Four Mile Trail

Distance: 4.8 miles (7.5 km) one way | Elevation at Trailhead: 4,000 feet (1,200 m) | Glacier Point Elevation: 7,200 feet (2,200 m) | Elevation Gain: 3,200 feet (975 meters)
Date Visited: 11.07.12

Beginning on the Valley floor, the Four Mile trail climbs 3,200 ft upwards over 4.8 miles of switchbacks to the top of Glacier Point. Considered one of Yosemite’s most stunning and rigorous hikes–it’s been likened to a “three hour long stairmaster session”–this hike offers remarkable views, from a reverse tunnel view to the iconic view of Half Dome.

I started the hike a little after 7 AM–I hitched a ride with a park employee, Anna, to the trailhead–and climbed the mountain alone and in silence; I only saw one other hiker during my way up. Since it was autumn, Yosemite Falls, which was one of the would-be highlights of the hike, had dried up for the season. Still, hiking on a beautiful autumn day in the off-season can’t be beat and it’s an unforgettable hike that only improves as you climb higher and higher: the crisp mountain air, rising and warming sun, parting of redwoods and pines to reveal new views, and looking down at the dizzying heights down below to see how far you’ve climbed is an exhilarating experience. The trail finally reaches Glacier Point, which offers some of the most beautiful panoramas of Yosemite Valley.

Hiking the Four Mile Trail was the most peaceful, beautiful, and tranquil experience of my life; one of those experiences you wish you could live in.

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