How to Have the Best Day Hikes in Yosemite

How to Have the Best Day Hikes in Yosemite

Best day hikes in Yosemite is a tough one because Yosemite has so many amazing day hikes! I would say that the best day hike in Yosemite is to walk around Yosemite Valley. That’s because you get to see all parts of the valley and take in some great views. The valley itself is an incredible place to be, whether you’re on the floor or high above it. Take your time and enjoy yourself because this is an experience like none other.

Keep scrolling to learn more about the best day hikes in Yosemite for your second visit!

Where is Yosemite? 

Yosemite National Park | Image source – Pinterest

Yosemite National Park is located in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains. It’s famous for its waterfalls and tall stone cliffs.

When to Go? 

The best time to visit Yosemite is in the spring (April-May) and fall (September-October). Summertime can be crowded with visitors, but it does have some great advantages like lower lodging prices and warm weather for outdoor activities.  

How Long Should I Stay?

With an ancient history to narrate, Yosemite is a National Park that we all should take the time to see. The ancient sequoias and sheer granite cliffs, not to mention waterfalls that fall for thousands of feet like Bridalveil and Yosemite Falls, make this a must-see national park.

Geographical location

Yosemite is located in California at the eastern end of San Francisco Bay. With an area of 747,956 acres (1,168.681 sq mi; 302,687 ha; 3,026.87 km2), the park is slightly smaller than the U.S. state of Rhode Island (8,044 acres; 32 km2).

Yosemite National Park is one of the most famous national parks in the United States, and for people who like to hike, it’s paradise!

The highest point in Yosemite National Park is Mount Lyell at 13,120 feet (3,998 m) and the lowest point is along the Merced River near Happy Isles at 3,000 feet (914.4 m).

There are over 800 miles (1,287 km) of trails in Yosemite.


Beautiful Scenery in Yosemite National Park | Image Source – Pinterest

The climate varies greatly throughout the park due to elevation and latitude. Temperatures on the floor of Yosemite Valley are often cool and may even require winter clothing, while summertime temperatures at Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite’s high country can soar into the 90s °F (30s °C), requiring plenty of water for visitors hiking on sunny days in the summer.

Typical Weather Conditions in Yosemite

The National Park Service closely monitors weather conditions within Yosemite National Park. Climate data has been recorded at the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center since 1869. Annual precipitation has ranged from 669 mm during some years to recorded extremes of 1,372 mm in February 1937 and 831 mm in 1971.


With a population of 1169 as of 2020 records, Yosemite is dense with individuals of various backgrounds. The population is expected to rise by 2020 due to high tourist rates.

Yosemite National Park Quick Facts

  • Land Size: 3,027 km²
  • Annual Visitors: 2,27 Million as of 2020
  • State: California
  • Entrance Fees: $80

How to Get to Yosemite National Park?

To get to the Yosemite National Park, take Highway 50 until you reach Highway 99, and then head South. At Highway 120 head East to Yosemite National Park. Follow Highway 120 into Yosemite Valley and follow signs to Yosemite Village.

Driving from San Francisco takes approximately 4 hours.

Hover over the image below for more information on how to get here!  

What is Yosemite National Park Famous for?

Yosemite Valley | Image Source – Pinterest

The Yosemite National Park is a popular attraction and a campsite in California. The site is popular for its amazing waterfalls, deep valleys, and giant sequoia trees. It is a must-see site for Californian tourists.

Yosemite National Park Top Attractions

1. Yosemite Falls

2. Yosemite Valley

3. El Capitan

4. Bridalveil Fall

5. Half Dome Peaks with an elevation of 13,000+ Feet

Yosemite National Park is full of glaciers and high peaks. This area is also a great place for bird watchers as well as hikers to visit due to the amount of wildlife that lives in this park. Because it’s a protected national park, there are rules against entering if you’re not wearing the proper attire. One must purchase a backpacking permit if they wish to go into the wilderness with their camping gear. There are also groups of hikers that go off on hikes for days at a time, so be sure to check the Yosemite National Park website periodically for any updates or changes in policy regarding hiking trails and rules.

The Best Day Hikes in Yosemite

Once you’ve seen everything that the valley has to offer, it’s time to broaden your horizons and explore some of the great trails surrounding this area. Before doing so, you have to be prepared with the best gear.

What to Prepare when Hiking in Yosemite

  • Sturdy shoes are a necessity for hiking. Make sure to pick up some sturdy, waterproof shoes that will help you stay stable on uneven ground and keep your feet dry if you happen to hike through water.
  • Binoculars
  • Since Yosemite is home to many species of animals, including black bears who roam around during the day, it’s recommended to bring some binoculars with you on your hike. This will allow you to take a closer look at the animals and potentially get some great photos of them as well!
  • Water bottles
  • There is nothing worse than running out of water when you’re hiking, so make sure that you pack enough water bottles or a hydration system before heading.

Morning on the Yosemite Hiking Journey

With amazing and breathtaking hiking trails, Yosemite offers an amazing and adventurous hike to all visitors. Moreover, it would be advisable to prepare yourself for the hike with proper hiking boots, water bottles, and binoculars to take a look at Yosemite’s sexy bears.

Afternoon on the Yosemite Hiking Journey

After the hike, the afternoon is a perfect time to enjoy some of Yosemite’s legendary sights such as El Capitan and Half Dome. With their sheer size they cannot be compared with anything in this world, so take your chance to create unforgettable memories!

Evening on the Yosemite Hiking Journey

At night, you can head over to the Yosemite Village for some great food and drinks after a long day of hiking.

After all this strenuous activity, there is only one thing left to do at night in Yosemite National Park; Sleep! If you’re lucky, you might spot some nocturnal animals on your way back to your tent. However, please make sure not to wake them up.

