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black Yosemite Valley Traverse

  4.5 ( 8 )

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13.1 mile 21.0 kilometer point to point
74% Runnable


Ascent: 3,990' 1,216 m
Descent: -3,931' -1,198 m
High: 7,255' 2,211 m
Low: 3,988' 1,215 m


Avg Grade: 11% (7°)
Max Grade: 52% (27°)


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Trail shared by Jason Chan

An amazing Yosemite Valley run to Glacier Point that starts at the Four Mile Trail trailhead and ends at Happy Isle.

Jason Chan

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

Trails may close if snow is present.


Want to take a run that allows you to experience almost all the major points of interest in Yosemite? This route will take you from the valley floor to the top of Glacier Point then back down to the valley floor, presenting you with vistas of Half Dome, Yosemite Falls, Nevada Falls, Vernal Falls, Mist Trail, Illilouette Falls, and more!

Need to Know

Snacks and drinks are available at Glacier Point store. Water fountains available at Glacier Point and Vernal Falls bridge.


This route will take you from the valley floor to the top of Glacier Point then back to the valley floor again, highlighting many of Yosemite's most famous viewpoints and features. Frequently, you'll come across deer and birds in the early hours, which is the recommended departure time. From time to time, you might even see a bear. There is something magical when you start early in the morning as you watch the first light hit the valley. Feeling a need for a refreshment? Take a break at the Glacier Point store. You can even soak your feet at Illiloute Creek.

Enjoying the Yosemite Valley Traverse can be broken down into three distinct segments. The journey starts at the Four Mile Trail trailhead.

From the trailhead, you make up the Four Mile Trail to Glacier Point. This portion is the most strenuous part of the trip, and you gain most of the run's total elevation here. There are many switchbacks, and the trail can still be extremely steep in sections.

From Glacier Point, follow the Panorama Trail along the rim of Yosemite Valley towards Nevada Falls. You'll have hit the highest points of the run by this time, and will be enjoying a mostly mild descent. The grades level out, and the views unfold, so be sure to keep your head up to enjoy them!

Right before you reach Nevada Falls, take the John Muir Trail down to Happy Isles. This will be the longest descent, as your knees will let you know by the end. The going is long, and there are some steeper sections, so use caution as you make your way down!

The trail is mainly dirt with a couple of paved sections near Happy Isles and Glacier Point. Most of the trails feature switchbacks so the going is not that steep. While trail is fairly well maintained, there are still some spots where obstacles like water bars, rocks, and downed trees can be encountered.

When running in the winter, trails might close due to snow. When running during early summer months, don't forget to bring bug spray for the mosquitos.

Flora & Fauna

Snakes, squirrels, mosquitos, bears, lizards, wildflowers

History & Background

Four Mile Trail used to be 4 miles, until it was extended to 4.8 miles. Glacier Point used to house a hotel before it was burned down.


Land Manager: NPS - Yosemite

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Apr 28, 2018
Norbert Barbosa
Nov 20, 2017
Neil Martin

Trail Ratings

  4.5 from 8 votes


  4.5 from 8 votes
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