for free!

The Best Hikes in Yosemite NP National Park

379 Triplog Reviews in the Yosemite NP National Park
Most recent of 122 deeper Triplog Reviews
27.58 mi • 5,211 ft aeg
Tenaya Lake to Happy Isles
We took the 8 am shuttle to Tenaya Lake and got a late morning start. We set up camp just before the intersection and summited Clouds Rest with our day packs. Second day we went around the back of Clouds Rest through the burned area and set up camp near ish to the creek. Took a short break and then headed up Half Dome. It was definitely tricky waiting for people on the cables going up but coming back down was much clearer. There seemed to be a storm heading in Sunday night so headed out Sunday morning instead of Monday, which worked out better for weekday Mist Trail closures. Nice 3 day backpack and a much easier way to see Clouds Rest and Half Dome.
20.5 mi • 5,800 ft aeg
Excellent hike on a smazy then overcast then stormy day. From the summit dropped off SW and down to the JMT then back up and past Sunrise Lakes for a solid lasso. Big early afternoon thunderstorm directly overhead, then more rain for the last mile.

Can't believe a reservation is required just to drive into the park in the summer now. So I drove thru the entrance station well before the 6am deadline and since it was after 6pm when I exited there was no way for me to pay the $35 fee, oh darn.
9.92 mi • 2,298 ft aeg
Vernal and Nevada Falls Loop
We parked in the lot 1 mile away from the trailhead and walked there alongside multiple other groups. Didn't know that there was another parking lot 0.5 miles from the trailhead nor that there was a shuttle from the lots to the trailhead.😕

The first mile of the Mist Trail is a wide asphalt walkway with a mild, steady uphill. We passed numerous other groups along the way. We stopped for a bit at the bridge, then continued the ascent. Now we were on an actual trail, with far fewer people. We never encountered any mist on the trail, which was disappointing on a hot (90°+) day.

There were a number of people relaxing at Vernal Falls, but we still had an unobstructed view. The falls had maybe 1/3 of the flow that it has in the spring, but was still impressive. We climbed on the rocks and descended to the bottom of the falls, where there was some mist. The water was cold but refreshing.

We climbed to the top of the falls and hung out at Emerald Pool, which had far fewer people than the falls (3 small groups). The water there felt great. The squirrels boldly walked right up to us. I put my half-eaten protein bar (still in the wrapper) on a rock for a few seconds to take a picture, which was enough time for a squirrel to grab it, run a short distance, and begin eating. I chased the squirrel in circles for about 10 minutes to get the wrapper back so I could dispose of it properly. The bar was a lost cause.

We proceeded to Nevada Falls, where we saw only one couple at the bottom, who looked pretty hot and exhausted. We gave them water and showed them where Emerald Pool was so they could cool off. We scrambled over toward the base of Nevada Falls, then climbed to the top. It was very beautiful and peaceful up there, with no people, so we admired the views and cooled off at the river. We then headed down the John Muir Trail and looped back toward the trailhead, taking pictures along the way. Definitely going next spring to see the falls at full power! (And bag Half Dome while I'm there.)
59 mi • 9,000 ft aeg
I first learned about the Clark Range Loop in the June 2011 issue of Backpacker Magazine. It looked like a great loop and it was always in the back of mind. The years ticked by & things finally came together & we decided to go for it. I applied for a “walk up” permit roughly two weeks before the trip and I was excited when it was issued. Yosemite changed their walk up permits process due to Covid. Chumley decided to join me & we left Phoenix on Tuesday, July 27th. We stayed in a ghetto motel near Coarsegold and then headed into the park. We got our permit in Wawona & then made a relatively short day hike to Sentinel Dome & Taft Point. After that we drove over to Mono Meadows & started our trek!

07-28-2021 – Mono Meadows to Clark Fork

We arrived at Mono Meadows & geared up & started hiking around 1:30pm. The lot was very busy as there is an active Search & Rescue for a missing hiker who disappeared coming down from Red Peaks Pass. This was our exact route and we would keep an eye out for the missing hiker. Sadly, we didn’t find him.

The trail drops about a thousand feet the first three miles & is mostly easy going. There are nice views of Half Dome, Mount Starr King & the Clark Range. We took a short break by Illilouette Creek. From there we continued as the trail headed up hill. We would set up camp near the Clark Fork. There was a light rain for about an hour but it blew over. We spent the rest of the evening enjoying a campfire & perfect temps.

