If there is one thing that always holds true about hiking and backpacking in Yosemite National Park it’s that this is the home of some of the most picturesque and spectacular hikes in the entire world. Moreover, there are over 800 miles of them so you are sure to come home with some serious memories. We have listed our top picks and some general information about each. (NOTE: all mileages listed are round trip, not one way.)
Bridalveil Fall (rated Easy)– This 0.2-mile hike can be done within an hour but it will provide you with a great view of a spectacular waterfall.
Mirror Lake (rated Easy)– The hike to the lake is 2.5 miles long but along the way, you have an excellent view of Half Dome and fields rich with wildflowers.
Mount Hoffman (rated Moderate)– You can do this 6.1-mile hike in a half day or you can make it a long, leisurely day. The summit of this mountain is located close to Yosemite’s geographical center.
Mariposa Grove to Wawona Lodge (rated Moderate)– Spend your morning wandering about the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. If you hike the outer Wawona loop of the trail, you’ll escape most of the crowds.
Sierra Point (rated Strenuous)– Don’t be deceived by the fact that this trail is rated as Difficult when it is only 1.4 miles long (the trail is no longer maintained as it was closed due to a rock fall). This trail is unmarked; however, it is worth the effort as you will be rewarded with views of Illilouette, Nevada, Vernal, and Yosemite Falls. Additionally, the trail connects to the John Muir Trail.
4-Mile Trail (rated Strenuous)– If you’re in top physical shape, you can do this trail in a long day. It’s 9.4 miles in length and the elevation change is 3,300 feet. The trail meanders up out of the Yosemite Valley floor and ends at Glacier Point.
Multiple-Day Backpacking treks
Ten Lakes of Yosemite National Park– The average time involved in doing this 22-miler is three days, but if you prefer some strenuous, you can do it in two. Conversely, if you want to take the trail at an easier pace and take in every bit of scenery that you can, stretch it to four days. The trail starts at Tenaya Lake and ends where Yosemite Creek is crossed by California State Highway 120.
John Muir Trail – Happy Isles to Tuolumne Meadows or Tuolumne Meadows to Reds Meadow– The former is 21.1 long miles with the other being 34.2 miles. Regardless of which one you choose at first, you’re going to want to do the other at a later date. If you have the time, the stamina, and the determination, you can make a marathon backpacking adventure by combining both.