Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park

Walking & Hiking

With over 800 miles of hiking trails, what better way to enjoy the beauty of Yosemite than on foot? Whether you're interested in an easy stroll or a challenging hike, there's a trail for you. For more information, talk with a ranger at any visitor center and get one of several free, day-hike hand-outs. Excellent maps and guidebooks are available at bookstores throughout the park or online at www.YosemiteStore.com.

Note: Bicycles, pets, and strollers are only allowed on park roads and paved paths on the floor of Yosemite Valley. They are not allowed on trails off of the Valley floor or in any areas of the wilderness.

For your safety, always carry plenty of water and be prepared for sudden changes in weather. While it may look shallow and inviting, wading in pools upstream from the brink of waterfalls is extremely dangerous. Each year, unsuspecting visitors drown or are swept over to their deaths when swimming in these areas.


For visitors in the park for only one day, the short trails to Bridalveil Fall and Lower Yosemite Fall are a must. For additional waterfall viewing, The Mist Trail to Vernal and Nevada Falls provides close views of these two cascades. Bring rain gear in spring, as this trail is true to its name; in summer, expect crowds most of the day. This trail is also one of two starting points for the strenuous hike to the summit of Half Dome. The Half Dome hike is not for the out of shape or unprepared as it is 16—19 miles long with an elevation change to 48009; neither is this hike for the faint of heart as the last portion is an exposed ascent along cables fixed to the granite. Most hikers take 10—12 hours or more to complete this trek. Check sunrise and sunset times before you begin, particularly in spring or fall. Every member of a party should carry a flashlight with good batteries and although the trail is well marked, hikers should be prepared with a good topographic map and compass, and the skills to use them. Be aware that the summit of Half Dome is a dangerous place during lightning storms. Take plenty of water and allow plenty of time to complete your hiking adventure. Remember that pools upstream from the brink of waterfalls are closed to swimming. Visit the Valley Visitor Center for full descriptions of all trails and current conditions.


Travel outside of the Valley for a variety of hikes with fewer crowds. Hiking to Sentinel Dome will provide you with a glorious, 360-degree panoramic view; an excursion to Taft Point will take you past rock fissures to an overhanging rock looking down thousands of feet on Yosemite Valley. Along the Tioga Road, take a hike to a high country lake. Trails departing from the Tuolumne Meadows area will offer amazing views of peaks and meadows; a journey to the top of Lembert Dome offers unparalleled views of Tuolumne Meadows. If hiking in Wawona, the Meadow Loop Trail is an easy, picturesque walk that skirts the edges of Wawona Meadow; the fairly strenuous hike to Chilnualna Falls leads to a view of one of the tallest cascades outside of Yosemite Valley.