Ah Yosemite -- let's just start with -- Thank you for just being amazing. Nothing refreshes your mindset and soul like the true beauty of what mother nature has given us. So, let me just say, that I have never been much of an "outdoorsy" person in my life until recently. I have enjoyed jumping off a plane from 18,000 feet near Sacramento, to hiking trails in Los Angeles, Marin County and now Yosemite.
Every time I go onto one of these adventures -- I get excited and adrenaline starts rushing through me like as if it were natures caffeine. Sorry, Starbucks but you can't compete here. Anyway, for all those adrenaline junkies -- you would definitely understand this feeling.
The coolest thing about this most recent hiking is that it was 1000% percent unplanned. Yes, didn't even consider it in advance nor was it pre-meditated. It was one of those days that was pretty much open and all I had to do was jump in the car and drive. That's what I did and the signs definitely proved I needed to be there.
Apparently I did not know that you had to pay to get into Yosemite (I know, go ahead and judge me for this) but there are fees required daily. Fortunately, for me (a sign was given -- perhaps coincidentally) where this day was free! September 22 is a "National Public Land's Holiday."
Here's a heads up if you're planning to visit Yosemite National Park throughout the year --there are four free days.
January 15 -- Martin Luther King Jr. Day
April 21 -- First Day of National Park Week
September 22 -- National Public Lands Day
November 11 -- Veterans Day
Another unplanned thing was the hiking. Not knowing which trail to choose and which would be best for you can be pretty difficult to choose if you're clueless as to which direction to choose. I, basically, just chose one and stuck with that. I ended up with the Four Mile Trail and let me tell you it wasn't easy. It's uphill and you're constantly pushing upward every step of the way.
The experience was phenomenal with other hikers that were in the area -- hiking up and hiking down. Happy, tired, in-shape and those just working their way through it -- the hiking magic was everywhere. Overall a great group enjoying nature with you.
So let's break down the Trail for the Four Mile Hike
The Four Mile trail is about 4.9 miles (7.7 km) one way heading to Glacier Point. Round trip is about 9.8 miles (15.5) in total. Elevation is 3,200 feet (975 Meters) elevation gain. The trail is not easy and can be strenuous for those hiking for the first time. If you think you can handle it -- I'd say go for it! Always push yourself to the next level!
Time one way might take around 3-4 hours but for the round trip it will be roughly in between 6-8 hours. Just depends on your Superman powers. The starting point of the trail is pretty much right in Yosemite Valley. You will start seeing the signs and cannot miss it. The start of the trail is flat and slowly starts getting rocky and hilly all the way.
The views are stunning and if you stop by to take photos (hopefully to catch a break like me) -- beautiful views await you.
Every break was worth it. Take your selfie, record the views, soak in the views and feed the bears. Jk don't do that.
Another pointer, this trail begins near the base of Sentinel Rock and climbs to the top of Yosemite Valley at Glacier Point. Spectacular views of Yosemite Valley, El Capitan, Yosemite Falls, and, eventually, Half Dome await those willing to tackle this trail (I believe in you! Make it happen and don't give up!)
The Four Mile Trail ends at Glacier Point, where restrooms and parking are available.
Getting back has options: you can choose to hike back to Yosemite Valley by reversing your route or by continuing on the Panorama Trail, which brings you to the Happy Isles Trailhead in another 8.5 miles (13.7 km).
You can get someone else to pick you up at the other end -- If you want to hike one way, Unfortunately, there is no free shuttle system between Glacier Point and Yosemite Valley. The park concessioner runs three daily guided bus tours that include a stop at Glacier Point. But, you can purchase a tour bus ticket from any tour desk to ride the bus to Glacier Point (hiking back to the Valley). If you don't want to drive around like I did (which I recommend for you to do so because nature is awesome) then, you should purchase this ticket in advance to guarantee your space, but advance tickets are only available if riding the bus from Yosemite Valley to Glacier Point. There is no way to guarantee space riding from Glacier Point to Yosemite Valley; tickets in this direction can only be purchased in cash from the bus driver if space is available. Surprisingly, September 22 was a Saturday and there wasn't much traffic to what I anticipated.
On my way to Yosemite Valley I couldn't help myself in stopping by to enjoy the running water of a small basin that other folks were enjoying on the side of the road. Keep and eye out for these small finds and stop by to enjoy them. Flying my drone was a difficult since there was not signal in my phone. (Probably a bad idea to fly your drone if you can't get signal. I almost landed mine in the water. Phew it didn't happen.) I however did fall in the water and it felt amazing with the 90 degree weather. Ah just perfect!
Get out there and bring a friend, family, your fur baby or go solo! The adventures are worth it. Mother nature can be intimidating but you can handle it! Oh, I didn't see any bears -- which I wanted to, but it didn't happen. Maybe next time. Let me know how your adventures goes! Comment and let me know. Happy Hiking!