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Yosemite Valley Traverse

Difficult
 4.7 (14) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

An amazing Yosemite Valley hike to Glacier Point that starts at the Four Mile Trail trailhead and ends at Happy Isle.


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Map Key

13.1

Miles

21.0

KM

Point to Point

7,255' 2,211 m

High

3,988' 1,215 m

Low

3,990' 1,216 m

Up

3,931' 1,198 m

Down

11%

Avg Grade (7°)

52%

Max Grade (27°)

Dogs No Dogs

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

Trails may close if snow is present.

Overview

Want to take a hike that allows you to experience almost all the major points of interest in Yosemite? This route will take you from the valley floor to the top of Glacier Point then back down to the valley floor, presenting you with vistas of Half Dome, Yosemite Falls, Nevada Falls, Vernal Falls, Mist Trail, Illilouette Falls, and more!

Need to Know

Snacks and drinks are available at Glacier Point store. Water fountains available at Glacier Point and Vernal Falls bridge.

Description

This route will take you from the valley floor to the top of Glacier Point then back to the valley floor again, highlighting many of Yosemite's most famous viewpoints and features. Frequently, you'll come across deer and birds in the early hours, which is the recommended departure time. From time to time, you might even see a bear. There is something magical when you start early in the morning as you watch the first light hit the valley. Feeling a need for a refreshment? Take a break at the Glacier Point store. You can even soak your feet at Illiloute Creek.

Enjoying the Yosemite Valley Traverse can be broken down into three distinct segments. The journey starts at the Four Mile Trail trailhead.

From the trailhead, you make up the Four Mile Trail to Glacier Point. This portion is the most strenuous part of the trip, and you gain most of the hike's total elevation here. There are many switchbacks, and the trail can still be extremely steep in sections.

From Glacier Point, follow the Panorama Trail along the rim of Yosemite Valley towards Nevada Falls. You'll have hit the highest points of the hike by this time, and will be enjoying a mostly mild descent. The grades level out, and the views unfold, so be sure to keep your head up to enjoy them!

Right before you reach Nevada Falls, take the John Muir Trail down to Happy Isles. This will be the longest descent, as your knees will let you know by the end. The going is long, and there are some steeper sections, so use caution as you make your way down!

The trail is mainly dirt with a couple of paved sections near Happy Isles and Glacier Point. Most of the trails feature switchbacks so the going is not that steep. While trail is fairly well maintained, there are still some spots where obstacles like water bars, rocks, and downed trees can be encountered.

When hiking in the winter, trails might close due to snow. When hiking during early summer months, don't forget to bring bug spray for the mosquitos.

Flora & Fauna

Snakes, squirrels, mosquitos, bears, lizards, wildflowers

History & Background

Four Mile Trail used to be 4 miles, until it was extended to 4.8 miles. Glacier Point used to house a hotel before it was burned down.

Contacts

Land Manager: NPS - Yosemite

Shared By:

Jason Chan

Trail Ratings

  4.7 from 14 votes

#525

Overall
  4.7 from 14 votes
5 Star
79%
4 Star
14%
3 Star
7%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#90

in California

#525

Overall
88 Views Last Month
3,263 Since Aug 26, 2017
Difficult

0%
0%
8%
0%
85%
8%

Photos

John Muir Trail Vista, Yosemite National Park
May 7, 2015 near Yosemit…, CA
I was standing where they stood....U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt and nature preservationist John Muir.
Jan 17, 2016 near Yosemit…, CA
Nevada Fall, Liberty Cap and the back of Half Dome pose for a photo from the John Muir Trail in Yosemite National Park.
Jan 25, 2017 near Yosemit…, CA
Looking out over the Yosemite Valley from the Glacier Point Trail
Apr 30, 2015 near Yosemit…, CA
Magical rainbow reflections in Upper Yosemite Falls
Dec 10, 2017 near Yosemit…, CA
Looking roughly north from the John Muir Trail toward Liberty Cap and Nevada Falls.
Sep 5, 2016 near Yosemit…, CA

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Check-Ins

Jun 30, 2020
Mher Mnatsakanyan
13.1mi
Nov 9, 2019
R L
Sep 17, 2019
James Thebrit
did not crush it but not too difficult. very beautiful. — 8h 30m
Sep 12, 2019
Alfie Bamber
Sep 10, 2019
Amanda Gonzalez
Aug 20, 2019
Janine Isabelle Zeitz
Jul 12, 2019
JP T
Great hike.
Jul 11, 2019
Jeff F
Brace yourself for the 2nd uphill section on panorama trail, >1000 foot elevation climb. Downhill on mist falls is treacherous with wet 2 foot smo… 17mi — 6h 11m