Four Mile trail - downhill
Yosemite National park, ca
Four Mile trail - downhill
Distance: 4.3 miles (one way)
Elevation Loss: 3,687 feet
Seasonality: May - November (click here for season restrictions)
Trailhead: Two trailheads, but the recommended one is clearly marked just north of the Glacier Point Snack Stand & Gift Shop - see Trip Planner Details.
Parking: It's recommended that you shuttle to Glacier Point - see Trip Planner Details.
Facilities: Pit toilets at Glacier Point, potable water near the gift shop. No potable water on the trail.
The Four Mile Trail is well worth the difficulty because it allows you to see spectacular views of Half Dome from a lower elevation than at Glacier Point, but higher than you see in the Valley. There are also spectacular views of Yosemite Falls (lower and upper), North Dome, El Capitan, Cathedral Rocks, the Royal Arches, and a unique reverse view of Tunnel View. For the hiker that likes a challenge, and wants to see a lot in one hike, this hike offers it all.
Trip Planner Details:
The Four Mile Trail can be completed by taking a shuttle up to Glacier Point and hiking downhill back to your car, by hiking downhill and shuttling back up to Glacier Point to your car, or hiking up and back down in a single trip. Choosing how to hike this trail all depends on your abilities and your desired difficulty:
The least strenuous experience is taking a shuttle up to Glacier Point and hiking back down to Yosemite Valley to your car. One way shuttle tickets to Glacier Point can be purchased through the Yosemite Valley Lodge Tour and Activity Desk or online at www.travelyosemite.com.
For a moderately strenuous experience, you can hike from Yosemite Valley up to Glacier Point and take a shuttle back to the Valley (tickets can be purchased online, or at the Glacier Point Snack Shop).
The most strenuous experience is hiking from Yosemite Valley up to Glacier Point and back to the Valley (and vice versa). You won't need any shuttle tickets because you are hiking all the way to the top (or bottom) and then going back to where you began.
Parking is available in various parts of Yosemite Valley if you are hiking up and there is a medium sized parking lot at Glacier Point that fills up by mid morning if you are hiking down. Restrooms are available at the top of Glacier Point near the Snack Shop, and in the Valley (closest ones are near the Swinging Bridge).
There is a park entrance fee of $35 to enter Yosemite National Park. For more information about what else you can do in the park, visit the Yosemite National Park website.
When You Do Your Research:
Though it is called the four mile trail, it is actually longer than four miles (approx 4.38 from the Glacier Point trailhead to Southside Drive in Yosemite Valley, according to CalTopo), and if you stop at Union Point it adds another tenth of a mile. Hiking downhill typically expends less energy (therefore easier) than propelling yourself uphill, and you will see many reviews of the hike from both ways, so keep in mind which way the reviewer went when evaluating their review.
Tips From One Who Hiked It:
The switchbacks are frequent and very steep, so I highly recommend using hiking poles to save your knees and ankles. Bring plenty of water and start early in the day, as many parts of this trail are exposed.