Hike the El Capitan Trail

Details

Distance

15 miles

Elevation Gain

5662 ft

Route Type

Out-and-Back

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The El Capitan Trail is a 15 mile hike in Yosemite National Park that drops you off at the top of El Capitan, offering stunning views of Taft Point, Dewey Point, Half Dome, Clouds Rest, and North Dome. The hike is difficult but rewarding, offering views that can hardly be matched anywhere else. The trail is best used from May through October or early November, depending on snow levels.

Start on the Yosemite Falls trailhead and work your way up. Yosemite Falls can be anywhere from a huge flow to a slow trickle depending on the time of year. Hiking boots are absolutely necessary and hiking poles are a huge benefit. Say hello to rock climbers at the top as they finish their El Cap route. 

Bring mosquito repellent in the summer. Bring lots of extra water and wear layers - even in the summer, weather in the Sierras is notorious for changing quickly. Be sure to watch your time - in October, start your descent no later than 2pm so you are in the valley by nightfall. 

Additionally, while El Capitan has jaw-dropping views from the top, Eagle Peak is simply unbeatable. If you have the time, it's definitely worth the extra mile to summit. The trail changes from approximately ~15 miles to ~18 with the Eagle Peak summit. 

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Know for

Fitness
Rock Climbing
Camping
Photography
Running
Backpacking
Hiking
Easy Parking
Forest
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildflowers
Wildlife

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Reviews

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Awesome day hike

Fantastic hike with a great variety of terrains and amazing views. Start early for the best experience (Yosemite Falls gets busy from late morning). Take in Eagle Peak (better views of the valley) on the way. El Capitan itself was the highlight though. The route up is spectacular too. 8-9 hrs if you’re reasonably fit.

110 total saves

5.0/5

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.

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