Yosemite Day Hikes Blog Posts

My Mission: Hike every (reasonable?) day hike in Yosemite. Want to follow my progress or find out which hikes interest you? Check out the map below. Click on the markers on the map to find out which Yosemite day hiking trails I have covered in this blog & zoom in to see where the trail travels along the terrain.  Or, scroll down below for more info and links to all my Yosemite Day Hike blog posts, which include more trail conditions, photos, and maps!


Upper Cathedral Lake, Yosemite: A Chilly Stop on the John Muir Trail

In the fall of 2012 Curtis and I hiked up to Lower Cathedral Lake just before a snow storm started doing it's thing. At that time a couple backpackers were around (even though no overnight parking was allowed on the road for the season anymore) - but

Tioga Peak, CA: A Little Hike for a Big Summit

Choosing the location of hikes is the start of my adventure. Zooming around on Google Earth, searching for maps, trying to predict weather... rarely do I ever just decide to hike down a random trail, I like to have a vision for my hike. Also, its a g

Gin Flat Loop, Yosemite: Snowshoeing & Snow Survey Stations

On Tuesday winter had a short gasp of life & snow fell from the skies very briefly around my home in Groveland. Word is that right now the Gin Flat Loop might be snowshoe-able. But not for long. The state of California hasn't been experiencing a

Devil's Dance Floor: Hiking up Fire Scars and Brush Fields

Last month Curtis and I made the trek up to Devil's Dance Floor for the first time, after both hearing about the spot and eyeing it on the map for awhile now. We could have gone there in the summer and easily approached the peak from Tamarack Flat Ca

A Historical Fact Finding Mission on Devil's Dance Floor

Spoiler Alert: There are far less devils and dancing than initially anticipated. Devil's Dance Floor is a named peak that floats tantalizing above the Big Oak Flat Road and Foresta area slightly off trail.  It's hard to not want to visit something

Upper Mariposa Grove & Wawona Point: Past, Present, & Future

The Southern end of Yosemite gets no love, or at least not from me. I've been living here for over 4 years now and I still hadn't visited the Upper Mariposa Grove - which is a little pathetic considering taking the tram to the museum and this upper r

Ostrander Lake, Yosemite: Find Some Peace on this Long Day Hike

With Curtis out of town the other week I had time to do one of Yosemite day hikes he has been less than enthusiastic about. I have really been getting down to the last few day hikes (although there are still some major ones, like the Mist Trail, whic

Bagging Peaks and Taking Names: Hiking Mount Dana

There are some trips that Curtis and I have been meaning to do for years now, Lyle Glacier, Mount Lyle, Mount Whitney, anywhere in Sequoia, and Mount Dana. Guess which one we finally crossed off the list!?! (SPOILER: it's should be pretty obvious by

Mount Hoffman: The Ultimate Yosemite Panorama

I hiked up Mount Hoffman with a group group of friends in early July this summer, it was my second trip up Hoffman. The first trip was in the fall of 2011 - which I can from experience say it is an amazing hike both summer & fall. On that first t

Hiking Tenaya Lake: Why not stop for awhile?

Recently it has been getting hot down in Groveland, which can mean it will be even hotter down in Yosemite Valley. I love the valley, and it is always a must do if you are only going to the park for a short period of time (I might suggest biking, a d

Hiking from Hodgdon Meadow to Tuolumne Grove

The Old Big Oak Flat Road trail from Hodgdon Meadow is Yosemite's closest trailhead to the town of Groveland. Which makes sense because the old road did literally connect from Groveland to the park until it was bought by the state of California in th

Spring Hike from Tuolumne Meadows to 10,000 ft

Last weekend I had the urge to go and try my hand hiking up in the Tuolumne Meadows area. Tioga pass has been open off and on for a few weeks now, but I kept deciding to put it off because I wanted to really hike - not to hike for a bit, then run int

Smith Peak, Yosemite: Fire Scars, Bears & Vistas

I never hiked the Smith Peak trail before the fire, but right now it is a heck of an adventure! I solo hiked this 14-ish mile day hike starting early last Friday morning, rolling into the Hetch Hetchy gate around 7:30 am. I had completely forgotten t

Chilnualna Falls, Yosemite: Big Waterfall, Tiny Crowd

Last year after backpacking past a very dry Chilnualna Creek my interest was peaked about the Chilnualna Falls located just a few short miles down the trail. Apparently I couldn't go then - I had a firm nighttime destination besides the lake of any w

Tueeulala Fall - Hetch Hetchy Valley's Bridal Veil

Have you heard about the rock slide that happened in the beginning of this month in Hetch Hetchy? It is blocking the trail just past the Wapama Falls footbridges - meaning it shouldn't affect day hikers too much, unless your game plan was to power hi

Biking Glacier Point Road - it is one big hill.

