Guidebook

6 Classic Trail Runs in the Yosemite Valley

Six tough routes in Yosemite Valley that showcase the valley’s waterfalls, monoliths, and jaw-dropping beauty

Description

These six routes in the Yosemite Valley are classics. Full stop. Each of them is a difficult, challenging trail that climbs steeply up from the valley floor and traverses past the most iconic monoliths and waterfalls in the US. The routes offer strenuous climbing, many switchbacks, and equally breathtaking views across the valley to Half Dome, North Dome, El Capitan, Sentinel Dome, Yosemite Falls, Vernal Falls, and Nevada Falls.

These trails are better known for hiking and are, subsequently, popular. That said, trail runners will relish in the great balance of singletrack, aesthetic, and brutal challenge of steep climbing followed by high-speed descent.

These routes vary in distance and duration and, as most of them are out-and-back, can be shortened if needed. That said, these six runs provide variety for a short rip out on the trails up to a full-day adventure. For those seeking a long day, Clouds Rest Trail may be one of the greatest trails to run in Yosemite National Park. In addition to providing long-distance and lots of climbing, the Clouds Rest Trail offers a special opportunity to peer down into the sacred Tenaya Canyon. One other piece of information to keep in mind is that the Half Dome route requires a permit. Therefore, runners should plan ahead if hoping to run on Half Dome. That said, if a permit is not acquired, both Clouds Rest Trail and Mist Trail offer alternates that climb up some of the same trails.

If you have a few days in the valley, running all of these routes would offer a well-rounded perspective of Yosemite Valley and its many natural gems.

Half Dome
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Half Dome

Yosemite National Park
24.0 km
1,711 m
1,711 m
A long day out to the summit of one of the most iconic mountains in the world.
Severe
Private
Mist Trail to Vernal and Nevada Falls
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Mist Trail to Vernal and Nevada Falls

Yosemite National Park
11.5 km
753 m
752 m
A stunning trail run up steep climbs, passing close to Vernal and Nevada Falls.
Difficult
Private
Four Mile Trail
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Four Mile Trail

Yosemite National Park
17.2 km
1,094 m
1,094 m
A great out-and-back offering views across Yosemite Valley.
Difficult
Private
Yosemite Falls
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Yosemite Falls

Yosemite National Park
12.0 km
1,089 m
1,088 m
Out-and-back route to reach Yosemite Falls (the lower, middle, and upper falls).
Difficult
Private
Sentinel Dome
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Sentinel Dome

Yosemite National Park
3.6 km
161 m
161 m
An out-and-back from Glacier Point Road to the summit of Sentinel Dome.
Moderate
Private
Clouds Rest
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Clouds Rest

Yosemite National Park
34.5 km
2,037 m
2,037 m
A great full-day trail-run along a premier route high above the Yosemite Valley.
Severe
Private