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Four Mile Trail, CA

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Guide 6 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List CA > Sierra Nevada
5 of 5 by 3
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Difficulty 3.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 4.8 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,000 feet
Elevation Gain 3,200 feet
Accumulated Gain 3,887 feet
Avg Time One Way 3-5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 17.75
Interest Historic & Seasonal Creek
Backpack Connecting Only
Dogs not allowed
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
14  2016-05-27 Lucyan
24  2015-06-17 DallinW
75  2014-07-13
Yosemite National Park - day trip
10  2012-06-28 John9L
30  2012-06-27
Panorama - Mist Trail
Author John9L
author avatar Guides 6
Routes 170
Photos 4,848
Trips 1,619 map ( 11,024 miles )
Age Male Gender
Location Scottsdale, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   May, Oct, Jun, Sep → 8 AM
Seasons   Late Spring to Early Winter
Sun  5:46am - 5:56pm
Official Route
1 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Named place Nearby
originally four miles
by John9L

Likely In-Season!
The Four Mile Trail offers the shortest route from Yosemite Valley to Glacier Point. It is considered a strenuous 4.8 mile hike with 3,200 feet of elevation gain. Those willing to take on this hike are rewarded with spectacular views of El Capitan, Yosemite Falls and Half Dome. The Four Mile Trail was originally four miles long when it was built in 1872. It was lengthened to 4.8 miles in the 1900s. (Source - Wikipedia)

The trail starts along Southside Drive in Yosemite Valley. You can reach the trailhead via the El Capitan Shuttle when the bus is operating. You could also start from Yosemite Lodge (Shuttle Stop 7) or Sentinel Bridge (Shuttle Stop 11). Both stops require a walk of a half mile to one mile to reach the trailhead. The trail leaves the valley floor and starts gaining elevation immediately. The trail has a gradual and consistent elevation gain as you follow a well maintained trail.

A series a switchbacks lead you up several hundred feet. From there the trail heads in a northeasterly direction as you hike beneath Sentinel Rock. After roughly one mile, the trail hits more switchbacks as you continue ascending up the trail. You'll reach a junction at 2.3 miles for Union Point. It's a quick five minute walk to the viewpoint. Your rewarded with a fantastic view of Yosemite Falls. Return to the junction and continue heading up the switchbacks for the next 1.5 miles. At this point your done with the switchbacks and your almost there. Continue on the slight incline and you'll eventually come out at the Glacier Point Gift Shop.

Once at Glacier Point, you can spend time enjoying the wonderful views of Yosemite. The gift shop sells souvenirs, snacks and hot dogs. Take this opportunity to load up for the return hike. You can return down the Four Mile Trail or continue hiking on the Panorama Trail which connects to the Mist Trail. You can follow the Mist Trail back into Yosemite Valley.

Additional Info: There is an option to ride a shuttle up to Glacier Point starting at Yosemite Lodge. This is a pay shuttle. You can make a reservation in Yosemite at any Tour and Activity Desk or by calling 209-372-4386. Restrooms and water are available at Glacier Point. No potable water is available along the hike.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2012-07-10 John9L
  • Yosemite Campgrounds
    area related
    Yosemite Campgrounds
  • Yosemite Park Map
    area related
    Yosemite Park Map

One-Way Notice
This hike is listed as One-Way.

When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

Most recent Triplog Reviews
Four Mile Trail
rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
Yosemite National Park - day trip
Yosemite Valley & Glacier Point - Yosemite National Park
Sunday July 13th, 2014
FitBit totals = 11.11 miles, 1050 AEG (105 floors)

Have done Mt Whitney and some of the Pacific Crest Trail in the high Sierras, but never been to Yosemite before. Got out my Ansel Adams photo books for inspiration :next: Maybe a visit to the Ansel Adams Gallery in the Yosemite Village located between Visitor Center and Post Office? Some pre-trip research to consider;

YOSE :next:

Map of YOSE :next:
YOSE park guide :next:

Map of Yosemite Valley :next: ... hikes1.pdf
Map of Glacier Point :next: ... rhikes.pdf
Washburn Point (near Glacier Point) view :next: The HPP image location plus my flipping thru Ansel Adams photo books put this as destination number one.

