There is no better way to take in the full breathtaking and awe-inspiring beauty of Yosemite National Park than hiking one of its many trails. Not only will it get your blood pumping, it will grant you access to the lookups that the crowds cannot access. The further you hike, and higher you climb, the bigger the rewards. We walk you through our favorite Yosemite hiking trails.
Artist Point Trail
500 feet elevation gain
Directions: Arguably Yosemite’s most famous view point, the view from Tunnel View is best viewed as sunset and sunrise, when both the crowds are limited and the the morning and evening sun light up the whole valley in bright colors. The view is high above the valley floor, with Yosemite Falls, El Capitan and Half Dome dominating the skyline.
Sentinel Dome Trail
500 feet elevation gain
Directions: Easy to reach and with spectacular 360 degree views, Sentinel Dome is best hiked in the morning or afternoon when the sun streaks the landscape in a variety of colors. Also here is the famous Jeffrey Pine, an ancient tree as old as Shakespeare.
The Mist Trail
1,000 feet elevation gain
Directions: This is Yosemite’s signature hike, with stunning views of Nevada Falls, Liberty Cap and the Back of HAlf dome. Crowds can get heavy at the height of summer given the medium difficulty and incredible views. Hikers should not be detracted though, this hike is a must for all visitors.
3,200 feet elevation gain
Directions: Panorama trail combines fantastic views of incredible granite formations, without the crowding of other trails. Hiking a switchback up to a valley lookout, those who persevere through the sometimes rocky trails will be rewarded with stunning views down the length of Yosemite Valley, as well as the multiple gigantic waterfalls of the Merced River
Upper Yosemite Falls Trail
2,600 feet elevation gain
Directions: A mammoth exercise in climbing stairs, Upper Yosemite Falls nonetheless rewards hikers with incredibly panoramic views of the whole of Yosemite Falls, as well as grand views of the Whole of Yosemite Valley. During summer, the rush of meltwater reaches a crescendo, roaring in a constant torrent.
Half Dome Trail
4,800 feet elevation gain
Directions: Yosemite’s most famous and most strenuous hike, Half Dome is guaranteed to inspire, with views from the mist trail as well as from the very tip of the massive Half Dome( 8,842 ft.) its self. After a long hike up along the mist trail and then through a section of increasingly steep wooded area, hikers arrive at the final push, the dome its self. Fro the year 2012, permits will be required for this final region, which is both dangerous and difficult. Ascending at a steep degree along smooth granite with only the aid of metal cables, this hike is not one to be taken lightly. For those wishing to turn the hike in to a two day adventure, there is a small camping area designated about 2/3 of the way up the trail.
Additional Hiking Info:
Permit Fees for Backcountry
There are several very important things to know about backcountry camping in the Grand Canyon. First off is the permit process, which must be applied for well in advance of your planned excursion. The earliest date to apply for a permit is 4 months in advance, but with a limited number of permits handed out each month, spots are filled quickly. Forms can be obtained from the National Parks Service website, http://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/backcountry-permit.htm. A fee of $10 per permit and $5 per person per night applies to all rim and canyon campers. Permits must always be kept in possession while camping. Back country hikers should exercise extreme caution when camping in the summer or winter months, particularly on the North Rim and in the Canyon. Temperatures and weather can change rapidly on the north rim, while hiking in the canyon can be dangerous due to high temperatures and irregular water resources. Ask at ranger stations before attempting any backcountry camping.