Rocky uneven pathway along Four Mile Trail, steep verges and mountain views in the distance
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Four Mile Trail

Updated by Dianne Titos on December 7 2023

Hike the Four Mile Trail starting from Yosemite Valley and you can expect spectacular views of Yosemite Falls, Half Dome, and the Sierra Nevada high country. It is a popular route due to breath taking views and sense of accomplishment reaching the famous overlook at Glacier Point.

An overview of the distance and difficulty hiking Four Mile Trail
πŸšΆβ€β™€οΈ Distance4.8 miles, 9.6-mile round trip
⏱️ Time4 hours, 8-hour round trip
πŸ’ͺ DifficultyModerate to Advanced
πŸ”οΈ Elevation Gain3,420 feet

Where can I find Four Mile Trail within Yosemite National Park?

Four Mile Trail is found within Yosemite Valley, and accessible from all entrances, however the most common used are the South Entrance and Arch Rock Entrance. From the South Entrance you can use Wawona Road to join Southside Drive, or from Arch Rock Entrance, use El Portal Road to join Southside Drive.

You can find limited roadside parking near the trailhead, so if you struggle to find a space then use the Valleywide Shuttle and get off at Stop #11.

What makes this hike so special?

Along the scenic Four Mile Trail you can spot famous Yosemite landmarks such as El Capitan, Sentinel Rock, and Yosemite Falls, making for excellent photo opportunities of these memorable, famous, sites.

How we rate the different aspects of Four Mile Hike
FeatureOur rating
Natural beauty and scenery⭐⭐⭐⭐
Wildlife spotting⭐⭐⭐
Peace and quiet⭐⭐⭐
Accessibility⭐⭐

View of North Dome viewed from the trail high up, sunny day
Stand back and admire the views of famous sites including North Dome.
Kelly vanDellen/Shutterstock.com

What are the highlights of hiking Four Mile Trail?

Hiking the Four Mile Trail rewards you with some of the most spectacular and up-close views of Yosemite's highlights such as El Capitan and epic views from Glacier Point. Here are some other sites you can expect as you make this memorable trek.

  1. El Capitan - El Capitan is a vertical rock formation in Yosemite National Park, and a favourite with experienced rock climbers from around the world.
  2. Sentinel Rock - This granite peak towers above Yosemite Valley and provides climbing opportunities for visitors.
  3. Yosemite Falls - Yosemite Falls, one of the tallest waterfalls in North America, cascades down 2,425 feet in three sections, and is a jaw-dropping part of visiting Yosemite.
  4. Yosemite Valley Views - The views from Yosemite Valley are iconic, packed with towering granite cliffs, waterfalls, and wildlife.
  5. Glacier Point - Glacier Point is one of the most impressive overlooks in Yosemite National Park, with a few of Yosemite Valley, Half Dome, and the High Sierra.

When is the best time to visit Four Mile Trail?

The Four Mile Trial is an interesting and challenging trail that leads you to some of the most impressive views in Yosemite, with a spring and fall more favoured for the milder weather and quieter hiking paths.

When is the best time to visit Four Mile Trail
SeasonConsiderations
Spring🌷 As the snow melts the waterfalls are at their most powerful, and the wildflowers start to bloom. However, the upper sections of the trail may still be icy.
Summerβ˜€οΈ A popular time for hiking the Four Mile Trail, when views are unhindered, however it can also be the most crowded and hot.
FallπŸ‚ Fall brings cooler temperatures, fewer crowds, and the beautiful fall colors to the Yosemite Valley.
Winter❄️ Due to the sharp switchbacks on this trail, Four Mile Trail tends to close in winter so make sure to check ahead before arriving.

Common questions about hiking Four Mile Trail

The Four Mile Trail is a strenuous but rewarding hike, passing some of the most iconic landmarks such as El Capitan, Half Dome, and Yosemite Falls. Before you head along this route towards Glacier Point make sure to be prepared as there are limited facilities along the way.

Is Four Mile Trail easily accessible for those with mobility issues?

❌ No, Four Mile Trail is not easily accessible for those with mobility issues. The trail's surface and incline do not accommodate wheelchairs or walkers, and it would be challenging for anyone with limited mobility.

Are there restrooms along Four Mile Trail?

❌ No, there are no specific restrooms along Four Mile Trail.

Are there refreshments and water stations along Four Mile Trail?

❌ No, there are no refreshments or water stations along Four Mile Trail. You need to bring your own water and snacks and it's important to carry enough water, especially during the summer months.

Are dogs allowed along Four Mile Trail?

❌ No, dogs are allowed along Four Mile Trail.

Are vehicles allowed along Four Mile Trail?

❌ No, cars, electric scooters, and ATVs are not allowed on Four Mile Trail.

Can you camp overnight along Four Mile Trail (or nearby)?

❌ No, you cannot camp along Four Mile Trail.

❗ For your camping needs head to North and Upper Pines Campgrounds which are around 2.5 miles from the trailhead.

Is there anything else to watch out for when I hike Four Mile Trail?

The Four Mile Trail isn't 4-miles long, in fact it got its name from the original 1872 trail, which was four miles long, not the 4.8 miles we know today. The original trail was designed to provide access to Glacier Point and remains a popular route.

Prepare yourself for elevation gain and steep sections by using proper footwear and not skipping switchbacks - there are dangerous hidden ledges!

Distance Sign at the Four Mile Trail toward Glacier Point in Yosemite National Park
There are plenty of impressive overlooks to admire as you head towards Glacier Point.
Kelly vanDellen/Shutterstock.com