This last weekend the Yosemite Facebook page posted a little note stating that the Glacier Point Rd was going to open for cars today (April 14 2014) and with bicycle traffic permitted the weekend before.  A few years back I had biked Tioga Pass Rd in

Rockefeller Grove, Yosemite - Sugar Pines, Skiing, & Fire Scars

Yosemite is know for having three giant sequoia groves (Mariposa, Merced, & Tuolumne), but did you know about the park's less visited Sugar Pine Grove, the Rockefeller Grove? I hadn't either until Curtis had mentioned it as an option for a late s

Hite Cove: California Wildflowers with a Side of Ruins

Guess what season it is? ... California Poppy Season! Last weekend's arrival of California's poppies swept aside any previous hiking plans (Sorry Little Nellie Falls, check you latter) and instead filled my head with visions of hiking in sandals

Foresta Falls & McCauley Ranch on Yosemite's West Side

This low snow winter has had me creating some more creative hiking endeavors: Mariposa's Williams Peak, the"Secret" Sierra Point, and now Yosemite's more "Elusive" waterfall - Foresta Falls. It is a nice short little hike, but with lots of room to ex

Secret Yosemite: Sierra Point

Alright, I will admit Sierra Point is apparently not a secret. We saw a dozen other people while on the "Trail" this Sunday... way more then I ever see hiking to Mt Watkins (one of my favorite off trail hikes in the park). My theory: because of the d

Yosemite During the Dry Winter & Hiking the 4 Mile Trail

The news for the last month has been inundated with tales of polar vortexes, snow closing down highways in Atlanta, and snow days for kids and adults alike... on the east coast. Here on the west coast we are in the middle of in the middle of a critic

Private Autumn Exploration of Lyell Canyon

I headed up Tioga pass a week and half ago hoping to find some snow and frozen winter scenery - which was pretty silly considering how many dry days in a row we had had prior. But today, after a brush of windy wet weather, Tioga Rd is currently close

The Yosemite Hiker Bus & a hiking Olmsted Point down to Mirror Lake

Yesterday I drove through the park to get home from Southern Yosemite & the Sierra National Forest (FYI: New backpacking blogs to come!), and was both surprised to see that Hwy 120 through the park is now open for passage! No stopping on the acti

Reflecting on Life through the Tuolumne River: Poopenaut Valley Trail & Rafting

I have had a river filled couple of weeks here in July, enjoying the wonders of the wild and scenic Tuolumne & Clavey Rivers. Great for the hot weather, and even better for the heart...

Sentinel Dome & Taft Point Loop Hike

I have been meaning to post about Curtis & I's hike to Sentinel Dome and Taft Point since late June. We hiked this one on June 20th, on a rare weekday day hike. The trek was not very intense, but provided some of the best views of far eastern mou

Elizabeth Lake Hike, Yosemite

Happy first day of summer 2013! I feel as if I have been slacking off on my duties as a summer trip planner - I only have reserved permits for one backpacking trip so far (more on that latter) ... but in the mean time Curtis and I have been checking

Upper Yosemite Falls Hike! & a Lesson in Trail Construction?

It is May in Yosemite and you know what that means - Waterfalls! The snow in the high country is melting and recently (well, last week at least) we have been receiving some hot summer type weather. Springtime is the best time for waterfalls every yea

Gaylor Peak Hike

Tioga Pass isn't opened yet - but since almost all of the other passes in our neck of the Sierra are open, I am channeling my anxiousness into a blog post about one of my favorite short hikes on Tioga Pass: Gaylor Peak. Specifically the first and mos

Hiking the Merced River Canyon - with a pup!

Trailhead: West of El Portal take the Foresta Rd bridge over the Merced, then immediatly turn left onto Incline Road. The narrow Incline road goes past many nice looking forest service campsites, then turns to gravel before you reach a gate. Park here and start hiking past the gate. Distance: About 4.5 miles out and back (2.25 miles each way).  The trail is really a service road that runs parallel to the North side of the river, which ends at  where Hwy 140 crosses the North side Merced to via a small aluminum bridge to avoid a landslide that happened a few years back.

Yosemite Snowshoeing: Crane Flat Fire Lookout

Winter is almost over! Or, at least it seems that way since daylight saving time and 60 degree weather has started here in Groveland. But, since it did rain last week Curtis and I were able to Yosemite snowshoeing one more time this weekend. We ended

Yosemite Firefall 2013 & How to enjoy the Yosemite Sunset

This weekend I got to check an item off of my Yosemite Bucket List: seeing the Yosemite firefall! Curtis and I spent two evenings (Saturday and Sunday, February 23rd and 24th) among a flock of fancy cameras & photographers waiting for the sun to

Snowshoeing the Merced Grove of Sequoias

Our trip snowshoeing the Merced Grove of Giant Sequoias allowed us to travel off trail to see a few of the Sequoias you can only peer at in the summertime.

