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Four Mile Trail

 37 votes

4.2 Miles 6.8 Kilometers





3,184' 971 m


-4' -1 m


7,167' 2,185 m


3,986' 1,215 m



Avg Grade (8°)


Max Grade (27°)

All Clear

21 days agoUpdate

A stunning set of switchbacks on Yosemite Valley's south wall.

Tom Robson


View current conditions for trail closures.
Features: Birding — River/Creek — Views — Waterfall — Wildflowers — Wildlife
Dogs: No Dogs

Runner Notes

The Four Mile Trail follows a series of switchbacks down the south wall of Yosemite Valley. Although lacking shade during the heat of summer, this trail has no lack of views—El Capitan and the Cathedral Rocks tower to the west, while Yosemite Falls plummets in the north and Half Dome looms eastward. The trail ends about a mile west of Yosemite Village, which is accessible by riding the El Capitan Shuttle (summer only) or by crossing the Merced River on Swinging Bridge.


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 run 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 run 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 can purchase a tour bus ticket from any tour desk to ride the bus to Glacier Point (running 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.

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.


Land Manager: NPS - Yosemite

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   Clear Rating

4.7 from 37 votes

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Nov 8, 2017
Lance Mogard
Oct 18, 2017
Jaap Boelens
Preference going up, and going down you realize how much climbing it is
Mar 31, 2017
Jay Salazar
Amazing views...! 6.2mi
Nov 24, 2016
Erika Azevedo
Sep 1, 2016
Jovany Angel

Trail Ratings

  4.7 from 37 votes


  4.7 from 37 votes
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1,266 Since May 7, 2015
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All Clear 21 days ago

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