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El Capitan Trail



0.3 mile 0.5 kilometer point to point


Ascent: 0' 0 m
Descent: -55' -17 m
High: 7,594' 2,315 m
Low: 7,539' 2,298 m


Avg Grade: 3% (2°)
Max Grade: 4% (2°)


No Dogs
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Trail shared by David Hitchcock

Hike along the top of El Capitan to the summit for great views of Yosemite beyond the valley.

David Hitchcock

Features Views

Can be snowy in the winter, but is accessible year round if you are equipped for the conditions.

Water can be hard to come by in the summer as Ribbon Creek dries up, so make sure you have enough water for your hike.


This trail isn't hard, it's the trip to get there that is the hard part. There are several options for you depending on your approach. From Tamarack Flat, its 17 miles round trip to the summit. From the Big Oak Flat Road, it's 9.7 miles to the trailhead and 5.6 miles from the top of Upper Yosemite Falls Trail (9.2 miles from the Valley Floor via Upper Yosemite Falls Trail). Another option, pick a climbing route and enjoy the climb up this granite monolith.

The trail descends gently from the North Rim Trail to to the top of El Capitan. Stunning views of the valley and the regions beyond stretch out before you as you approach the summit. North Dome, Basket Dome, Clouds Rest, Quarter Domes, Half Dome, Sentinel Dome, Sentinel Rock, Mt. Starr King, Mt. Clark, and additional peaks beyond stretch before you. The summit provides a great place to take in the view and enjoy the beauty of Yosemite.

Note: While the summit area is safe, don't go too close to the edge as it can be unsafe. The area is known for small, loose rocks that can cause a hiker to slip and slide toward the edge, where it's a long drop to the valley floor. You can enjoy the view from the safety of the summit area, and possibly greet climbers as they finish their ascent of this magnificent rock formation.

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We need help with the following missing trail information:

Family Friendly, ADA Accessible, Need to Know, Flora & Fauna


Land Manager: NPS - Yosemite

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Sep 23, 2018
Onur Aksu
Jul 6, 2018
Mark T Mueller
Jun 17, 2018
Erica Gloster
Jun 13, 2017
Lauren Renee Mitchell
Nov 9, 2016
Erin Taylor
Apr 9, 2016
Kevin Hall 1
Aug 25, 2015
Tim Brasier

Trail Ratings

  4.6 from 5 votes


  4.6 from 5 votes
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in California


634 Views Last Month
20,961 Since Jan 4, 2016



On top of El Capitan, Yosemite National Park.
Feb 12, 2016 near Yosemit…, CA
Rocky top of El Cap - View of Half Dome.
Dec 31, 2015 near Yosemit…, CA


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