Best Easy Day Hikes Yosemite National Park  by Suzanne Swedo

Best Easy Day Hikes: Yosemite National Park Guide Book

by Suzanne Swedo (Falcon Guides)
Best Easy Day Hikes Yosemite National Park  by Suzanne Swedo
Best Easy Day Hikes Yosemite National Park is a perfect guide for those who want to sample the best of Yosemite within an easy day's walk, from the valley's famous domes and waterfalls to the park's more remote but equally spectacular corners. From a short stroll to an extended ramble, this book is for hikers of every ability, age, and interest.

© 2015 Suzanne Swedo/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Trails from the "Best Easy Day Hikes: Yosemite National Park" Guide Book
Displaying trails 20 of 24.

Displaying trails 1 to 20 of 24.

Bridalveil Creek flows over the southern wall of Yosemite Valley through a defile between Cathedral Rocks and the Leaning Tower. But before it reaches the bottom, 620 feet below, the wind catches, tatters, and flings the droplets into graceful, lacy patterns. If you visit in springtime, you can expect to receive a shower from the spray.
Yosemite Village, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 0.8
Chilnualna Creek seldom flows quietly—it rushes and crashes and roars almost constantly for most of its length. One of the most spectacular sections of falling water is just above the point where Chilnualna Creek passes beneath Chilnualna Road and flows into the Merced River. It is as exciting as any of the more famous falls in Yosemite Valley, but few people see it, tucked away as it is in this little corner of the park. This trail takes you so close to the action that you’re likely to get soaked from the spray if you go early in the year.
Wawona , CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 0.4
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A moderately steep but shady uphill climb takes you to the shore of this pretty little lake tucked in behind Lembert Dome. It’s worthwhile anytime, but photography is best in the afternoon. Set out northward from the small Lembert Dome/Dog Lake trailhead sign through lodgepole pines. Cross an open rocky slab polished to a high sheen in places by glaciers and 74 Best Easy Day Hikes Yosemite National Parkre enter the forest. Sometimes there are cairns to guide you, but sometimes they get washed away. Just walk straight across the rocks and watch for the continuation of the trail on the far side (north). At 0.1 mile a trail comes in from the stables to the left (west). Take the right (north) fork. Just beyond, another trail comes in from the stables. Keep right (north) again. Climb steeply alongside the sheer face of Lembert Dome and then cross a little creek.
Yosemite Village, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.6
This flat hike, partly along the Merced River, passes through forests, meadows, and a swampy fen, with very fine views of North Dome and the Royal Arches. Along the way you can make an optional visit to the Happy Isles Nature Center and the site of a notorious rockslide. From the trailhead sign marking the John Muir and Mist Trails, follow the wide obvious path straight ahead into the shady ponderosa pine and incense cedar forest. You will notice another log-lined path cutting off from this one to the left heading back to the shuttle bus road, but the right-hand path is prettier and quieter. Pass a little A-frame structure used for ranger/naturalist talks and soon find yourself clomping across a boardwalk through a swampy area known as The Fen. It’s filled with a dense growth of water-loving horsetails, sedges, and fragrant mints and is a great place to spot birds.
Yosemite Village, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.2
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The view from Glacier Point is surely one of the most spectacular in the world. Half Dome occupies center stage, brooding over slickrock Tenaya Canyon and Mirror Lake at the east end of Yosemite Valley. To the right the Merced River drops into the valley over the Giant Staircase as Nevada and Vernal Falls. Beyond lie rounded Mount Starr King and the darker colored Clark Range. Interpretive panels at the rim help you identify the distant peaks.
Yosemite Village, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 0.5
This popular hike follows the first mile of the famous John Muir Trail along the roaring Merced River to where Vernal Fall plunges down the final step of the Giant Staircase. The way is steadily uphill, but the trail is short, mostly paved, and well worth the effort. The Merced River first plunges over the steps of the Giant Staircase as Nevada Fall, then as Vernal Fall, before it slows to sweeping meanders over the flat floor of Y osemite Valley. If time permits, hike or drive up to Glacier Point for a spectacular overhead view of the Giant Staircase.
Yosemite, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 1.6
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This is an upside-down hike to the top of a seldom-seen waterfall and should probably be considered at the very upper limits of an easy day hike, but it isn’t difficult if you take your time. Remember that it will take much longer to come back up from the fall than it did to go down. Make sure you have allowed plenty of time and that you carry water. Before you begin, take a minute to enjoy the overwhelming immensity of the panorama at the trailhead. To the left is North Dome, capping the graceful Royal Arches; in the center is Half Dome, the monumental symbol of Yosemite. The only confusing section of the whole route is here at the beginning. Do not immediately strike out along the edge of the cliff to the left (north) of the trail sign. Instead head slightly uphill to the right (south). At 0.1 mile there are two more signs and two trails. To the right (west) is the Pohono Trail, which skirts Yosemite Valley to the west. The Panorama Trail, described here, goes left (south) toward Illilouette Fall.
Yosemite Village, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 4.2
Lembert Dome—among the premiere features of Tuolumne Meadows—is the huge, lopsided, smoothly polished mound of granite just north of the Tioga Road. This loop will take you all the way around the dome, providing some great views along the way. There are even better views from the top, of course, but the route is strenuous and slippery and far beyond the definition of an “easy” hike. You can follow the route in either direction, but it will be described clockwise here.
Yosemite Village, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 3.1
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Yosemite Falls is among the most famous and frequently photographed falls in the world, and this walk gives you the closest top-to-bottom head-on view you can get anywhere. The trail crosses a bridge so close to the base of the lowest fall that you can feel the spray early in the season. This hike is the most dramatic when done clockwise. According to some, this is the highest waterfall (2,425 feet) on the continent. It is actually a series of three falls—the upper one dropping 1,430 feet, a middle series of cascades totaling 675 feet, and a lower one tumbling 320 feet—and qualifies as the highest only if all three are added together. In May and June, the thunder of the water from melting snow falling onto the rocks below can be heard all over the valley, and the spray drenches onlookers hundreds of feet away.
