Trail Run Project Logo

A nearly 20 mile trail forming a loop around Yosemite Valley.


Your Rating: Rating Rating Rating Rating Rating      Clear Rating
Your Difficulty:
Your Favorites: Add To-Do · Your List
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

17.0

Miles

27.4

KM

98%

Runnable

4,150' 1,265 m

High

3,875' 1,181 m

Low

869' 265 m

Up

868' 265 m

Down

2%

Avg Grade (1°)

18%

Max Grade (10°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Birding · Lake · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Description

This trail follows many of the Valley's first east-west trails and wagon roads. It offers a rare opportunity in Yosemite Valley: to run on a fairly level trail with some solitude. While some of the trail passes near roads, much of it takes you through meadows, talus slopes at the base of the granite cliffs, and near the Merced River. You can access the trail from many places throughout the Valley. Route-finding can be difficult in places, so it is best to bring a map with you (even a simple day hiking brochure from the visitor center) or the Trail Run Project mobile app as they will orient you with the various landforms in the Valley, which are often listed on the trail/directional signs.

From the Lower Yosemite Fall area, head west along the base of the Three Brothers rock formation, past Camp 4, eventually working your way through Yosemite Valley to El Capitan. If you are planning to run the half loop, cross the Merced River at El Capitan Bridge and continue by heading east back toward Yosemite Village. If you are planning to run the full loop, continue west past El Capitan toward Bridalveil Fall. While most of the trail is flat, there are some hilly sections throughout the loop. Additionally, you'll find mixed trail surfaces: dirt, rocks, sand, and old pavement.

The Valley Loop Trail is open year-round. During spring, you may find localized flooding on the trail near creeks. During winter, the trail is often snowy and icy in places, particularly along the south side of Yosemite Valley. In these areas, use extreme caution as it may be hard to get traction on ice and route-finding may be difficult in snowy areas (the trail may be completely obscured by just a few inches of snow).

Contacts

Land Manager: NPS - Yosemite

Shared By:

Brian Smith

Trail Ratings

  3.9 from 27 votes

#687

Overall
  3.9 from 27 votes
5 Star
22%
4 Star
52%
3 Star
19%
2 Star
4%
1 Star
4%
Trail Rankings

#87

in California

#687

Overall
24 Views Last Month
6,858 Since May 7, 2015
Easy/Intermediate Easy/Intermediate

33%
24%
38%
0%
5%
0%

Photos

The mighty Merced River.
May 7, 2015 near Yosemit…, CA
Valley View of Yosemite Valley - El Capitan and Three Brothers
May 7, 2015 near Yosemit…, CA
Yosemite Valley April 2015 snow storm.
Mar 13, 2016 near Yosemit…, CA
Yosemite Valley View
May 7, 2015 near Yosemit…, CA
Merced River
Jul 19, 2021 near Yosemit…, CA
Views across the Merced River.
May 7, 2015 near Yosemit…, CA

0 Comments

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

Minor Issues 4 hours ago
Add Your Check-In

Check-Ins

Sep 23, 2019
Kiana Newman
So fun!! Absolutely love this trail and my favorite way to enjoy Yosemite Valley! 17mi — 2h 15m
Sep 29, 2016
Jake Dickerson
6mi
Welcome

Join the Community

Create your FREE account today!
Already have an account? Login to close this notice.

Get Started