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Valley Loop Trail

Easy/Intermediate
 3.8 (25)

A nearly 20 mile trail forming a loop around Yosemite Valley.


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Map Key

17.0

Miles

27.4

KM

Loop

4,150' 1,265 m

High

3,875' 1,181 m

Low

869' 265 m

Up

868' 265 m

Down

2%

Avg Grade (1°)

18%

Max Grade (10°)

Dogs No Dogs

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

Description

This trail follows many of the Valley's first east-west trails and wagon roads. It offers a rare opportunity in Yosemite Valley: to hike on a fairly level trail with some solitude. While some of the trail passes near roads, much of it takes you through meadows, talus slopes at the base of the granite cliffs, and near the Merced River. You can access the trail from many places throughout the Valley. Route-finding can be difficult in places, so it is best to bring a map with you (even a simple day hiking brochure from the visitor center) or the Hiking Project mobile app as they will orient you with the various landforms in the Valley, which are often listed on the trail/directional signs.

From the Lower Yosemite Fall area, head west along the base of the Three Brothers rock formation, past Camp 4, eventually working your way through Yosemite Valley to El Capitan. If you are planning to hike the half loop, cross the Merced River at El Capitan Bridge and continue by heading east back toward Yosemite Village. If you are planning to hike the full loop, continue west past El Capitan toward Bridalveil Fall. While most of the trail is flat, there are some hilly sections throughout the loop. Additionally, you'll find mixed trail surfaces: dirt, rocks, sand, and old pavement.

The Valley Loop Trail is open year-round. During spring, you may find localized flooding on the trail near creeks. During winter, the trail is often snowy and icy in places, particularly along the south side of Yosemite Valley. In these areas, use extreme caution as it may be hard to get traction on ice and route-finding may be difficult in snowy areas (the trail may be completely obscured by just a few inches of snow).

Contacts

Land Manager: NPS - Yosemite

Shared By:

Brian Smith

Trail Ratings

  3.8 from 25 votes

#981

Overall
  3.8 from 25 votes
5 Star
20%
4 Star
56%
3 Star
16%
2 Star
4%
1 Star
4%
Trail Rankings

#125

in California

#981

Overall
44 Views Last Month
6,854 Since May 7, 2015
Easy/Intermediate

32%
21%
42%
0%
5%
0%

Photos

Valley View of Yosemite Valley - El Capitan and Three Brothers
May 7, 2015 near Yosemit…, CA
The mighty Merced River.
May 7, 2015 near Yosemit…, CA
from the Yosemite Valley trails
Aug 4, 2019 near Yosemit…, CA
Yosemite Valley April 2015 snow storm.
Mar 13, 2016 near Yosemit…, CA
Yosemite Valley View
May 7, 2015 near Yosemit…, CA
The Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls
May 7, 2015 near Yosemit…, CA

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Check-Ins

Oct 26, 2022
Steve Smith
May 11, 2022
Donna Beall
Apr 30, 2022
Tilman Giese
Curry Village to Yosemite Lodge
Apr 29, 2022
Tilman Giese
Four Mile Trail to Curry Village
Dec 24, 2021
Ethan Alpert
6mi
Sep 4, 2021
C Brady
We did the half loop of the Valley Loop Trail with some detours. It was a pleasant hike with many great photo spots. No water at waterfalls in Sept.
Aug 21, 2021
Brenda Gonzalez
Apr 8, 2021
Charity Mozafari
4 stops 8 minute stop average