Yosemite National Park: Glacier Point via Four Mile Trail

Hike: Glacier Point
Where: Yosemite National Park
Trailhead: Four Mile Trail
Level: Strenuous
Duration: 5 hours
Length: 10 miles out and back
Gear: Icebreaker Tech T Lite, Triple Aught Design Artemis Hoodie, REI Sahara pants, Outdoor Research Essence Leggings, Mountain Hardwear Scrambler 30 pack, Black Diamond Ultra Distance trekking poles, and Salewa Alp Trainer Mid GTX boots
Cost of Parking: Free

Only have a day in Yosemite? Head up to Glacier Point to get the best bang for your buck. Unparalleled views of Yosemite Valley, front row seats to Half Dome and beyond await you at this magical spot.

You can access the point by car or by foot. The road to Glacier Point opens some point in May and closes in November after a good snowfall. But why make the twisty drive when you can take 3300’ of scenic switchbacks? The trail starts just off on the right of Southside Drive. If you’re at the Swinging Bridge parking lot, you’ve driven too far, but you can park there and take the Valley Loop trail to the Four Mile Trailhead.

Yosemite National Park: Glacier Point via Four Mile TrailYosemite National Park: Glacier Point via Four Mile Trail

The majority of elevation gain is in the first three and a half miles with just about 1000’ per mile. You’re greeted with a bird’s eye view of the valley you just drove through to get to the trailhead. In the last half mile or so to the top, the trail winds through a lovely forest of incense-cedar trees.

Yosemite National Park: Glacier Point via Four Mile TrailYosemite National Park: Glacier Point via Four Mile Trail

The name Four Mile Trail is deceiving; my GPS track put me at just under five miles to Glacier Point, with three miles to Union Point. The best time for this trail is when Glacier Point Road is closed, thereby reducing the screaming children and selfie-stick toting people at the top. From here, you can continue down to the Glacier Point Road parking area to access Taft Point or Sentinel Dome or head back down to the valley. I opted to go back; Thanksgiving dinner awaited.

Yosemite National Park: Glacier Point via Four Mile TrailYosemite National Park: Glacier Point via Four Mile TrailYosemite National Park: Glacier Point via Four Mile TrailYosemite National Park: Glacier Point via Four Mile Trail