Monday, July 3, 2017

5 Great Hikes in Yosemite National Park

El Capitan reflected in Mirror Lake.
Artist Point Trail
Families can enjoy one of the most photograph-ed vistas at Yosemite National Park with a day hike on the Artist Point Trail. Located at the western end of Yosemite Valley, most of the 3-mile round trip trail follows the Old Stagecoach Road that used to run through the area.

McGurk Meadow Trail
While Yosemite Valley bustles with activity, deep atop its south wall lay several quiet places for enjoying the area’s natural beauty. One of those easy day hikes is the McGurk Meadow Trail. The 1.8-mile round trip trail can be accessed from Glacier Point Road. Unlike some Yosemite Valley trails that head up mountainsides, the smooth McGurk offers a mere elevation change of no more than 100 feet.

Mirror Lake Trail
Day hikers can enjoy a swim in a pool reflecting two of Yosemite National Park’s famous landmarks on the Mirror Lake Trail. Located in Yosemite Valley’s east end, the trail to the pool – Mirror Lake – is popular during summertime. The trail runs 2-miles round trip but by heading up the canyon can be extended to either a 4.6-mile round-trip or a 5-mile loop around the lake.

Sentinel Dome and Taft Point Loop
If you have elementary-aged school children, the Sentinel Dome and Taft Point Loop at 4.9 miles may be a bit much to handle. In such cases, the trail can be broken into two out-an-back trail segments.

Yosemite Valley West Loop
Day hikers can see some of western Yosemite Valley’s most famous sites – including Bridalveil Fall, Merced River, Ribbon Fall, El Capitan, and Cathedral Rocks – on a loop of connecting trails. The Yosemite Valley West Loop, consisting of four trails, forms a 4.95-mile circuit. To begin the loop, park in the Bridalveil Fall lot north of the waterfall on Southside Drive.

Learn more about national park day hiking trails in my Best Sights to See at America’s National Parks series.