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Snow Creek - Porcupine Creek

Intermediate
 4.0 (4)

A quiet hike to Snow Creek that offers breathtaking views of Clouds Rest and Half Dome.


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Map Key

4.4

Miles

7.1

KM

Point to Point

8,096' 2,468 m

High

6,760' 2,060 m

Low

94' 29 m

Up

1,431' 436 m

Down

7%

Avg Grade (4°)

27%

Max Grade (15°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features River/Creek · Views

Family Friendly A fairly easy trail with lots to see along the way and the option to make a longer or shorter out and back hike as desired. Just remember it is downhill on the way out and what goes down must go up!

Tioga Road east of Crane Flat and west of Tioga Pass Entrance station is closed in the winter and spring until the road is cleared of snow. You can check road conditions at nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/… or by dialing 1-209-372-0200, dialing extensions 1/1. An alternative route is climbing up Snow Creek Trail from the valley floor to Snow Creek.

Description

The trailhead is 24.8 miles from Crane Flat on Tioga Road at the Porcupine Flat parking area on the right. If you are coming from Tioga Pass, the trail is 14 miles west of Tuolumne Meadows.

The trail follows an old road down to Porcupine Creek, where a rock hop or log crossing is necessary to get across the creek. Once you have crossed the creek, the trail begins to narrow as you hike through a forest of red fir and lodgepole pines. At 1.5 miles, take the right fork toward Snow Creek. At this point in the hike, the trail begins to descend steeply following the Porcupine Creek stream drainage. The shade of the trees and the creek close by cause this area to be cooler than the trail you were just on. When the trail turns sharply right, the trail begins to follow Snow Creek. Continue to follow this trail through white firs and other evergreen trees until you reach the bridge at Snow Creek.

Once you have reached the Snow Creek Trail, take time to enjoy the views. Leave the main trail about 250 feet from the trail junction, and hike out across the open area toward Half Dome. You'll reach a point where the opposite side of Tenaya Canyon is in full, unobstructed view. Clouds Rest, Quarter Domes, and Half Dome rise in front of you while Mount Watkins rises to your left.

There aren't large crowds, just the occasional hiker either coming from Yosemite Valley headed toward Tuolumne Meadows or others like yourself enjoying a more isolated hike in the woods. It's a popular camping site in the summer, with the swimming hole providing a great place to relax (and ready water supply) and plenty of spots with great views.

Return to your car via the same trail, or choose to hike to Yosemite Valley via the Mirror Lake Trail if you were dropped off at the trailhead. If returning to your car, give yourself plenty of time to get back as the climb is uphill until you intersect the North Dome Trail.

Flora & Fauna

Bear, deer, squirrels, and ground squirrels are found in this area. If you are camping overnight, heed bear warnings as bears in this area have been known to steel canisters and throw them over the ledge to get into them.

Contacts

Land Manager: NPS - Yosemite

Shared By:

David Hitchcock

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 4 votes

#9871

Overall
  4.0 from 4 votes
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Trail Rankings

#1,000

in California

#9,871

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10 Views Last Month
1,308 Since Jan 4, 2016
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Photos

Half Dome begins to appear as you near Snow Creek.
Jan 23, 2016 near Yosemit…, CA
Hiking through downed trees and large virgin forest.
Jan 23, 2016 near Yosemit…, CA
Trail running by some fallen trees.
Jan 27, 2016 near Yosemit…, CA
Crossing Porcupine Creek.
Jan 25, 2016 near Yosemit…, CA
The trail opens up some as you descend into the Snow Creek watershed.  Wildflowers bloom in the summer.
Jan 23, 2016 near Yosemit…, CA

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Check-Ins

Jun 30, 2019
Ryan Russell
Jul 8, 2018
Jason Brushingham
Sep 23, 2017
Mark Knox
May 16, 2017
Charles Paige
Sep 12, 2016
Jared Egli
Jul 19, 2013
David Hitchcock
Hiked with Kris Gruca, camped at Snow Creek, where we encountered the Snow Creek Bear. Great hike, great views, great swimming hole at Snow Creek. 8.8mi