Distance: 13 miles (21 km) round trip
Trailhead Elevation: 8,500 feet (2,550 meters)
Glen Aulin Elevation: 7,900 feet (2,400 meters)
Total Elevation Change: 600 feet (180 meters)
The red line marks the route of the Glen Aulin trail, from the trailhead at the north edge of Tuolumne Meadows to our nominal trail's end at White Cascade and the Glen Aulin High Sierra Camp. This stretch is 5.3 miles (8.5 km) one way. It descends gradually along the same basic route as the Tuolumne River, crossing it twice. There are bridges for both crossings.
There are two main routes to the official trailhead. The first, marked by the yellow line, starts from the Tuolumne Meadows central trailhead and crosses the scenic Tuolumne River bridge. It's half a mile (0.8 km) long. If you start from here, you'll find parking along the shoulders of the road. This trailhead is easy to find; it's just east of the Tuolumne Meadows Visitor Center and west of the cafeteria & outdoors store.
The second route to the trail, starting from the eastern end of Tuolumne Meadows, is marked by the green and blue lines. The blue line is the road to the Tuolumne Meadows Stables. There's a day-use-only parking lot at the beginning of the road, which is where the Dog Lake trail begins. There's also parking along the shoulders of the road most of the way to the stables. Once you've parked, take one of the green trails to the official Glen Aulin trail. The light green trail, which takes you through Tuolumne Meadows to the official Glen Aulin trailhead near Soda Springs, is the more scenic option. The dark green trail starts at the stables and takes you through the woods to join the Glen Aulin trail already in progress.
If you get an early start and you're in good shape, consider continuing downstream from Glen Aulin (along the trail marked in orange), where you'll find three waterfalls spaced roughly a mile apart - California, Le Conte, and Waterwheel, respectively. Downstream past the falls the trail descends farther into the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne, eventually climbing to the south rim of the canyon just upstream from Hetch Hetchy Reservoir.