A Hiker’s Guide to Yosemite

Views from Yosemite

A Hiker’s Guide to Yosemite

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Every year, as summer comes closer and the snow melts, hikers from all over flock to Yosemite National Park for its beautiful trails and scenery. The famous park is scattered with hikes for everyone of all abilities and skill levels, but sometimes finding which trails to take on can be intimidating, so we’ve got a list to guide you through it.

Yosemite's Peaks

Easy

Glacier Point

We’re kicking off our list is one of our favorites. Glacier Point is a short one-mile hike that offers extraordinary views. It often seems like to get to the greatest views, you need to take longer or more challenging hikes, but that is not the case with Glacier Point. The hike offers a 270-degree view of Half Dome, Yosemite Valley and parts of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. It also offers some of the most stunning sunsets.

Lower Yosemite Falls

This one is possibly one of the most recognizable Yosemite hikes, considering all of the photos swarming social media. The hike itself is actually more of a walk, so it’s great for families with young children still looking for a view. The trail is just half a mile and leads you to the base of the falls, which also happens to be the tallest waterfall in North America. It’s also great on a warm day, because chances are, you’ll get sprayed with water at the base.

Sentinel Meadow & Cook’s Meadow Loop

If you’re looking for an easy hike that’s a little longer, this is one fantastic. The hike is just over two miles, round trip, with almost no elevation gain. It takes you through a few meadows and offers beautiful views of Half Dome and Yosemite Falls from below. If you’re lucky enough to visit while the wildflowers are blooming, you’re really in for a treat.

Looking for more hiking trails? Check out these Midwest options.

Waterfalls in Yosemite

Intermediate

Lembert Dome

A short hike with a big view. Don’t be fooled by its 2.8 mile round trip, because it also has nearly a 1,000 foot elevation gain. Like we said though, the view at the end makes it all worth it. Once you hit the top of Lembert Dome, you’ll be rewarded with views of Tuolumne Meadows and the Cathedral Range.

Hite Cove Trail

You’ve seen the hundreds of photos of the California super-bloom circling your Instagram, right? Well, while this isn’t technically it, it’s a great alternative. If you’re there during the spring, then you’ll be lucky enough to hike through fields of California Poppies. The hike is four miles round trip for wildflower viewing, and nine miles to make it to Hite Cove. The trail is really at its best March-May, but it’s gorgeous no matter when you go!

Upper Yosemite Falls

This one is definitely the most challenging of all our intermediate hikes. The hike is a total of 7.6 miles long,  with several steep switchbacks. We know, it feels painful just reading it, but if you’re up for it, the views offered throughout this hike make it completely worth it. It’s recommended to get started on this one at the crack of dawn, as it’s guaranteed to take up most of your day. Trust us, you’ll much prefer hiking downhill, when the afternoon sun is beating down on you.

Fall in Yosemite

Challenging

Panorama Trail

Arguably one of the most scenic hikes in all of Yosemite, Panorama Trail takes you through Glacier Point, along with the diverse amounts of nature that Yosemite has to offer. The hike is 8.5 miles long and is one of the few trails that give you the opportunity to hike along cliffs, creeks and waterfalls, all in one hike. It’s the best of… a lot of words.

Nevada Fall Trail

This trail takes you up 2,000 feet in just under six miles, so yes, it’s pretty hard. That said, it’s pretty worth it. The hike is strenuous, but it offers views of a lifetime. Although not as tall as the famous Yosemite Falls, it’s always fun to explore some of the other waterfalls that Yosemite National Parks has to offer, and this one won’t let you down.

There you have it, that’s our complete list. Happy hiking!