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5 Best Hikes in Yosemite

By: Anja Mutic

Anja M. is a professional writer who loves to share stories about the world's best travel destinations.

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December 1, 2022 | Adventure Experts

Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984, Yosemite National Park is one of the world’s most spectacular locations for hiking. Famous for its granite rocks, deep canyons, and a great diversity of animal and plant life, the park offers prime nature trails, and going on any hike here is sure to be an extraordinary experience. Due to the park’s popularity, reservations are required to enter. Check out five of the best hikes in Yosemite below!

Best Hikes in Yosemite, Ranked

Meadow on the John Muir Trail Northbound.

 #1. John Muir Trail Northbound to Yosemite Trek

The John Muir Trail is set in California’s stunning Sierra Nevada, starting in Lake Florence and ending at Yosemite National Park’s beautiful Tuolumne Meadows. This tailored trek covers half of the trail: it is a 13-day, 103-mile journey aimed for seasoned hikers. Mountain passes traverse through several protected zones, including the Ansel Adams and John Muir Wilderness areas, which showcase dazzling scenery of 13,000-foot peaks, countless lakes, huge granite walls, and rich meadows. The hiking is tough but you’ll travel light, as the trip is fully aided by mule support and expert MT Sobek guides who share local legends.

Explore the 13-day MT Sobek John Muir Trail active adventure here.

#2. Pacific Crest Trail

This remote section of the Pacific Crest Trail goes through the northern region of Yosemite National Park. Starting from Leavitt Lake near the Sonora Pass, the trail goes on into Hoover Wilderness and down to the far northern boundary of Yosemite National Park. Along the way, there are cool, serene alpine lakes and heart-stoppingly deep canyons. The endpoint is getting to the Tuolumne River before going up to the gorgeous Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite.

“This was our fifth trip with MTS and all have been excellent. The guides are excellent and while this is a challenging hike we had great food along the way and a great group to hike with. This Yosemite active adventure is an iconic trip and has a well deserved reputation for its beauty and serenity. We can highly recommend the trip and MTS!”

Scott K. MT Sobek Guest | John Muir Trek, 2022

#3. Yosemite National Park Hiking Adventure

Tailored for those who are comfortable with moderate to difficult hikes, this stunning route explores Yosemite National Park with its thundering waterfalls, sprawling meadows, and dramatic granite peaks. On the six-day hiking adventure, witness nature’s marvelous beauty as you stroll among the largest stand of giant sequoias in the valley. Forging into the depths of the park you’ll encounter a landscape of picturesque valleys, sweeping plateaus, and granite formations carved by wind, rain, and glacial ice. Evenings are spent at a mountain resort and a historic lodge. Don’t forget your camera. Captured on film by famed photographer Ansel Adams, the incredibly photogenic Yosemite Valley has inspired visitors for over a century.

Explore this 6-day Yosemite National Park active adventure here.

#4. John Muir Trail Southbound to Mt. Whitney Trek

Trekking in the high Sierra Nevada isn’t for the light-hearted. This incredible trail covers the southern half of the 212-mile John Muir Trail, from Lake Florence southward to Mount Whitney (14,505′), the highest peak in the continental United States. National Geographic has named it one of the “top ten trails on the planet” and this 17-day trip will take you camping along mountain lakes, traversing mountain passes, and marveling at wildflower-dotted meadows. The magnificent finish at the summit of Mount Whitney is simply unforgettable.

Explore this 17-day John Muir Trail Southbound Trek here.

#5. Yosemite Grand Traverse Trek

While this 8-day trek welcomes previous experience, all hikers can rest in the knowledge that all you need to carry on your back is a daypack, as you summit the legendary high points of the Sierra Nevada. Pack mules and haul your gear, so that you can enjoy the astounding scenery on this trans-Sierra trek through Yosemite National Park and the Ansel Adams Wilderness. The starting point is in southern Yosemite, far from the crowded Valley floor; the hike then goes up the high country to emerge near the majestic Cathedral Lakes in Tuolumne Meadows. It crosses with parts of the John Muir Trail and finishes with a summit hike to the beautifully named Cloud’s Rest.

Explore this 8-day Yosemite Grand Traverse Trek here.

flowers overlooking mountain pass in California

Ready to explore? Check out all of our North American hiking trips here.

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