07-29-2021 – Clark Fork to Upper Merced Pass Lake

We started day two with a morning campfire and then we geared up and started hiking around 9am. We were sure to completely drown our campfire before we departed. That was a recurring theme for all of our campfires. We had another relatively short day planned as we were going to camp at Upper Merced Pass Lake and then do a short day hike to the Buena Vista Crest. The going was relatively easy as the trail was in excellent condition. We headed up and detoured over to Lower Merced Pass Lake where the Search & Rescue Team had a base camp. We had a short conversation with them and then continued to the upper lake where we set up camp. We got everything set up right before the skies opened up and it started raining. We would spend a couple of hours in our tents while the storm blew through. During this time another backpacker showed up and to make a long story short, he ended up camping with us and hiked with us the next day.

After the storm passed, Chumley and I geared up for the Buena Vista Crest. It was already 4:30pm so we didn’t have as much time as we were hoping. We hiked to Merced Pass & then went off trail to the Crest. It was easy going and the views were amazing. Once up top we continued a short distance & then dropped off the Crest and started our return to camp. We passed Lower Merced Pass Lake and took pics as we looked down on the lake. We would return to camp and were able to start the campfire despite all the rain. The other hikers name was Kelly & he was good company as evening set it.

07-30-2021 - Upper Merced Pass Lake to Triple Peak Fork

Day three started with another campfire but we had a big day planned so we packed up and left camp a little after 8am. Our plan was to hike over Red Peaks Pass at 11,100ft and then drop down to the Merced River headwaters. We had a long way & a lot of climbing so we took our time as we headed for Lower Ottoway Lake where we took a short break and filtered water. From there it was a slow grind to the pass. We topped out above tree line & climbed to the pass. We noticed a large group above us. They turned out to be about a dozen boy scouts & their trip leaders. We topped out and took a variety of pics. You could see for miles & it was truly spectacular!

From the pass we dropped down the north side & it was like an alien planet. The rock had a red tint to it and we were above tree line. It was a beautiful sight. We continued down and rested as needed and filtered more water along the way. We kept at it as the clouds darkened and rain started to fall. At this point we put our rain gear on and continued down as the rain picked up. We planned on camping as soon as the trail leveled off at a junction but the rain was falling hard so we continued hoping the storm would blow over. We got a couple more miles & we were spent & the rain was still falling so we decided to make due & set up camp which was a challenge. I would guess it rained for about three hours & we were glad when it finally ended around 6pm. We had a couple of hours of daylight so we dried out our gear & then built a campfire despite all the wood being saturated. We spent the rest of evening enjoying dinner around the fire.

07-31-2021 – Triple Peak Fork to Little Yosemite Valley

Once again Day four started off with a morning campfire & we then loaded up and started hiking. We had a big day planned as we would descend along the Merced River. The going was mostly easy as we followed some impressive trail construction. This river valley was absolutely stunning as the Merced River carved a channel right through solid granite and was loaded with cascades & waterfalls. We wished we had more time to enjoy this but we had a lot of miles ahead of us so we continued. The best part was a large drop of about a thousand feet as three forks came together to form the Merced River. The forks were Triple Peak Fork, Merced Peak Fork & the Lyell Fork. This section was truly stunning and the pics don’t do it justice. We would descend and continued down.

We took a short break at Washburn Lake and continued down canyon as the miles ticked away. We arrived at the Merced Lake Ranger station to find it vacant. We took some pics and then passed the Merced Lake High Sierra Camp which was also vacant due to Covid. Next up was Merced Lake where we took another break. The next few miles were absolutely stunning as the trail continued dropping along a spectacular gorge. Somewhere along this stretch a light rain fell but wasn’t bad. Next up was Lost Valley where we originally planned on camping but the rangers told us this area burned badly. It was depressing to see as we cruised through this section. Next up was the start of Little Yosemite Valley which was also severely burned.

Earlier in the day Chumley and I decided to camp at the backpackers campground in Little Yosemite Valley. This is uncharacteristic for us as it’s very busy with John Muir Trail hikers & Half Dome hikers. We didn’t have much of a choice because this is a restricted zone and you have to camp here. We made the most of it and actually enjoyed camping here. It’s a nice campground with bear lockers & plenty of space. We enjoyed talking with other hikers & it was a good experience. We did not have a campfire this night as we turned in relatively early.

