Distance: 9½ miles
Elevation gain: 3,200ft (from 4,000 - 7,200 ft)
Want to hike up the side of Yosemite Valley and marvel at the views, but either don't have the time or the stamina for the 17-mile round trip to Half Dome? Four Mile Trail provides increasingly spectacular views of the valley as it winds its way up from the valley floor and terminating at Glacier Point with some of the best panoramic views that the park has to offer.
The well-used and popular four-mile trail is mostly paved and, slightly at odds with the trail's name, covers a total of 4.6 miles.
Though we recommend the full out-and-back route, a popular method of tackling this hike is to take a bus to the summit and hike back down to the valley floor. If you find a one-way route more appealing and you're in shape enough to tackle the 3,200ft climb, then we'd suggest the opposite - starting at the bottom trailhead and discovering the increasingly spectacular views.
Both Four Mile Trail and Glacier Point Road are closed to the public during winter months. These closures occur independently, so there are times when the trail is open while the road is still closed, allowing hikers to tackle the full out-and-back trail without the usual Valley crowds. See the tangents section for links to Yosemite road & trail closures.
- Trailspotting Images: Four Mile Trail on Flickr
- Official Site: Yosemite National Park / Trail closures / Road closures
- Glacier Point Bus (for one-way hikes)