Drive the Yosemite Valley Loop


Added by Moe Lauchert

Pull off at the numerous hikes and trailsShort driving distanceScenic viewsEasy access to the grocery store in the parkWildlife

Upon entering Yosemite Valley National Park I made it a point to see Half Dome, El Capitan, and Washington Column and several other famous Yosemite formations. What I didn't realize was as soon as I entered The Village was that all could be seen within a 15 minute loop around the valley floor. There was plenty of space to park and obviously an abundance of trailheads to hike down.

During the drive, I pulled over and ended up taking 4-Mile Trail which leads to a face view of Half Dome. It was strenuous to say the least, especially with camera gear. The loop does a good job of showing some highlights of Yosemite for someone without a lot of time on hand or with a group of new hikers. There are easy to Moderate trails and great views from any vantage point. There isn't any cell service so plan accordingly.

The stops I made were Half Dome, North Dome, Washington Column, Cathedral Rock, El Capitan, Bridalveil Fall, 4-Mile Trail, and Camp 4 all within 5 hours.

Read More

Known for

Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Food Nearby
Picnic Area



Leave a Review

Great way to see the park

A great way to expereince the park, but would recommend going hiking as well! I know some people who only come here for the drive

Just a starting point to the Yosemite adventure

Wherever you place yourself in Yosemite, the views and the surrounding scenery are going to be amazing. I find though that driving around is only just to get acquainted with the place and would only recommend it for the beginning of your visit in order to get an initial view and maybe locate some spots, services or trail heads. Otherwise, it is far far better to walk or cycle, without the hassle of having to park, get in and out of the car etc.

Surprisingly uncrowded

We did this at the end of February and it was surprisingly uncrowded. There was lots of parking on the sides of the roads and it was easy to find space to take pictures!


I love all of Moe's suggestons here. This is a beautiful drive! So many pull offs and insane views. A must do in Yosemite.

19 total saves


Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

Nearby Adventures

Swim at Rainbow Pools


Bouldering at Columbia College

Hike the Merced Grove

3.3190582774493156 mi / 600 ft gain

Hike the Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias

2.5 mi / 500 ft gain
More Nearby Adventures