Yosemite NP waterfalls :next:

Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias :next: And HAZ :next:
Grizzly Giants in Mariposa Grove :next:

With a planned business trip to 1 Infinite Loop in Cupertino CA (see :next: ) and a base-camp to be established at Courtyard Cupertino Marriott, 10605 N Wolfe Rd, Cupertino CA, 95014 ( see :next: ... cupertino/ ), thought I'd "front-end" the trip with some exploration of Big Sur and Yosemite with a goal to capture long exposure dusk image of Bixby Bridge ( see :next: ... bridge.jpg ) and an Ansel Adams-like shot of Yosemite Valley (see :next: ... _point.jpg and ).

Google maps indicated travel distance from Cupertino base-camp to Yosemite Village was 200 miles with 3 hours 45 minutes travel time.


Arrived back at the Cupertino base-camp just after midnight Sunday morning from exploring the Big Sur Coastline (see :next: ). Had a 5am wake-up call and after fueling up on the in-room caffeine, hit the road for Yosemite via CA120 entrance by 6am. I arrived at the park entrance about 10-ish where my NPS annual pass comes thru once again allowing me to bypass the backed up line of vehicles tallying-up their entrance fee.

The arrival into Yosemite Valley reminded me a lot of Zion NP - pass thru a couple of tunnels and voila, there's the spectacular valley, except it's not sandstone, it's granite this time!

When you cross the Merced River, all the traffic veered left towards Yosemite Village. I veered right climbing up CA41 to the Glacier Point cut-off. From the intersection of CA41, the sign indicated 16 miles to Glacier Point. The tight curves and smooth road and sudden elevation changes had me pining for something more than my Nissan Maxima rental (maybe borrow one of the R8's or McLaren's from yesterday's Bixby Creek Bridge encounter?). First stop Washburn Point followed by Glacier Point. I had some time to explore the upper reaches of Four Mile Trail and Panorama Trail (a little note to self - if you want to escape the bus tour crowd at Glacier Point, check out these trails). Upon return I treated myself to lunch at the Tourist Shack beside Glacier Point - a Hagen Das plus the requisite purchase of a Yosemite Falls & Half Dome frig magnet. After my fill of Yosemite Valley eye-candy, I had the Sentinel Dome to Taft Point loop hike on the "to-do" list. Sentinel Dome was exhilarating - maybe saw a dozen people the entire time I lingered up on the dome for about an hour. I wasn't expecting solitude in Yosemite on a summer weekend, but truthfully there were far less people than I imagined there would be. Once again, all was right in the world.

As the afternoon progressed towards dinner time, I went down to the valley floor for some mini-explorations. This is where all the people were...

With the 6 o'clock hour ticked by, I had a choice - sunset back up on Glacier Point or go checkout the giant sequoia in Mariposa Grove. My mind voted for the giant sequoia, so I drove down CA140 following the Merced River towards the town of Mariposa...

Some final thoughts - hitting Glacier Point first was a good call. Having that initial overhead view of the entire Yosemite Valley is jaw-dropping. It put the entire landscape into context for me. Starting off from the valley floor probably would have hidden too many places. At least the view from above allowed me to pick and choose what I wanted to see down in the valley. Taking in a sunset from Glacier Point or Sentinel Dome is surely a treat - maybe next time...

Also, Mariposa Grove isn't anywhere near town of Mariposa CA. Missed out on giant sequoia trees, but did get to explore Merced River via CA140 - nice drive, complete with landslide :next: ... 238394.pdf
( not a recent slide, happened in 2006... ). Fish Camp and Oakhurst on CA41 are the closest towns to the giant sequoias for future reference....