08-01-2021 – Little Yosemite Valley to Mono Meadows

Our last day started early as we packed up and started hiking around 7:30am. We had about nine miles back to the trailhead and then the long drive back to Phoenix. We headed down the trail and made the stop at the top of Nevada Falls which was truly spectacular. From there the trail climbed up and then headed for Mono Meadows. Along the way we encountered more Search & Rescue. They were still looking for the missing hiker but it sounded like they were winding down the search. The last few miles to the car were a grind but we kept at it and topped out some time after 11am. We would load up and then start the long drive home. I got home around 11pm and that ended another wonderful trip into my beloved Sierras! This was an absolutely spectacular hike & I’m glad we made it happen! Thanks Chumley for accompanying me along this death march!
17.3 mi • 0 ft aeg
Yosemite Mist Trail- Clouds Rest- Merced River
In January, I found out I was going to have 5 free nights near Fresno in May. I found out that it wasn’t a good time to be doing what I wanted to do. I looked into Skyline to Sea and Henry Coe, but I really wanted to be in the mountains and I had the gear for it. The melt was going well and it was 70 and sunny in the valley leading up to my trip. Glacier Point Road opened up and we had an itinerary starting at Glacier Point to LYV and beyond. Then they started calling for a winter storm watch, then warning. So, that was a bummer. But my buddy had never been to Yosemite and I really love it there, so we figured we would lower expectations a bit and make the best of it.

Sat, May 18
We headed up 41 to the valley. I stopped to get a picture from Tunnel View (it is a sentimental place for my wife and I and I told her I would get a couple pictures we could stitch together for some wall art). Got pretty lucky everything wasn’t clouded over yet. And stopped at the Bridalveil turnout for a view of El Cap that I’m fond of.

We got to the backpackers campground and got set up right before the rain started. There were four groups there, I think. One group had about a dozen people with big coolers and bikes, which was confusing. I found out later that it was a group of volunteers working on one of the Pines campgrounds. With Glacier Point Road closed, we changed our permit to start at Happy Isles (there were only 15 spots left!). Oh, and I have to mention how surprised I was that they don’t price gouge beer in the village store. It was $0.99 - $1.29 a can!

Sun, May 19
It was raining in the morning, and it looked like it was going to stay that way. We decided to get going, more time to dry out in our tents at LYV. I saw a coyote, which was pretty cool. It’s a longer walk from the backpackers campground than I thought. It was around 8:30 and we didn’t see many people at all. In fact, we didn’t see another person until a solo hiker passed us on the footbridge. We had rain all the way up Vernal Falls. It wasn’t too bad, it had a different kind of feel to it with fog and mist and low clouds. We had the top to ourselves.

It started to snow as we made our way up Nevada Falls. We saw maybe 5 people. Then it really started to snow. It was really pretty, but I was getting a little nervous about the snow and ice collecting on the little mini stairs on the trail.

We got to LYV and there were a couple inches of snow. But then the sun came out and it was crazy how fast the snow melted. It was so cool how the trees were dropping snowballs everywhere.

Mon, May 20

It was absolutely beautiful in the morning. I just walked around with my camera and enjoyed the sun.

This was supposed to be the nicest day, so we headed up towards Clouds Rest. The trail was covered in snow starting at the junction with the JMT (7200 feet) at 9:00 ish. We headed up through the woods and the maybe 3-4 inches of snow. Around the quarter domes, it was 6-8 inches and very wet and slushy. Every step was accompanied by a half step slide back it seemed like. My microspikes were defeated, and in time, so was my spirit. My legs were rubber and I fell a couple times, so I called it right there. Still some pretty good views from there, but the clouds were getting lower. The snow was significantly melted on our way down, ending at around 7500 feet. We stayed in LYV again that night.

Tues, May 21

The next morning was fog and rain. We decided to hike out to Glacier Point and hope that things cleared up, at least for a little bit. Spoiler alert – that did not happen. We missed the turn for the Panorama Trail and went through the ice cut. I guess we didn’t look far enough ahead, so we got stuck clinging to the wall in the middle of it while a pack train came through. Luckily, we realized our mistake and got to go back through it. It was deep in places. You could keep your feet mostly dry with precision rock hopping. There were a couple trees down over the trail, including a huge one we had to bushwack around near Panorama Point. The “view” from Panorama Point was a disappointment. And we decided to turn around there. But the sun came out for about 5 minutes as we crossed back over Nevada Falls.

We decided to pack up and head up the Merced for the next two nights. The rain and snow hung overhead like we were in a peanuts cartoon. I love the idea of finding cool campsites, but in practice, I suck at it. And my incompetence was exacerbated by low visibility and reluctance to poke around too much in the rain. We ended up finding a previously used campsite right by where the trail washes out beneath what sounded like water coming off the cliffs. We got warm and dry in the tents and sat beneath the little tarp I brought (really came in handy), ate, had a little whiskey, and hit the sack.

