Kenny Karst / DNC Parks & Resorts at Yosemite, Inc.
One of the best ways to see Yosemite is by foot. Here are our top picks for Yosemite hikes by region:
Lower Yosemite Falls. In Yosemite Valley, a short, very pretty hike with a great reward in the view of the falls. Trailhead: Lower Yosemite Fall Trailhead (Shuttle Stop #6); distance: 1 mile loop. Easy.
Mirror Lake. A two-mile trail leads to this lake and surrounding meadow, particularly pretty in early morning. Trailhead: Shuttle Stop
#17. Distance: 2 mile round-trip; easy.
Vernal Fall. It's a .8-mile hike to a footbridge with a fine view of this lovely waterfall. Trailhead: Happy Isles (shuttle stop #16)
Half Dome. It's on a lot of people's life list of adventures--the demanding hike/climb up 8,800-foot Half Dome. Allow at least 10 hours, and know that the last 900 feet of trail is a steep climb up the dome, with you clinging to cables for the final 400-foot ascent. Trailhead: Happy Isles (shuttle stop #16). Distance: 14-16 miles. Difficulty: hard. For more, visit http://www.nps.gov/yose.
Pothole Dome. This short climb provides an ideal vantage point for taking in Tuolumne Meadows. From the pullout on the north side of State
120 look for a big meadow that leads first into a grove of pines and then up the gently curving rock face. The 0.5-mile trip
to the top takes less than 20 minutes and is easy all the way. Trailhead: State 120 at western edge of the meadows. Distance:
.5 mile; easy.
Gaylor Lakes. This shortish hike climbs to give you incredible High Sierra views. Trailhead: Tioga Pass Entrance Station. Distance: 2 miles; moderate.
WAWONA AND GLACIER POINT ROAD
The Grizzly Giant. In the Mariposa Grove, an easy hike to one of Yosemite's most impressive sequoias. Trailhead: Mariposa Grove parking lot. Distance: .8 miles; easy.
Taft Point. A mostly flat walk through forest leads you to this promontory and eye-popping views of the Yosemite Valley. Trailhead: Taft
Point/Sentinel Dome parking area. Distance: 2.2 miles; moderate.