Discover and explore what is so special about Yosemite National Park. Although the bulk of Yosemite visitors stay in the popular drive routes through the valley and park, for many the real treasure of Yosemite can only be found via the Foot.
Between the breath taking waterfalls and gorgeous meadows visitors willing to take a hike discover mountains that captivate the imaginations, lakes that fill your spirits and valleys so deep and long that it changes the scale and perspective of your world. Of course this is all built inside the worlds most extraordinary granite features and the beautiful California weather that makes exploring Yosemite a must do bucket list for millions each year.
With over 800 miles of trails you’re likely to spend lots of your Yosemite vacation wandering from spectacular destination to spectacular destination. Choosing between day hiking or backpacking is often one of the most difficult decisions after your first visit to Yosemite. Day hiking is super simple and destinations are plenty. Backpacking takes planning and effort in Yosemite as most backpacking permits are reserved 6 month’s in advance and the lines for day of permits start early.
Best Hikes Tioga Pass
I am a true believer that the best hikes in Yosemite are found on the Eastern Side of the park in the high country.
Here is my list of the top 10 hikes off Tioga Pass or HWY 120 on the East side of Yosemite
Best Hikes Yosemite Valley
Some of the most hike trails on the West coast of America, yet many of them would have a darn good argument as the best in the nation. Be prepared to be mesmerized by scenic views and world class water falls plus the grand rise of granite cliffs
Best Backpacking Destinations
Note this list of Backpacking destinations is just a tip of the iceberg. It is focused on the basic weekend trip in Yosemite. You might say beginner trips for Yosemite Backpackers.
Yosemite Valley – This is the place people are usually thinking of when they think about Yosemite. Many of the things Yosemite is famous for are here: El Capitan and Half Dome, Yosemite and Bridalveil Falls, the Mist Trail, the tunnel view. A fair number of people, too. You won’t find solitude here unless you show up during a blizzard, but all those tourists have good reason to be here. There’s simply no place else like it anywhere.
Glacier Point– If you want to find out whether or not you’re afraid of heights, there’s no more scenic way to do it than to try the hikes off Glacier Point Road. Any of the trails with “Point” in the name lead to jaw-dropping, vertigo-inducing views over the sheer walls of Yosemite Valley. This road also passes the trailhead to Sentinel Dome, where you’ll find a fabulous 360-degree vista and possibly the most revered tree, thanks to Ansel Adams and scores of other photographers, that ever lay dead on the ground.
Hetch Hetchy -Hetch Hetchy Valley has been flooded for more than 80 years, much to the detriment of its own beauty and the environmental cred of the city of San Francisco, which is adamantly opposed to tearing the dam down. Despite the valley’s destruction, there are still things to see here – a giant waterfall that’s had its feet chopped off by the reservoir but is still impressive, and in the Big Oak Flat area, Yosemite’s least crowded giant sequoia grove.
Southern Yosemite / Mariposa – Home to the most renowned bunch of trees in the world. The Mariposa Grove has Giant Sequoias just hanging out in the parking lot that people would normally drive hundreds of miles to see, yet they’re completely overlooked here due to the larger-than-life presences of the Grizzly Giant, the California Tunnel Tree, and a host of others.
Yosemite Wilderness – Untrampled Wilderness. Nearly 95 percent of Yosemite is Congressionally designated Wilderness. Wilderness is a word of many meanings. From a place to be feared to a place to be revered, wilderness can evoke images of wild animals, cascading streams, jagged mountains, vast prairies, or deserts. For individuals wilderness can mean physical challenge, grand vistas, solitude, community, renewal, or respite from a complex technological society. Yosemite Wilderness holds it all.