Wed, May 22

Woke to a drop dead gorgeous scene. The sun came out, there was snow everywhere. We could see the cascades from the cliffs we heard the night before. I walked around in my last pair of dry socks, garbage bags, and crocs. Besides being stylish, they worked perfectly until I got cocky and crossed the stream in them. Apparently, I had created some holes in the bags wandering through the brush.

We had a leisurely morning, then headed up to Merced Lake on a day hike. This was actually the best weather day we had. It was sunny, and there was water EVERYWHERE. We saw two people at the cascades and that was it for the day. And for the first time this trip, we made it to our destination.

And, I was secretly hoping to see waterwheels, and I got to!

Thurs, May 23

We got up and moving early and got to the valley by noon. The “Ice Cut” is so cool in the spring. This video is from the second part of it. I was too busy getting soaked to film the first part (the waterfall in the background).

Those switchbacks down the JMT seemed like they would never end. We were re-introduced to the throngs at the footbridge. I talked with a guy who was there chaperoning a sixth grade field trip. I saw one woman come around the bend on the paved part and half whisper “oh my goodness”. It was cool to see everyone enjoying the scene, although there was a serious lack of trail manners. Made me glad we didn’t come down the Mist Trial.

I had some family stuff to do, then stopped by Kings Canyon on the way back to Fresno.

So, basically, those who said “don’t go” were right, and so were those who said “go anyway”. We had the gear to stay comfortable, and it was great to be out in the wilderness, but it would have been nice to catch a few more views. It was cool to get some experience in snow. Now I know what people are talking about with consolidated vs new snow and how that affects my hiking.
212 mi • 46,000 ft aeg
John Muir Trail
Hiked the John Muir Trail, heading southbound, from Tuolumne Meadows to Whitney Portal. Including a climb over Kearsarge Pass for resupply, the total distance was apx. 212 miles. I went solo, but can't really say that I was alone. I met a lot of cool people on the trail.

The smoke from the Ferguson fire was somewhat of an issue, but not enough to really affect progress on the trail. You will notice the smoke in some of the pictures. Once I got south of Vermillion Valley Resort, it was pretty much completely clear.

One of the aforementioned cool people was a gentleman from Cave Creek. It was great to meet someone who was familiar with our local trails. We talked about how important a resource HAZ is for us AZ residents.

It was a great experience, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who can free up a few weeks.

6 mi • 2,040 ft aeg
Between our Yosemite book and some encouragement from Haz triplogs, this was on our short list of last day hikes. We picked a handful of hikes in different degrees of toughness. Get a good nights sleep and see what we think we are up for. This was our first choice and neither one of us wanted to be the one to yell uncle. Let's do it. The trail to the lake climbs 4 or 500 feet but was in good shape and went by smoothly. The Sierra Camp did not open this year so there was no one there when we started. From there the route goes around to the left of the lake then starts climbing and goes to the left of the two peaks you can see from the lake. A good little climb. Once you get to the next level the trail is better until you get to the base of the summit. There are some cool rock formations on the ridge of the summit. There is a little antenna on the north summit and it is a little scramble to get up there. There was a little ice before the climb that looked like it had no bottom to it :scared: . 360 views from the top were awesome. Even on a hazy day. The clmib down went great. We saw about half a dozen Marmots and Sooty Grouse. We didn't see anyone until we got back to the lake. He was going to hike Mt. Hoffmann also. After that it was a few people closer to the car. They all looked to be doing May Lake only. Great hike and so glad we got to do it before the long drive home. We stopped at the station at the bottom of the hill after leaving the park. It would be the first of many caffeine stops for the both of us on the way home. Driving home we stopped in Tonopah at the brewery for a late lunch and the food was delicious! From there it was 2 more quick stops and Kelly home a little after 11pm. What a great day for our last one before heading back to reality. My first trip to Yosemite was awesome! Thanks to Kelly for making everything go so smooth! :y: :app: :y: :D
6 mi • 2,040 ft aeg
denny and i wanted to do a hike on our way out of the park
we had several options, but mt. hoffmann was our first choice if we felt up to it after half dome
it's one of the featured hikes in denny's yosemite hiking book
chums has written a nice description for haz [ Mount Hoffmann Trail - Yosemite NP ]
got going early, arriving at may lake trailhead and beginning the hike at 0700
nice trail up to may lake, then a use trail along the lake, and up toward a meadow
a steeper grade up and around two false summits
we didn't see the peak until about a half mile to go
there is a flatter section of smooth trail leading to a saddle
the last pitch is a scramble up large granite boulders
a radio tower and a benchmark on top
this peak is the geographical center of yosemite, and the views are excellent
it wasn't quite as smoky or hazy this morning
we spent a few minutes on top, then headed down
the trail was easier to follow on the way down
i thought the unofficial trail on mt. dana was more obvious
another great peak and we were both glad we did it, even if the weekend's mileage and elevation gain were catching up with us
a good way to end the trip :)

