View Full Version : April in Yosemite

22-Nov-2006, 08:19
I am planning one week Yosemite trip in April, dayhiking mostly but also thinking about half-dome in 2 days.

Any suggestion about hikes, campgrounds?


22-Nov-2006, 09:11
My favorites:

Glacier Point to Yosemite Valley. A classic. Take the bus up to Glacier Point. If you really need a workout, hike the route in reverse. Yowza!

Happy Ilses to the top of Nevada Falls, via a loop.

Upper Yosemite Falls. You don't need to go all the way to the top. The trail disappears around the wall of the falls near the top. You can't see the falls anymore at that point.

I haven't done the 4-mile trail yet, but hear it shouldn't be missed.

Mirror Lake and beyond, via a loop. Lot's of people up to the Lake, but they're gone beyond the Lake.

I always stay at Camp 4. It's cheap. However, it's first come, first served. You had better get in line by 6:00am if you want a spot. Otherwise, you'd better make your reservations for a reservable campground ASAP. Upper Pines, Lower Pines, etc., they all look the same to me.

April is a great time. Everything is green and fresh, and the falls will be booming.

John Kasaian
22-Nov-2006, 09:13
In April the falls should be cooking nicely and the mosquitos may or may not be out in force (yet) The Valley would be the place to be---Tioga Pass will very likely still be closed.

Glacier Point would be one hike to put on your list as would the trail that tops out at Yosemite Falls. Couple these with the Half Dome hike and you'll likely be very, very tired. My favorite campground in the valley is the Housekeeping Camp (Camp 16) Book a riverview cabin-oid if possible. The pizza at Degnan's rocks. The bar at Yosemite Lodge is delightful. The cappuccino joint at Camp Curry is open early and conveniently on your way to the Happy Isles trailhead.

In April you may want to put Mariposa Grove on your list. Mariposa Grove is beautiful 24/7 but the public lavatories get more and more noxious as the season progresses, In April the lavatories should still be fit for human use----now that would make a not-to-be-missed photo-op! ;)

Ron Marshall
22-Nov-2006, 09:31
Last year we were there in early April. The upper portions of many trails were still snow covered. The two mile road into Maripsoa Grove was mostly snow covered.

The falls were incredible. It was surprisingly busy in the valley, but most of the trails were sparsely populated. Don't miss Mirror lake.

Eric James
22-Nov-2006, 11:25
The 4-Mile Trail is a gem but in April the portion beyond Sentinel Rock can be snow covered - I had snow above my waist in late May one year. The Backpackers Camp by Curry Village is a peaceful option but you have to have a backcountry permit (coming or going).

I'm not sure when they put the cables up on Half Dome but it would surprise me if they are up in April. Actually the "cables" are always there but during the warmer months the Park Service installs vertical steel posts and wooden planks to make the going easier. In this picture you can see the cables without the posts and planks; consider camping in the sunlit area. Once again - April will look very different but this is a cool position!


Have fun!

Keith S. Walklet
22-Nov-2006, 12:36
Last two weeks of April, first two weeks of May, the dogwood is typically in bloom in Yosemite Valley.

Glacier Point Road typically doesn't open until around Memorial Day. It can open earlier in a low snow year, but normally, it and the Tioga Road are targeted to open around the same time (about mid-June).

As Eric mentions, the top half of the 4-mile trail might be covered in snow (it goes to Glacier Point) at that time of year.

But, the trail to the top of Yosemite Falls, and the Mist Trail by Vernal and Nevada will give you enough to look at in the way of waterfalls.

Eric's also right that the cables are always there on Half Dome, but not "up" as in supported off the rock until later in the year (roughly mid-June to first week of October).

A friend and I made the hike to the top on April 1 in a low snow year and hauled ourselves up via the cables, which were exposed, lying on the rock. The last 100 feet or so was a little unnerving, as they were buried beneath the snow pack and we had to pick a route across the exposed rock face.

Ansel made his famous Monolith image in March by hiking up the Grizzly Creek gully with his wife Virginia and friends. Lots of post holing on that adventure as well.

So, if it is April, my suggestion is later April for more options. If you're their earlier, you'll have wildflowers to play with down in the Merced River Canyon, just outside the park boundary.

5-Dec-2006, 16:00
For day hikes:

Valley Loop Trail, if you want a long, flat hike. The whole thing is somewhere around 17 miles, but you can make it shorter by shortcutting on other trails.

Upper Yosemite Falls Trail: this one is great at night, especially under a full moon. The first time I hiked it was on New Year's Eve 1999.

Panorama Trail Loop: go up the 4-mile trail, then take the Panoram trail to the top of Nevada Falls, then down the Mist Trail. This one's a bit sketchy when temperatures are below freezing (water runs across the trail in a few spots); but the views are amazing.

Snow Creek Loop: hike up the Upper Falls Trail, then hike along the rim to the Snow Creek Trail. If you time it right, you can hike down into the Valley during the sunset. A truly amazing view of Half Dome... Once on the Valley floor, it's an easy hike back to civilization.

And if the roads are still snow-covered; check out the Glacier Point Road. Out to GP and back is a really long ski trip, but you can always turn around earlier. Or just go out to Dewey Point. That has a great view of the 'Gates Of The Valley'.

Eric James
6-Dec-2006, 00:27
The Panorama is a great hike - not too sure that I'd want to do it in April with a big rig but as a hiking experience it is top notch, as F'ueco suggests.

The Snow Creek Loop skirts past North Dome if I remember - it's a long dayhike, Valley to Valley, but doing it with camping gear could make for a long two days. Along the way you'll pass a trail that will take you to the top of North Dome - it's an extra 2-4 miles RT but the views of the Quarter Domes and Half Dome from the North Dome summit are worth the effort.

Don't pass on the short hikes. E.g., I think that the scramble to the base of the Lower YOS Falls has big pay offs for the little investment in time and energy. It's more fun later in the season when the water level allows you to take any of a dozen paths; things can be pretty darn wet in the spring, but the situation there at the pool is sweet.