By Jordan Nicholson
(Barbara Davidson/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
Tourists enjoy the view at Glacier Point in California’s Yosemite National Park.
Papers and projects are piling up, and pretty soon the library will be filled to the rim with students buckling down for midterms. Tensions will be high, but what better way to brush those midterm blues off your shoulder than by taking a hike?
Now that spring is upon us, it’s time to start thinking big. Trail runs are great, but I’m talking about all day hikes that take you to new heights, which is why I am recommending the Four Mile Trail to Glacier Point in Yosemite National Park.
This trail is one of my favorites in the park. You could take the easy way and drive the one mile up to Glacier Point from the main road, but if you want to feel like an outdoor pro, which I suspect you do, the hike is better.
You’ll find some relatively difficult elevation gain and many switchbacks, but the view at the top and along the way is amazing, making it completely worth the sweat. The trail is wide as well which is a plus.
I once hiked this trail through the night, starting at 2 a.m., and made my way up the trail as the sun rose, and reached the top of Glacier Point at around 6 a.m.
The night hike allows you to utilize that headlamp you’ve had stashed in your garage for a while, and it is all worth it when the sun rises, and the dramatic silhouette of Half Dome, with the morning sun, gives you that extra boost of happiness you’ll need for the hike back down.
The overnight hike was my favorite, but of course feel free to hike it during the day as well. It’s called the Four Mile Trail because it’s four miles to the top. Round trip it’s about 9.4 miles.
The amazing thing about this trail is that it runs parallel with El Capitan, so once you’ve gained a decent amount of elevation, you can look to your left and see the great granite wall beside you, giving you that extra push to keep going. You are also able to see Yosemite Falls in all of its grandeur.
To get to this trail, travel north on Highway 41 to the gate of Yosemite and turn left and drive down to the valley floor. Continue straight down the road in the valley until you get to the Swinging Bridge on your left. The trailhead is just before that parking lot, so park there and walk back to the trailhead.
Enjoy this hike. It’ll get your blood pumping for sure. Whether you plan to hike it during the day or through the night, be sure to wear sturdy shoes, pack plenty of water and a lunch. If you want to hike it at night, be sure to pack a headlamp and an extra layer of clothing.
Also a little added bonus, you can pick something up at the store at the top of the hike like ice cream.
This hike is great for groups, so be sure to grab a few friends from their study groups, get an early start and enjoy the day.
Duration: 2 to 3.5 hours (one way)
Elevation Gain: 3,200 feet (from valley floor)
Skill Level: Moderate to advanced