Carlon Falls for a December Hike

Trailhead: Evergreen Rd, Stanislaus National Forest - after bridge on South fork of Tuolumne River/ Opposite side as Carlon picnic area sign!
Distance: ~ 3.5 miles out and back. Trail is fairly level at first and then goes over a couple large hills right before reaching the falls.

Lower Cathedral Lake Hike - A late fall hike

Trailhead: Tioga Rd / Hwy 120, on the West side of Tuolumne Meadows by the Cathedral Lakes sign. Parking here is pullout/parallel and usually a mess so you should see the line of cars as you approach.
Distance: ~7 miles (out and back). climbing mostly in the hike "out", & descending in the back "back"

Mariposa Grove - Without an overpriced Tram Ticket!

Trailhead: Mariposa Grove Rd/Parking lot off of Hwy 41. Might be necessary to take a shuttle in peak times of year.
Distance: ~ 2 miles round trip to Grizzly Giant & Tunnel Tree. The trail is moderately sloped on the hike out.

Day Hiking Mt. Watkins, Yosemite - Sweet Solace Off the Trail

Trailhead: Olmsted Point, off of Tioga Rd / Hwy 41
Distance: ~ 9 miles out and back. Trail is fairly level with just enough climb in the way out that you will appreciate gravity's help on the way back.

Day Hiking Clouds Rest, Yosemite - Resting with the Clouds

Trailhead: Sunset Lakes, Tioga Rd / Hwy 120 on the West end of Tenaya Lake
Distance: ~ 14 miles out and back. Good and steep on the way out, with downhill on the hike back.

Lundy Canyon

Trailhead: Lundy Lake Rd (off of Hwy 395) past the lake & cabins down to dirt road pullouts near an Outhouse.
Distance: We hiked ~3.5 miles before we hit the snowline (Just beyond a dayhike to Mill Creek Falls), making it 7miles out and back. Trail was fairly hilly and required you to ford past runoff streams and cross some good old fashioned shady log bridge.

Tioga Road Biking

Did you know that it a not-so-secret time honored road biking tradition to travel over mountain passes after the snow melts but as the road remains closed? I didn't, until we heard about being able to cycle Tioga Pass in the park! I cant tell you

Bike Paths, Cold Rivers, and Trail Markers

Curtis and I had planned to bike around wine country this weekend, but, as we should have expected, it was your traditional end of September scorcher of a day. Instead we decided to take the opportunity to swim in Yosemite, and bike around the valley

North Dome, Not the North Pole

Trailhead: Porcupine Creek Trailhead, off of Tioga Rd / Hwy 120
Distance: ~9 miles. Slightly downhill on way out and then uphill on the way back. The end of this hike take you onto granite slopes and it is probably best if you wear some shoes with traction & not your foam Tevas like I did.

Hetch Hetchy Day Hike or as we like to call it Hetch Hedgehogy: the story of our water source and a brave hedgehog

Trailhead: Evergreen Rd down into Hetch Hetchy Entrance Station, parking lot by dam
Distance: ~ 4 miles rounds trip to Wapama Falls, we went ~ 1.5 miles past that and in addition got to see rattlesnakes & bears!

Day Hiking Inspiration Point, Yosemite: Our second trip focusing on an Inspiration.

Trailhead: Behind Tunnel View, off of Hwy 41 right outside of the Valley
Distance: ~ 2.5 miles, but filled with steep switchbacks and hot in the summer sun!

Valley Floor Day Hike instead of unpacking!

Trailhead: Parked by Bridal Veil Falls (parallel because parking area was full) in the Valley.
Distance: ~4 miles ( we walked there on the trail and back partially along the road/bike paths) Flat with but unexpected hills compared to the road.

4 Responses

  1. Deborah Kalkowski
    Deborah Kalkowski · January 24, 2014 at 18:57:53 · →

    Hello Denise – I am thoroughly enjoying your blog! You emailed me today about getting eggs from me. Right now the “girls” are only laying about 18 eggs a day, which are all spoken for :(

    Within the next month I’ll be acquiring 25 more hens for the upcoming “season”. Once that happens I’ll drop you an email.

    In the meantime, you’re certainly welcome to stop by the ranch and check it out – calling first is recommended.

    On another subject …….. Mt. Hoffman is a great 1-day hike!

    Take care,

  2. Joon
    Joon · February 13, 2014 at 11:42:27 · →

    Hi Denise,

    I appreciate your blog! Good info on what is probably one of the national parks in the US! Anyway, I was wondering if you had any tips on a 2 day/3 night backpacking trip my girlfriend and I are going on in February? Can we combine any of these 2 day hikes? Let me know. Thanks!


Leave a Reply


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers: