Yosemite Hiking trail tips. 3 moderate trails for a day hike.


Hiking in Yosemite is an amazing experience. no matter if you choose to stay in the valley or head up into the high country, you will always be rewarded with wonderful views.

"With walls of granite rock towering all around ~ the beauty is outstanding!"


When you start any hike in Yosemite be sure to carry lots of water and check with the ranger station for weather conditions.

Here are 3 trail suggestions for you to try.

1. The Yosemite valley floor loop trail

This trail is 13 miles long and is one of the least traveled trails in Yosemite Valley. You begin this trail at either the Chapel or at Camp 4. If 13 miles is too long for you, cut across the bridge at El Capitan and it will make the trail 6.5 miles long.

Either way the views you will experience are wonderful. Along the way you will see:

  • Half Dome
  • El Capitan
  • The Merced River
  • Yosemite meadow
  • Yosemite Falls

On this trail, you will become a photography expert! It is hard to take a bad picture with some much natural beauty.

2. The Mist trail to Vernal Falls Footbridge

While this trail is mostly paved, it does ascend 1400 feet in elevation. the round trip hike is only about 1.5 miles. You begin this hike at shuttle stop #16.

The most popular trail

You will be hiking along the side of the Merced river. Again, on this hike you will become a expert at photography with the Merced river and the granite walls about you as your subject. This trail will be much busier as it is the most popular trail in Yosemite. You will have company around you especially during the summer months. As you make your destination of the Vernal Falls footbridge you will have the full view of Vernal Falls.

A granite cliff of over 300 feet where the Merced river rushes down to the valley. If you continue up the stone cut stairs yo can reach the top of the waterfall.

Depending on the amount of water coming down the falls, and the wind, the stairs can be wet…and the hikers on the stairs!

3. The Upper Yosemite Falls trail - Columbia Rock

This trail is the oldest hiking trails in the valley which dates back to 1870. it is on the top side of moderate hikes, (you should have a lot of experience)  so be prepared for elevation gain and switchbacks. It is located on the north side of the valley and gets more sun exposure.

You start this trail at Camp 4. This hike will take you to Columbia Rock which is about 1.5 miles.  On the trail, you will go through switchbacks and gain about 1000 feet in elevation. At Columbia rock you will have an outstanding view of:

  • Yosemite Valley meadow
  • Half Dome
  • Sentinel Rock

If you continue on the trail you will see a wonderful view of Upper Yosemite Falls and sometimes a colorful rainbow.

But no matter how far you hike  you will enjoy yourself because you are in one of the most beautiful places on earth!

"...full of God's thoughts, a place of peace and safety amid the most exalted grandeur and enthusiastic action, a new song, a place of beginnings abounding in first lessons of life, mountain building, eternal, invincible, unbreakable order; with sermons in stone, storms, trees, flowers, and animals brimful with humanity.”― John Muir

Click here for a map of Yosemite Valley hiking trails http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/upload/valleyhikes.pdf