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Tamarack and Cascade Creek Tour

  3.0 ( 1 ) Favorite


8.0 mile 12.8 kilometer out and back
87% Runnable


Ascent: 1,418' 432 m
Descent: -1,418' -432 m
High: 6,015' 1,833 m
Low: 4,876' 1,486 m


Avg Grade: 7% (4°)
Max Grade: 25% (14°)


No Dogs
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Trail shared by Megan W

Escape the typical crowds on this enjoyable, wildflower-filled traverse of Yosemite's western region

Megan W

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


This is the run for you if you're partial to big views, wildflowers, creek wading, and birding. The other main feature of this trail is solitude, quiet, and more wilderness than you're likely to get in the Valley.


From the Big Oak Flat parking area, switchback steeply up through scrubby terrain with views of Half Dome and El Capitan. This area was burned by wildfires in 1990, and today zillions of little trees have sprouted back up. The fires also opened up the understory to sunlight allowing wildflowers to thrive here. Birds also appreciated the new habitat and moved in, keeping the birdwatchers happy.

Cross several inlets of Wildcat Creek as the trail descends and then climbs back up the more wooded hillside. Enter a small ravine formed by Tamarack Creek. Crossing this water can be impossible in early season, even well into June. Continue to contour around the hillside, ascending a handful of steeper sections before reaching the Old Big Oak Flat dirt road (now closed to vehicles). The small pools here in Cascade Creek are good for wading and make pretty backdrops for picnics. The turnaround point for this trail is the Cascade Bridge where the Tamarack Creek Trail and Coyote Creek arrive from the west.

Once you've seen enough wildflowers and wildlife to tide you over to your next visit, retrace your steps back to the parking area.

Flora & Fauna

Lupine, wild iris, dogwood, azalea.

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Land Manager: NPS - Yosemite

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19 Views Last Month
1,176 Since May 18, 2016



The view toward Yosemite Valley. El Capitan peeks above the ridge line, and Bridalveil Falls can be seen on right hand side.
Mar 11, 2016 near Yosemit…, CA
Bridalveil Falls can now be seen through the burned trees on a spring day. This hike shows how the area is recovering from a forest fire.
Mar 11, 2016 near Yosemit…, CA
Only a few steps into the trail, the scenery is already beautiful.
Jan 2, 2017 near Yosemit…, CA
Looking back toward Big Oak Flat Road back toward El Portal.
Mar 11, 2016 near Yosemit…, CA
The Big Meadow Fire started as a prescribed burn in August 2009, but grew out of control.  The damage you see in this shot is the result of that burn.
Mar 11, 2016 near Yosemit…, CA
Here you come to Tamarack Creek that must be crossed.  It's an easy rock hop when the water is down, but in the spring when the snow is melting, it can be trickier to cross.
Mar 11, 2016 near Yosemit…, CA


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