Yosemite Valley to Tenaya Lake Hike

Difficulty
This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
Very 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.
9-12.5h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
22.0 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.
1,783 m
User Ratings
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Directions to Trailhead

Challenge yourself along the Yosemite Valley to Tenaya Lake Hike. This epic one-way adventure into Yosemite’s high country boasts unparalleled panoramas of the granite peaks that so famously characterize the National Park.

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Route Description for Yosemite Valley to Tenaya Lake Hike

The Yosemite Valley to Tenaya Lake Hike is a demanding one-way trek that will put your endurance and determination to the test. Tackle this trail as a challenging day hike or an epic overnight expedition. Either way, you will be rewarded with sweeping panoramas of Yosemite Valley and the dramatic peaks of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. Preparation and experience are necessary, so make sure you are properly equipped. As this is a point-to-point excursion, don’t forget to leave a car near the trail’s end at the Clouds Rest Trailhead off Tioga Pass Road. Note: the National Park charges an entrance fee; check out the NPS website for additional information.

Your journey along the Yosemite Valley to Tenaya Lake Hike begins at the Mist Trailhead. From here, track the John Muir Trail south along the Merced River and across the Vernal Fall Footbridge. Once you reach an intersection, keep left onto the Mist Trail and carefully ascend the vertiginous terrain along the profile of Vernal Falls to make your way up to Emerald Pool. Continue along the Mist Trail up to Nevada Falls, which is another mesmerizing cascade. Here, you will reach an intersection and veer left to be diverted onto the John Muir Trail.

Wander along this route to the northeast alongside the Merced River and up into Little Yosemite Valley. Here, the path will guide you up a set of intense switchbacks and along Sunrise Creek. You will soon merge onto the Forsyth Trail, before connecting with the Clouds Rest Trail. Follow this route all the way back to the Clouds Rest Trailhead, marking the end of your adventure.

Getting to the Yosemite Valley to Tenaya Lake Hike Trailhead

The John Muir Trail: Yosemite Valley to Tenaya Lake departs from the Mist Trailhead off Happy Isle Loop Road.

Route Information

  • Backcountry Campground

    Backcountry Camping, Wilderness Permit Required.

  • When to do

    May-October

  • Pets allowed

    No

  • Family friendly

    No

  • Route Signage

    Average

  • Crowd Levels

    Low

  • Route Type

    One Way

Yosemite Valley to Tenaya Lake Hike Elevation Graph

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Yosemite Valley to Tenaya Lake Hike Reviews

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