El Capitan via Old Big Oak Flat Hike

Difficulty
This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
Hard
Duration
This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
6-8.5h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
15.8 km
Elevation
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
1,126 m
User Ratings
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Directions to Trailhead

The El Capitan via Old Big Oak Flat Hike is a challenging expedition in Yosemite that demands experience and an intrepid spirit. Climb up to the summit of El Capitan, one of the most famous rock features in the world. This immersive adventure exhibits the grandeur and beauty of Yosemite’s high country.

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Route Description for El Capitan via Old Big Oak Flat Hike

The El Capitan via Old Big Oak Flat Hike is a unique excursion that is reserved for experienced hikers who crave an adrenaline rush. Hike up through wildflower fields, snowmelt streams, and mixed pine forests up to the famous outcrop that overlooks Yosemite Valley. Note: this trek is best ventured in the late summer when the snowmelt streams have dried up, as you’ll be less likely to end up with wet feet! Additionally, a sturdy pair of footwear is a must, as much of the terrain is rocky and uneven. Pack plenty of water and charge your camera because the views from El Capitan are unparalleled. The National Park charges an entrance fee; refer to the NPS website for additional information.

Embark on your exciting excursion along the El Capitan via Old Big Oak Flat Hike from the trailhead off Big Oak Flat Road. Setting out from here, you will be guided northeast up the Old Big Oak Flat Road Trail up a set of switchbacks. This section of the trail wanders through wildflower fields and over several snowmelt streams. Eventually, you will reach an intersection at Coyote Creek, keeping right to be diverted south to another junction. Veer left here onto El Capitan Trail. This segment of your hike will be more shaded as you trek through mixed pine forests.

Follow this path east to the summit of El Capitan, where you will be joined by several other intrepid adventurers. Admire the grandeur of the landscape and revel in the knee-buckling views of the valley below, with the impressive Half Dome in the east. After resting and rehydrating, begin your return back to the trailhead, retracing your steps along the trail.

Getting to the El Capitan via Old Big Oak Flat Hike Trailhead

The El Capitan via Old Big Oak Flat Hike is accessed via the Old Big Oak Flat Road Trail off the Big Oak Flat Road.

Route Information

  • Backcountry Campground

    Backcountry Camping, Wilderness Permit Required.

  • When to do

    April-October

  • Pets allowed

    No

  • Family friendly

    No

  • Route Signage

    Average

  • Crowd Levels

    Moderate

  • Route Type

    Out and back

El Capitan via Old Big Oak Flat Hike Elevation Graph

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