denny, thank you so much for:
inviting me along - i had a great time
the stellar housing at yosemite lodge, more luxurious than our normal method of operation
driving - i liked the vegas route; very little traffic
safety first and watch out for clowns
you're a great hiking partner, and :yr:
16.34 mi • 5,500 ft aeg
Bucket list hike. Kelly and I got to the parking lot at 6am. The plan was to hike up Mist Trail and down JMT. I believe Booneman suggested it that way. The temps were pretty good. Clouds not bad. We kept a close eye on the weather for our Safety First attitude. The hike up to Vernal Fall was a good workout especially with the steps. Another good reason to come back the JMT. You get to see a different trail and less steep without the steps. Nice waterfall. Nevada Fall was even bigger with another nice climb to get there. That's the intersection where we will take the JMT back down on our way back. Next you go over a little saddle and drop into Little Yosemite Valley. Very nice area along the Merced River. After a half mile or so you start climbing and wrap around to the Sub Dome. That's a pretty steep one but they have some nice steps and switchbacks. We thought 6am was early but we had already passed at least 50 people to this point. Kelly set a great comfortable pace. Now for the cables! People wise it wasn't a problem. I may have passed one person. Condition wise it was a workout. You really do kind of pull yourself along to each pole/board. Worked for it but what an awesome summit and great views. We hung out taking pics and walking around for a half hour or so. Going down the cables, the amount of people was growing. We found that going down backwards worked a lot better. Kelly went first and would warn me when the steps were coming so I didn't hit a shin. Most people were easy to work around and take turns with. One little jam up towards the bottom but not to bad. I had gloves but didn't use them. I could see where your hands could get friction hot. Then down the Sub Dome steps and the hard stuff was over. The way back down went really good and Kelly's pace was still great. Taking the JMT gives you the best view of Nevada Fall. A mile longer but not as step,no steps, and less people. Throw in the brief Bear sighting and it was a great way to finish. We got one more nice pic of Half Dome from a great vantage point between the trailhaed and our room. We don't usually splurge on these trips buttt. Kelly bought dinner and dessert at Yosemite Valley Lodge food court then we stayed the night at the lodge. A hot shower and soft bed just might relax us enough to do one more good hike on the way home tomorrow :o ! Awesome hike and Kelly helped make this go so smoothly! Much appreciated!! Like Haz, Kelly :yr: !
16.34 mi • 5,500 ft aeg
the main event
denny secretly put in for permits, and once he got them the trip was on
after some navigational difficulty by me, we set out from happy isles trailhead at 0600
starting early is key on these bigger hikes
just getting light enough to see mist trail
the steps to vernal fall were butt kickers
nice hiking along the merced river and seeing the falls
still gaining up to nevada fall, then an easier grade through little yosemite valley
the trail goes right next to the river, and it would be easy to filter here
another push up to subdome through the forest
subdome was steep, with steps cut into the rock, then continuing on granite bedrock
finally we were at the cables :o
we took a few photos, then headed on up
once i got into a rhythm, it was much less scary than it looked initially, but a lot more work
with our early start there were very few people ahead of us and we didn't have to wait for anyone
finally topped out and went up to the high point
again, great views of clouds rest, north dome, yosemite valley and more
very smoky today
we spent about 30 minutes wandering around the summit taking photos
decided to descend before the other 348 permit holders came up
crossed paths with a few people, but i can only imagine how crowded and backed up the cables get
a lot more people on subdome
the hard part over, we strolled through little yosemite valley
explored nevada fall for a few minutes
took the john muir trail back down - longer but more gradual
along the way, some russian guys ahead of us had spotted a black bear :)
that was a nice surprise
joined back up with the mist trail and dodged people the final mile or so
just as we finished, we got a little thundershower, so we were happy with our timing
a great experience, and i appreciate denny inviting me to hike it with him
thanks, partner!

random thoughts:
neither of us used gloves
no one checked our permits
aeg on my track seems high
i read the discussion on it, and dropped it down to the 5500 route scout shows on the screen
can't emphasize enough getting an early start

end of page marker