Yosemite National Park is home to some of the most scenic and spectacular hikes in the world. With over 800 miles of trails you are sure to keep yourself busy. Our wandering feet have taken us down many dirt paths to find our favorite family-friendly hikes in our area.
So grab those hiking shoes and let’s plan your day hikes for your stay!
Ready to explore Yosemite National Park? Let’s go!
Yosemite National Park
Lower Yosemite Falls Trail
Lower Yosemite Falls Trail is a 1-mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Yosemite Valley. The trail is primarily used for walking, is good for all skill levels, and is accessible year-round. It takes about 30 minutes to complete the hike, and half of the loop is wheelchair accessible. Leashed pets are allowed.
Yosemite Falls is the tallest waterfall in Northern America. This short, easy walk provides spectacular views of Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls and even Middle Cascade. Like all waterfalls in Yosemite, this waterfall is often dry from late July or August through October, and is best seen in spring when the winter snow is melting and the upper lakes are full, significantly increasing the flow of the water over the edge.
The trailhead is at the Lower Yosemite Fall Trailhead, shuttle stop #6.
Mirror Lake Loop Trail
Mirror Lake via the Valley Loop Trail is a 5.6-mile heavily trafficked loop trail, and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking and walking and is best used from March until November. This is a well-marked trail and significantly less crowded than other trails in the park. There’s a one mile paved trail walkway and bike path along Tenaya Creek to the north side of the lake and an unpaved trail along the south side.
The pathway around Mirror Lake is a must-see for its beautiful reflections of Half Dome, and its abundance of wildflowers during the early summer months. Mirror Lake is a seasonal lake located on Tenaya Creek and situated in Tenaya Canyon directly between North Dome and Half Dome. It is the last remnant of a large glacial lake that once filled Yosemite Valley.
The trailhead is at the far east end of Yosemite Valley, and many visitors take the free shuttle bus there. The shuttle stops directly at the trailhead. You can also hike from Curry Village or the Ahwahnee Hotel, where there is a parking area and drinking water is available.
Glacier Point Trail
Drive to the best view in all of Yosemite. Glacier Point is a popular stop for many new visitors on their way down to Yosemite Valley. This 270-degree view of the Valley, Half Dome, and three water falls will amaze you.
Glacier Point Trail is a 0.6 mile heavily trafficked out-and-back trail from the parking lot to the viewpoint that is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until October. Dogs are allowed on the trail but must be kept on leash.
Although it’s not much of a hike, the view at the end of the paved walkway will leave you breathless. You will see Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls, Yosemite Valley below, Clouds Rest, Half Dome, and Vernal and Nevada Falls.
In Winter the road to Glacier Point is closed to cars, but strap on a pair of cross country skis or snowshoes and you should be good to go.
Sentinel Dome Trail
Sentinel Dome Trail is a 2.1 mile heavily trafficked out-and-back trail that features beautiful wild flowers and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking and trail running and is best used from April until November.
Sentinel Dome starts from Glacier Point Road, and scales one of Yosemite’s high domes to offer a full breathtaking 360-degree view. To the west, you’ll see Yosemite Valley, and beyond to the Merced River canyon. To the north is El Capitan and Yosemite Falls. Nevada Falls, Half Dome and Clouds Rest are to the east, as are many of the High Sierra peaks.
This summit was made famous by Ansel Adam’s 1940 photo of the Jeffrey Pine tree. The tree perished in 1977, and fell over in 2003. The trail crosses a bridge over a stream near the beginning of the hike and gradually slopes up along a granite floor among the pines. It then turns slightly left and after a gradual climb through more pines, meets the base of the dome, where you then take a sharp left straight up onto the exposed dome. Enjoy the views! An alternate route begins at the service road entrance about a half mile towards Glacier Point from the main trailhead. This spur joins the main trail at the base of the dome and is about two thirds of a mile.
Bridalveil Fall Trail
Bridalveil Fall Trail is a 0.5 mile heavily trafficked out-and-back trail that features a waterfall, and is good for all skill levels. The paved path from the parking lot is primarily used for hiking and walking, and is accessible year-round. Dogs are allowed but must be kept on leash.
It’s a quick walk to the base of this stunning waterfall that is appropriately named: when there is enough wind, the mist looks like the veil a bride might wear. The Ahwahneechee tribe believed the fall to be the home of a spirit which protected the valley, and that inhaling the mist would increase ones chance of marriage.
The 620-foot fall is best seen in spring when the snow has just begun to melt and the water levels are at their highest.
Although paved, this trail is not wheelchair accessible due to its steep grade.