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greenBlue Valley Loop Trail

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17.0 mile 27.4 kilometer loop


Ascent: 869' 265 m
Descent: -868' -265 m
High: 4,150' 1,265 m
Low: 3,875' 1,181 m


Avg Grade: 2% (1°)
Max Grade: 18% (10°)


No Dogs
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Trail shared by Brian Smith

A nearly 20 mile trail forming a loop around Yosemite Valley.

Brian Smith

Features Birding · Lake · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife


This trail follows many of the Valley's first east-west trails and wagon roads. It offers a rare opportunity in Yosemite Valley: to hike on a fairly level trail with some solitude. While some of the trail passes near roads, much of it takes you through meadows, talus slopes at the base of the granite cliffs, and near the Merced River. You can access the trail from many places throughout the Valley. Route-finding can be difficult in places, so it is best to bring a map with you (even a simple day hiking brochure from the visitor center) or the Hiking Project mobile app as they will orient you with the various landforms in the Valley, which are often listed on the trail/directional signs.

From the Lower Yosemite Fall area, head west along the base of the Three Brothers rock formation, past Camp 4, eventually working your way through Yosemite Valley to El Capitan. If you are planning to hike the half loop, cross the Merced River at El Capitan Bridge and continue by heading east back toward Yosemite Village. If you are planning to hike the full loop, continue west past El Capitan toward Bridalveil Fall. While most of the trail is flat, there are some hilly sections throughout the loop. Additionally, you'll find mixed trail surfaces: dirt, rocks, sand, and old pavement.

The Valley Loop Trail is open year-round. During spring, you may find localized flooding on the trail near creeks. During winter, the trail is often snowy and icy in places, particularly along the south side of Yosemite Valley. In these areas, use extreme caution as it may be hard to get traction on ice and route-finding may be difficult in snowy areas (the trail may be completely obscured by just a few inches of snow).


Land Manager: NPS - Yosemite

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May 18, 2019
Ch S
May 12, 2019
Michael Schieferecke
Apr 25, 2019
Suzanne Brammer
From Lower Yosemite Falls to Mirror Lake. Day 1 of Yosemite Trip.
Apr 20, 2019
Varonifer Kinesus
Apr 6, 2019
Luz G Restrepo
Jan 8, 2019
Ari Trujillo Wesler
followed from mirror lake to lower Yosemite falls 2.5mi
Nov 3, 2018
Veronica White
Oct 23, 2018
Chad Smith

Trail Ratings

  3.6 from 14 votes


  3.6 from 14 votes
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in California


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3,931 Since May 7, 2015
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