View of gushing Lower and Upper Yosemite Falls from Cook's Meadow Loop
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Cook's Meadow Loop Trail

Updated by Pat Dorri on December 7 2023

Cook's Meadow Loop Trail in Yosemite National Park offers amazing views of Half Dome and Glacier Point alongside picturesque landscapes dotted with streams and meadows. The fairly easy terrain also makes it a great option for hikers of all skill levels, with no compromise on the beautiful views you are rewarded with.

An overview of the distance and difficulty hiking Cook's Meadow Loop Trail
πŸšΆβ€β™€οΈ Distance1 mile
⏱️ Time30 minutes
πŸ’ͺ AdvancedEasy
πŸ”οΈ Elevation Gain80 feet

Where can I find Cook's Meadow Loop Trail within Yosemite National Park?

The best way to reach Cook's Meadow Loop Trail is to enter at either the Arch Rock Entrance or the South Entrance. Which entry depends on your departure point, so from San Francisco it would be Arch Rock Entrance, and via Los Angeles head into Yosemite through the South Entrance. In both cases you need to drive towards Yosemite Village.

Once you arrive use either the Yosemite Village or Yosemite Falls parking areas. From the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center you can then catch the Valleywide Shuttle between 7 AM to 10 PM to Stop #6 and the trailhead is over the road.

What makes this hike so special?

Cook's Valley Meadows Loop has a well positioned overlook to admire Yosemite Falls, and Half Dome, Glacier Point and Sentinel Rock can also been seen en route. This trial might not only be very short and very sweet, but it is also flat, making it suitable for all skill levels and ages.

How we rate the different aspects of Cook's Meadow Loop Trail.
FeatureOur rating
Natural beauty and scenery⭐⭐⭐⭐
Wildlife spotting⭐⭐⭐
Peace and quiet⭐⭐⭐
Accessibility⭐⭐⭐⭐

Lower Yosemite Fall in the background and wooden boardwalk in the green meadow on a sunny day of summer,
Meander through stunning Cook's Meadow as you make your way across this pretty trail.
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What are the highlights of hiking Cook's Meadow Loop Trail?

Along Cook's Meadow Loop Trail you can expect impressive views of iconic Yosemite landmarks like Half Dome and Sentinel Rock alongside the calm waters of Merced River and surrounding landscape. Here is what else you can expect to find.

  1. Yosemite Falls - One of North America's tallest waterfalls, plunging in three majestic cascades.
  2. Half Dome - A renowned granite dome that attracts adventurers from around the world, offering an exhilarating challenge to climbers.
  3. Glacier Point - A stunning overlook, showcasing the entire Yosemite Valley, including iconic landmarks like Half Dome and the High Sierra peaks.
  4. Sentinel Rock - A towering formation prominent on Yosemite Valley's skyline, with sheer vertical face.
  5. Cook's Meadow - Offers a peaceful escape amidst the park's iconic granite formations and Merced River.

When is the best time of year to visit Cook's Meadow Loop Trail?

Cook's Meadow Loop Trail is open year-round, and with a fairly flat and even terrain it's possible to complete whatever the weather. However, choose to take this path in spring and early summer, and beautiful wildflowers will also be in bloom.

When is the best time to visit Cook's Meadow Loop Trail
SeasonConsiderations
Spring🌷Spring is a fantastic time to hike the Cook's Meadow Loop Trail as the meadows come alive with vibrant wildflowers.
Summerβ˜€οΈ Summer offers warm and pleasant weather, making it a popular time to hike, although the trail is likely to be more crowded.
FallπŸ‚ A particularly pretty time to hike as the weather remains pleasant, and the foliage begins to change color.
Winter❄️ Winter can offer a unique and serene experience with fewer crowds, with snow dotted across Yosemite's iconic sites.

Common questions about hiking Cook's Meadow Loop Trail

Cook's Meadow Loop Trail is one of the most accessible trails in Yosemite National Park, and don't forget your camera as the trail has some of the park's most iconic landmarks in its sight too. This short route is however short on amenities so make sure to be prepared.

Is Cook's Meadow Loop Trail easily accessible for those with mobility issues?

β­• Yes, Cook's Meadow Loop Trail is easily accessible for those with mobility issues.

Are there restrooms along Cook's Meadow Loop Trail?

❌ No, there are no restrooms along Cook's Meadow Loop Trail.

Are there refreshments or water stations along Cook's Meadow Loop Trail?

❌ No, there are no refreshments or water stations along Cook's Meadow Loop Trail. The closest is at Yosemite Valley Visitor Center.

Are dogs allowed along Cook's Meadow Loop Trail?

❌ No, dogs are not allowed along Cook's Meadow Loop Trail.

Are vehicles allowed along Cook's Meadow Loop Trail?

❌ No, cars, electric scooters, and ATVs are not allowed on Cook's Meadow Loop Trail.

Can you camp overnight along Cook's Meadow Loop Trail (or nearby)?

❌ No, you can not overnight along Cook's Meadow Loop Trail.

❗ Yosemite Valley has campgrounds such as the Upper and North Pines which you can use for an overnight stay.

Is there anything else to watch out for when I hike Cook's Meadow Loop Trail?

If you decide to take on Cook's Meadow Loop Trail in the summer then make sure to arrive before 9AM or late afternoon to avoid crowds.

Lush meadow and forests surrounding Cook's Meadow Loop Trail pathway in Yosemite National Park
The striking landscape along this short trail takes you past some of the most famous sites in Yosemite.
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