HAZ Washburn Point :next:
HAZ Glacier Point :next:
HAZ Sentinel Dome :next:
HAZ Taft Point :next: and
HAZ East Valley Floor :next:
HAZ West Valley Floor :next:
HAZ Panorama Trail (from Glacier Point) :next:
HAZ Four Mile Trail (from Glacier Point) :next:

I'll post some photos when I get the chance. Enjoy! :)
Four Mile Trail
rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
I had an open morning and was considering my options. I wanted a hike that I could start very early and not have to rely on the bus service in Yosemite. I decided on a loop hike up the Mist Trail. I would walk from Curry Village to the Happy Isles trailhead and then head up the Mist Trail to the top of Nevada Falls. From there I would connect to the Panorama Trail and head up to Glacier Point. I would then return to Yosemite Valley on the Four Mile Trail. This was going to be fun!

I was out the door in Curry Village at 6:10am and made fast time to Happy Isles. This would be my fourth hike on the Mist Trail and the first time I've walked to the trailhead. It was closer then I thought. I hit the Mist Trail and made quick time to Vernal Falls. I could tell most of the people on the trail were heading for Half Dome. I continued on and cruised all the way to Nevada Falls. Once up top I took a short break and then headed for the Panorama Trail. I was surprised the turnoff did not have a sign. Regardless I continued and the trail started ascending up a series of switchbacks. I made good time on the uphill. Eventually things leveled off and I found myself at the top of the Panorama Cliffs. The views into Yosemite Valley were spectacular!

I followed the Panorama Trail and after a couple of miles the trail descends towards Illilouette Falls. I made my way down and crossed the bridge. From there you start making switchbacks up as you proceed towards Glacier Point. There is a fantastic view of Illilouette Falls from the trail on the Glacier Point side. I continued on and made my way up. Everything was going great and I never felt better! After some effort I reached Glacier Point. This was my third time up here but the first time I've hiked up from the valley floor. Naturally the views are spectacular! I ate some lunch and spent a few minutes in the store and spent time walking around Glacier Point.

Eventually I was ready to tackle the Four Mile Trail back to Yosemite Valley. I picked up the trail and was off. I made quick time on the first mile or so. After a bit you start hitting switchbacks and they seem to never end. On the way down, I was asked at least a half dozen times how much farther they had for Glacier Point. I felt bad for some of them because it was going to be a struggle. I was glad I made this loop in a clockwise direction because ascending the Four Mile Trail will take massive effort! I eventually reached the valley floor and then turned east and started walking back. After a mile I decided to pick up the valley shuttle for the quick return to Curry Village. Another wonderful day on the trails in Yosemite! The hiking is starting to feel like a job!

These three trails are epic! The Mist Trail is the most popular trail in the park for good reason. Over the course of three miles, you ascend to the top of Vernal and Nevada Falls. From there the Panorama Trail takes you even higher and deeper into Yosemite. Luckily there were only a handful of people on this section. Glacier Point is an absolute must on any Yosemite visit. There were plenty of people there but I didn't mind. The Four Mile Trail has epic views of Yosemite Falls and El Capitan. This is an amazing combo of hikes and will leave you with a great feel for Yosemite Valley!

One last note, I could not get a good signal on my GPS until I was at the top of Vernal Falls. I estimated the total hiking distance and AEG.

Permit $$

Yosemite National Park
Entrance Fees
Wilderness Permit
Half Dome Permit - Currently required 7 days a week. Check the link for the most up to date information.

2014 - 300 permits issued daily, 225 for dayhikers.
2013 - 400 permits issued daily, 300 for dayhikers.

Map Drive
Paved - Car Okay

To hike
From Fresno, take Hwy 41 north to Yosemite National Park. Once inside the park, continue heading north for 26 miles as you head towards Yosemite Valley. Turn right on Southside Drive and continue for roughly 3 miles to the signed trailhead.
page created by John9L on Jul 09 2012 10:38 pm
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