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!
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
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.