Yosemite Village, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 0.7
This easy and popular hike through forest and meadow to a quiet lake is a favorite with wildflower lovers. To begin this hike, carefully cross the Tioga Road and head uphill through an almost pure red fir forest. The cones underfoot come from the occasional western white pine or hemlock. Fir cones do not fall—they decompose and release their seeds while still on the tree. Watch for odd, leafless plants like pinedrops, brilliant red snow plant, and little coral root orchids on the forest floor. Because these species have no green leaves and thus cannot make food for themselves through photosynthesis, they live on decaying material in the soil. Chinquapin—green-and-gold shrubs with spiny but delicious edible nuts—grow in the sunny spots.
Yosemite Village, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 2
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This route is part of the famous John Muir Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail. It follows the Tuolumne River to a set of bridges at the foot of a grand meadow, one of the prettiest places in the park. You will probably want to spend hours there, so allow plenty of time.
Yosemite Village, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 1.2
The giant sequoias are the largest living organisms on earth, and at up to 3,000 years old, they also are among the oldest. The bristlecone pines in the White Mountains to the east are older, and the coast redwoods are taller, but these are certainly the most massive and arguably the most awe-inspiring of the big trees. Yosemite has three groves of these trees. Mariposa Grove is the most popular, and the Grizzly Giant — your objective — is the largest tree in any of them. Mariposa Grove is the most popular, and the Grizzly Giant—your objective—is the largest tree in any of them. Distance: 1.6 miles out and Sequoias Guide and Map by Jon back (with optional loops) Kinney, available at the trailhead.
Wawona , CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 1.6
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May Lake High Sierra Camp is one of five popular back-country camps with tent cabins and other amenities that are available to visitors by reservation only. You can hike in to spend the day with little effort, since it is the nearest of all the camps to a road (not counting Tuolumne Meadows Lodge). Mount Hoffman, at the geographical center of Yosemite, provides the backdrop to this idyllic lake.
Yosemite Village, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.4
This is one of Yosemite’s prettiest and “bloomingest” meadows. Most visitors drive right past the unobtrusive trailhead to this little slice of paradise on their way to Glacier Point, so you might be lucky enough to have it all to yourself. The path to the meadow descends through quiet lodgepole pine forest. Currants, strawberries, lupines, larkspur, and many other species flourish alongside the trail. Just before you reach the meadow at 0.7 mile, watch for a tumbledown log cabin on the left (west). Beyond, at 0.8 mile, lies the meadow.
Yosemite Village, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 1.6
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The walk to Mirror Lake is a family favorite offering little beaches and shallow water to splash in during summer, classic reflection for photographers in spring, and always plenty of birds in the surrounding willows. Mirror Lake was created when a rock-slide dammed up a section of Tenaya Creek, which promptly went to work to reclaim its original course. Every spring it washes tons of silt down the canyon to refill the lake basin, extending fingers of earth into the water. This in turn invites colonization by water-loving plants like sedges and willows, which soon come alive with the songs of red-winged blackbirds. Mirror Lake is well on its way to becoming Mirror Meadow. Eventually, as the basin fills in and dries out, the area may become forest with Tenaya Creek running through it, someday leaving the canyon as though Mirror Lake had never been—at least until the next major rockslide.
Yosemite Village, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 2
Pothole Dome looks like a much smaller version of Lembert Dome at the other end of Tuolumne Meadows. Interesting glacial features and great views make it such a popular hike that the vegetation between the road and the dome is in danger of becoming trampled. Please stay on the trail. Here you will find a number of fine examples of glacial activity. There are patches of glacial polish, rock surfaces buffed to an almost blinding sheen by the movement of fine grit dragged across the rock by moving ice.
Yosemite Village, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 1
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The location of Sentinel Dome above Yosemite Valley provides complete 360-degree views of just about the whole park. Carry water and wear good sturdy shoes for this one; smooth-soled sandals won’t give you enough traction on the smooth rock.
Yosemite Village, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.2
A wide, sandy trail heads right into the heart of enormous Tuolumne Meadows amid a riot of wildflowers and crosses the Tuolumne River as it winds its sinuous way through the meadow. Beyond, you can visit mysterious Soda Springs and stop at historic Parsons Lodge, which houses exhibits of early days in Yosemite.
Yosemite Village, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 1.2
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This is an upside-down excursion. After an easy cruise downhill to Taft Point, you will be climbing up on your way back. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time, and take water with you. Your reward is a striking set of geologic features that will help you understand how Yosemite got its famous profile, with a magnificent—and spine-tingling—view of Yosemite Valley as a bonus. The trail begins at a sign in a sandy opening in the mixed pine and fir forest. Follow the path to the left (west) fork. Sentinel Dome lies to the right (north). Pass through a flat, fairly open stretch past an odd, isolated outcrop of almost pure-white quartz on the right, then swing left (south) and start downhill where the forest closes in. At 0.4 mile reach Hike 13 Taft Point and The Fissures 53the Pohono Trail junction; continue walking left (west).
Yosemite Village, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.2
Tenaya Lake was named for Chief Tenaya who, with all his people, was driven from his home in Yosemite by the U.S. Cavalry. It is a very big lake by Yosemite standards—a very popular one too, with its wide sandy beach and proximity to the road. This hike takes you around the “back” side of the lake, away from the busy highway.
Yosemite Village, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 1
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