the Little Yosemite Valley to the base of Half Dome. To reach the summit of half dome, you’ll use steel cables to navigate the last 400’ of steep pitches. Many hikers bring gloves to improve their grip along this final section. This is a hard hike and should only be attempted by experienced hikers. The cables are present during the summer (usually from just before Memorial Day to just after Columbus Day.) If you're planning on making the final push along the cabled route to the summit, you’ll need a permit. Learn how to get one here: <a href="https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/hdpermits.htm">https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/hdpermits.htm</a>
2

Upper Yosemite Falls Trail

Hard
6.55 mi(3h 41m)·
3,104 ft
Climb to the top of the tallest, and maybe most scenic, waterfall in the continental United States. The Upper Yosemite Falls trail is one of the park’s can't miss adventures. The trail begins with a series of wooded switchbacks before opening up to incredible views of Yosemite Valley. You’ll then pass Colombia Rock and a fantastic mid way view of the waterfall before tackling another set of switchbacks to the brink of the falls. This trail follows an out and back route. Because of the length, elevation gain, and occasionally treacherous surface conditions, most hikers consider this a hard hike. Upper Yosemite Falls is one of the most popular trails for Strava members visiting the park. The waterfall is at its peak flow in the spring but may be dry at other times of year. Check out a live webcam of the falls here: <a href="https://www.nps.gov/yose/learn/photosmultimedia/webcams.htm">https://www.nps.gov/yose/learn/photosmultimedia/webcams.htm</a>
3

Glacier Point via Four Mile Trail

Hard
9.96 mi(4h 14m)·
3,379 ft
Hike from Sentinel Rock to the top of Yosemite Valley and enjoy some of the best views in the park. It’s possible to drive to Glacier Point, but the hiking route is infinitely more rewarding. This hike follows Four Mile Trail and ends at the Glacier Point overlook and parking lot. The trail follows an out and back route. Because of its significant length and elevation gain, most consider this a hard hike. This is one of the most popular hikes for Strava members visiting Yosemite National Park. The views of the complete Yosemite Falls halfway up the trail are worth the trip in and of themselves.
4

Clouds Rest

Hard
12.01 mi(5h 39m)·
3,017 ft
The Clouds Rest Trail is a challenging and rewarding hike to Clouds Rest, a sharp and pronounced peak above Yosemite Valley. Reaching the summit involves scrambling up a sheer ridge with steep drops in every direction. The views, once you arrive, are some of the best in the park. The trail follows an out and back route. Because of the length, the steep overall grade, and the exposed peak, most consider this a hard hike. This is one of the most popular day hikes for Strava Members visiting Yosemite National Park. Take a look at the photos from the community to get a sense of the breathtaking views at the summit
5

Inspiration Point via Pohono Trail

Hard
2.28 mi(1h 18m)·
1,039 ft
Inspiration Point is a great place to take in the classic Yosemite view, with El Capitan on the left and Half Dome on the right. The Inspiration Point hike starts at the iconic Tunnel Viewpoint and proceeds up along the Pohono Trail. After about one mile, you’ll reach the viewpoint and be able to look back towards the Yosemite Valley. The trail follows an out and back route. Although it is on the shorter side, the Pohono Trail is steep and considered a hard trail by most hikers. This is a popular hike for Strava members visiting the park.
6

Mirror Lake Loop

Easy
2.05 mi(46m)·
131 ft
The Mirror Lake Loop is a great, easy way to soak in the serenity of Yosemite National Park. You’ll find the trailhead along Happy Isles Road, which is accessible via the Yosemite National Park Shuttles. Most hikers take the loop counter clockwise beginning along what’s marked as the Valley Loop Trail. As you walk deeper into Yosemite Valley you’ll be treated to reflections of Half Dome in the waters of Mirror Lake. Most hikers consider this an easy route, and the views of the valley are worth every step. The lake can dry up during the late summer, but should be full at most other times of year. This is a popular hike for Strava members visiting Yosemite National Park.
7

El Capitan Summit Hike

Hard
11.88 mi(6h 8m)·
4,285 ft
From the valley floor to the summit of “El Cap,” the El Capitan Summit Hike is a must do for the serious adventurer. This hike is challenging and will likely take a full day. The views from the summit of El Capitan are spectacular. This hike follows an out and back route. Because of the steep switchbacks and overall length to the summit, most consider this a hard hike. This exact route, which begins along the Upper Yosemite Falls Trail, takes a short trip to the brink of the falls, then continues on around to the granite summit of El Cap is a popular hike with Strava members visiting the park.
8

Vernal Falls Trail

Hard
5.78 mi(2h 27m)·
1,625 ft
The Vernal Falls Loop is a fun and challenging lollipop shaped hike that passes by the stunning Vernal Falls. You’ll pick up the trail at the Happy Isles Trailhead and begin along the John Muir trail. After about 1.8 miles, you’ll stay straight to remain on the mist trail, which will take you to Vernal Falls. Once you pass the falls and Emerald Pool, you’ll turn back onto the John Muir Trail to complete the loop section. There is the option to do a longer loop section which includes Nevada Falls, but the routing shown is most popular. Because of the length and overall steep grade, most consider this a hard hike.
9

Chilnualna Falls Trail

Hard
7.31 mi(3h 23m)·
2,065 ft
One of the park’s hidden gems, the Chilnualna Falls Trail takes you to a stunning waterfall and wadeable pool. This trail is outside the Yosemite Valley and can be a good option if you’re looking to avoid the crowds. The Chilnualna Falls Trail follows an out and back route. Because of its length and steep switchbacks, most hikers consider this a hard hike. The falls at the top of the trail have stone steps and a small pool which hikers occasionally wade in during warmer weather.
10

North Dome Trail

Hard
7.91 mi(3h 1m)·
1,634 ft
The North Dome Trail has some of the park’s best views of Half Dome and Cloud’s Rest. In a park as spectacular as Yosemite, the top trails tend to get a lot of the traffic, so this one is likely to be less jammed on a busy day. The North Dome Trail follows an out and back route to the summit of North Dome. On the way back down, most hikers take the short but steep detour to the granite geological feature, Indian Rock Arch. This is a can’t miss! Because of the overall length and challenging steep sections, most consider this a hard hike. This is one of the hidden gem hikes popular with Strava members visiting Yosemite National Park.