Views of Yosemite Falls and Yosemite Valley await hikers, topped off with a panorama of Half Dome and Sierra mountain peaks from Glacier Point.
Distance: 4.8 mi (7.7 km) one way to Glacier Point. 9.6 mi (15.5 km) round trip.
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 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.
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). Bring 2 quarts/liters of water if hiking this trail one way (or 4 quarts/liters if hiking round trip).
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 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.
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.)
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.).
Last updated: October 30, 2020