• Rainbow over Half Dome

    Yosemite

    National Park California

Four Mile Trail

Views of Yosemite Falls and Yosemite Valley await hikers, topped off with a panorama of Half Dome and Sierra mountain peaks from Glacier Point.
 
Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls as viewed from halfway up the trail

Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls as viewed from halfway up the trail

Trail Overview

Distance: 4.8 mi (7.7 km) one way to Glacier Point. 9.6 mi (15.5 km) round trip.
Elevation: 3,200 ft (975 m) elevation gain
Difficulty: Strenuous
Time: 3-4 hours one-way, 6-8 hours round trip
Begin at: Four Mile Trailhead along Southside Drive in Yosemite Valley

This trail begins near the base of Sentinel Rock and climbs to the top of Yosemite Valley at Glacier Point. The trail maintains a continuous steep grade, following the path of an old toll trail that was completed in 1872. The trail has changed a bit over the years; it is now closer to five miles than four (and of course there is no more toll). Spectacular views of Yosemite Valley, El Capitan, Yosemite Falls, and, eventually, Half Dome await those willing to tackle this strenuous trail. Don't skip the side trip to enjoy the view of Yosemite Valley from Union Point, located a bit over two-thirds of the way up.

The Four Mile Trail ends at Glacier Point, where restrooms, parking, and a snack stand (summer only) are available. You can choose to hike back to Yosemite Valley by reversing your route or by continuing on the Panorama Trail, which brings you to the Happy Isles Trailhead in another 8.5 miles (13.7 km).

If you want to hike one way, make sure you have another member of your party available to drop you off or pick you up at the other end. There is no free shuttle system between Glacier Point and Yosemite Valley. The park concessioner runs three daily guided bus tours that include a stop at Glacier Point—you can purchase a tour bus ticket from any tour desk to ride the bus to Glacier Point (hiking back to the Valley). You should purchase this ticket in advance to guarantee your space, but advance tickets are only available if riding the bus from Yosemite Valley to Glacier Point. There is no way to guarantee space riding from Glacier Point to Yosemite Valley; tickets in this direction can only be purchased in cash from the bus driver if space is available.

Seasonality
The Four Mile Trail typically opens for the season sometime in May and closes below Union Point due to treacherous conditions after significant snow accumulation (usually by November or December). After major snowfalls, the entire trail may close. When partially closed, only the lower three miles (5 km) are open to the gate below Union Point; good views of Yosemite Valley are still possible, although Glacier Point and Union Point would not be accessible. This lower section is also very icy and slippery during winter and early spring. View current conditions for trail closures and view historical opening and closing dates for this trail.

 
The Four Mile Trail gains about 3,000 feet in the first 4 miles

Stay Safe

  • Start your hike early; this trail can become very hot mid-day. By starting as early as possible, you will be able to spend more of the hike in shade and less in the sun.
  • Stay on the trail and resist the temptation to cut switchbacks. Cutting switchbacks is illegal, and there are many drop-offs and ledges hidden by brush.
  • Sprained ankles are common on this trail. It is partially paved and has loose sand on top, which makes for slippery footing in places.

Water
Drinking water is not available along the trail. When the Glacier Point Snack Stand is open (late May through mid-October), food and beverages are available for purchase at Glacier Point. A drinking fountain is also available at Glacier Point (late May through mid-October).

Restrooms
Restrooms are not available at the trailhead in Yosemite Valley; vault toilets are available just to the east at the Swinging Bridge Picnic Area. Restrooms are also located at Glacier Point near the parking lot. (Flush toilets may be open from late May through mid-October, otherwise vault toilets are available.)

Parking
Parking is available along Southside Drive in Yosemite Valley (signed as "Four Mile Trail"). Parking is also available at Glacier Point, near the trail's end.

Transportation
The El Capitan Shuttle (9 am to 6 pm) serves this trailhead (stop E5) from late May through early October. You can also ride the Valley Visitor Shuttle (7 am to 10 pm year-round) to shuttle stop #7 and follow the bicycle path to Swinging Bridge, then walk west a few minutes to the trailhead. (This adds about 0.5 mile (0.8 km) to the total distance.)

If you want to hike one way, make sure you have another member of your party available to drop you off or pick you up at the other end. There is no free shuttle system between Glacier Point and Yosemite Valley. The park concessioner runs three daily guided bus tours that include a stop at Glacier Point—you can purchase a tour bus ticket from any tour desk to ride the bus to Glacier Point (hiking back to the Valley). You should purchase this ticket in advance to guarantee your space, but advance tickets are only available if riding the bus from Yosemite Valley to Glacier Point. There is no way to guarantee space riding from Glacier Point to Yosemite Valley; tickets in this direction can only be purchased in cash from the bus driver if space is available. Do not miss the bus; you will have no choice but to hike back yourself if you do so. Do not start hiking with the expectation of taking a bus back to the trailhead.

Trail Etiquette
Pets, bicycles, and strollers are prohibited. Do not shortcut switchbacks, which causes rapid trail erosion and results in injuries. Keep your food within arm's reach at all times and do not feed the wildlife. Carry out all trash and food waste (fruit peels, shells, etc.).

 
 
 
 

Did You Know?

American black bear

Black bears in Yosemite are active both day and night. Most bears that rely on natural food sources are active during the day. However, those that get food from people are often active at night, when they can quietly sneak around and grab unattended food. More...