Easy Walks In Yosemite National Park

Many visitors to Yosemite do not venture beyond the valley floor which is a great shame because the most spectacular sights in the park and much of the wonderful wildlife can be experienced only by walking one of the splendid trails on offer. Not every visitor is willing or physically able to tackle a challenging hike but there are several walks in the park which are short and undemanding enough for the majority of travellers to enjoy. If you are vising Yosemite here are the easy trails that are well worth tackling even if the longer routes are beyond you.

Mirror Lake

Mirror Lake is a gorgeous expanse of water beneath the majestic Half Dome peak which reflects an image of the iconic mountain. The volume of water varies from season to season and by late summer the lake can be almost completely dry. Best visited during spring and early summer, Mirror Lake can be reached via a short walk from the free shuttle bus stop on the valley loop road. There is a network footpaths around the lake to enjoy with no inclines to tackle and stunning vistas in every direction. This is a marvellous place to take a stroll and to enjoy a picnic in the glorious sunshine.

Lower Yosemite Falls

The Lower Yosemite Falls are a short stroll on level ground from the valley road and only a few hundred yards from the visitor centre. Again the waters can run dry by the end of the summer but whilst the falls are flowing they are a dramatic sight. The more adventurous visitor can clamber around the rocks at the foot of the cascade and even swim in the many rock pools but be warned the water is chilly! This is one of the best known and most photographed areas in the park and so unless you get an early start you will find the falls to be fairly crowded all day.

The Lower Mist Trail

Tackling the entire Mist Trail is a serious undertaking with steep ascents and rocky terrain but the lower portion is relatively tame. There are significant uphill portions on the route but nothing too testing and the rewards are great when you arrive at the bridge over the river to get your first sight of Vernal Falls. If you are up to it then continue to the falls themselves and enjoy the cooling effects of the spray otherwise turn back at the bridge for an easy walk down to the valley floor. This short hike will give you a real flavour of the park beyond the crowded valley. The trailhead can be reached by catching the free shuttle to the Happy Isles which are also an easy place to ramble around wooded areas and streams.

The further and higher you walk in Yosemite, the more spectacular the landscapes and so it is worth challenging yourself to some of the trails. The longer iconic hikes like the Mist Trail, Panorama Trail and the Four Mile Trail may be a little too daunting but you can test the water with three great walks to get a taste of the glorious Yosemite National park.