What to See in Yosemite National Park?

The Half Dome | Image Source – Pinterest

Yosemite National Park has a lot to offer. Below are some of the attractions in the Yosemite Valley.

  • Yosemite Valley

This is where the most popular and famous attractions in Yosemite National Park are located. All you need to do is just drive down from your campsite and park your car at one of the many parking lots where you can see all these great attractions, including Yosemite Falls, Half Dome, El Capitan, etc.

  • Half Dome

You need to have a permit to go on this hike, and it is advised that you go with a group since the Half Dome trail offers dangerous conditions. If you’re planning to do this hike make sure to start very early in the morning.

  • Glacier Point

At Glacier Point, you can get a spectacular view of Yosemite Valley and its surroundings. Several hiking trails lead up here, but the trail is not very well marked so it’s recommended to go with someone who has done this trail before.

  • Bridridalveil Falls

This is a perfect place for a picnic, but it might be crowded in the summertime. It’s a 7-mile round trip hike which you can either do from the valley floor or Glacier Point.

  • Mariposa Grove

This is where you can see some of Yosemite’s giant redwoods. These trees are over 2,000 years old and it’s something to see in person. You can either hike down to the Mariposa Grove or take a shuttle bus from Yosemite Village.

Best Food for Hiking – Backpacker Should Know

There are different food you can bring for Yosemite hiking. However, some of them are more preferable to others.

Backpackers should know some best food to take on the trail. If you want to take a proper meal with you on your hike, make sure that it’s something light and easy to eat without utensils since you might not want to spend your energy on cooking.

Snacks like trail mix, nuts, and dried fruit are perfect for hiking since they require less preparation than other types of food. A lot of people also recommend bringing some kind of candy with you if you don’t mind the extra weight in your backpack, e.g. chocolate or candy bars.

Quick Guide for a Short Trip (2 – 4 days) in Yosemite

This is a great Yosemite itinerary for people who have less time to visit the park.

A short trip in Yosemite can be done in 2-4 days, based on how much you are willing to hike each day.

Attractions you can see in a 2-4 days trip in Yosemite;

  • Vernal Fall and Nevada Fall (8-8.5 mile round trip)
  • Half Dome (17-18 mile round trip)
  • Glacier Point and all the trails leading up to it (7 miles round trip)
  • Royal Arch Cascade (8 mile round trip)
  • Yosemite falls & Yosemite Village area (3-5 miles, depending on which route you take)
  • Bridalveil Fall and Tunnel View viewpoint for sunset (3.6 miles round trip from the valley floor or 7.2 miles from Glacier Point)

Quick Guide for a Long Trip (10days) in Yosemite

This is an excellent Yosemite itinerary for people who have plenty of time to visit the park.

Attractions you can see in a 10 days trip in Yosemite

Vernal Fall | Image Source – Pinterest
  • Vernal Fall and Nevada Fall (8-8.5 mile round trip)
  • Half Dome (17-18 mile round trip)
  • Glacier Point and all the trails leading up to it (7 miles round trip)
  • Royal Arch Cascade (8 mile round trip)
  • Yosemite falls & Yosemite Village area (3-5 miles, depending on which route you take)
  • Bridalveil Fall and Tunnel View viewpoint for sunset (3.6 miles round trip from the valley floor or 7.2 miles from Glacier Point)
  • Wawona and Mariposa Grove (8-10 mile round trip)
  • Lembert Dome & Tuolumne Grove (3 mile loop)

You can also check out this article to be aware of how you can get the half dome permits.

Special Tips you Should  know About Yosemite

  • Make sure to drive a night before to Yosemite Park prior to starting your journey in the park.
  • If you want to do the hike Half Dome, make sure you get your permits in advance. (They are given out on a lottery basis)
  • It’s not recommended to take pets with you when hiking.
  • When going for Yosemite day hikes, make sure to wear sunscreen and don’t forget your sunglasses.
  • Be sure to have your bookings on stay.
  • Don’t plan on using mobile phones.


Mariposa Grove | Image Source – Pinterest

What is the Best Month to Visit Yosemite National Park?

May to June and September to October are the best months to visit Yosemite.

Is Yosemite National Park a Good Place for Day Hiking?

Yes, Yosemite has some of America’s most beautiful natural scenery and great day hikes, making it a favorite destination for many outdoor enthusiasts.

How Many Miles Long is the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias in Yosemite?

The Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoia in Yosemite is 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) long and includes over 500 mature giant sequoias.

Where Would be the Best Place to Stay Near Yosemite National Park?

Yosemite has plenty of places to stay near the park. The options are all good, so you can pick accordingly depending on which part of Yosemite you want to visit.

What is the Best Place for Camping in Yosemite?

Yosemite has 78 campgrounds that take reservations and 52 that are first-come, first-served.

Why is Yosemite Called the “Crown of the Continent”?

Yosemite is so grand and majestic that John Muir, an early advocate for its protection, explained why he thought it was deserving of being called the “crown” to the continent.


To sum up, you can enjoy the best day hikes in Yosemite with this guide. Also,

If you have any queries, feel free to ask in the comment section below. We would be happy to help you out!

Lauren De Almeida

Lauren De Almeida

I am a passionate author. I like traveling and hence contribute to this travel blog with interest. Moreover, I enjoy writing articles on travel, cuisine, lifestyle, and culture. For me, this is an interesting art to explore new places, meet new people and learn about their lifestyles. All my publishing on this site contributes to encouraging everyone out there to get out and explore the world around you. Through this site, I intend on delivering the latest travel news, updates, and other interesting information to readers. Enjoy!

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