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Hiking up the 4 Mile Trail to Glacier Point

Views of snow capped mountains and flowing waterfalls were our reward once we made it to the top but Yosemite Falls with rainbows was also pretty darn special.

Where: Yosemite National Park
Distance: 9.85 Miles
Difficulty: Moderate to Strenuous
Elevation Range: 3,980′ – 7,221′
Date: November 4, 2016
Maps: El Capitan Topographic Quad
Dog Hike? No, dogs not allowed in Yosemite National Park Wilderness

We parked at the 4 Mile Trailhead pullout on the right hand side of Southside Drive, west of the Swinging Bridge and at the base of Sentinel Dome where there was a sign. Road construction was going on and the normal 1 way traffic on the loops were 2 way, along with some of the through routes across the valley that connect with the north loop closed. I wanted to give you a heads up because getting anywhere right now can be a bit confusing but you can do it with a little patience.

The 4 Mile Trail begins in the Yosemite Valley Floor, just west of the Swinging Bridge area, and climbs up a switch back trail 4.8 miles to Glacier Point. You will gain about 3,200 feet in elevation by the time you get to Glacier Point. You are probably asking why it is called the 4 Mile Trail if it is 4.8 miles in length. When this trail was originally constructed in 1872, it was 4 miles but in the early 1900’s, the trail was reconstructed, resulting in the increased distance. The trail is closed during the winter because of icy trails and down trees that routinely occur.


As we climbed the trail, we had several spots where we could view Yosemite Falls.


We could also look down into Yosemite Valley and see all of the drought and bug killed trees. Those aren’t all fall colors in the picture. Most of that orange are dead and dying pine trees.


As we climbed, we saw Yosemite Falls differently. We were treated to a rainbow at this viewpoint.


We could also look down at the Merced River and see the yellow fall color along it.


We made it up to Glacier Point in time to find a nice lunch spot and admire the view.


One of us took a Siesta and the rest of us explored those views.


We had wonderful views of Vernal and Nevada Fall.


Half Dome, looking up Tenaya Canyon.


Yosemite Falls with another rainbow.


In fact the whole view was amazing.



We just had to get our picture taken on the big rock near the amphitheater at Glacier Point and a kind person took this picture of us.

Photo by Debra Sutherland's Camera

It was time to head back down the trail that was lined with fall color and lit up by the afternoon sun.

Photo by Debra Sutherland

Photo by Debra Sutherland


Photo by Debra Sutherland











After finishing our great workout, we drove up to the Swinging Bridge, where we checked out the restrooms and took in the views.

Photo by Debra Sutherland

Photo by Debra Sutherland




Photo by Debra Sutherland

p1200983rThere is no doubt that this hike is a good workout. Gaining 3,200 feet in elevation in 4 or so miles will do that. Although this much gain might sound a bit too much, you can and should take breaks to admire the view on the way. You don’t get these types of views of Yosemite Falls anywhere else.

Map and Profile:

Doarama Link


4 Mile Trail to Glacier Point Topographic Map


4 Mile Trail to Glacier Point Profile

Prior blogs in the Area:

4 Mile Trail to Glacier Point May 14, 2014

4 Mile Trail to Glacier Point & Sentinel Dome Hike November 26, 2012

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