Snow Creek Trail - A Yosemite Day Hike Gem
Connor · Southern California · December 19, 2020
Snow Creek Trail (SCT) was amazing to say the least. I've hiked Upper Yosemite Falls twice and am in the camp that SCT is tougher but I'd argue the views from the SCT are better than that of the Upper Yosemite Falls trail. This was one of my bucket list hikes due to the praised views and all the hype surrounding how difficult it is.
We hiked in November 2020 so the ground was snow-covered at the rim and we turned around at the trail junction before the footbridge. Unfortunately we couldn't find the opening that Russ mentioned in his description but we certainly didn't complain with the views we had where the trail leveled. Trail conditions were fine; we brought some traction cleats but didn't need them and even this late into the year most of our hike was in the sun.
Due to COVID the shuttles weren't running so we parked in the day use lot near Happy Isles. We walked/hiked 11.92 miles round trip but the only serious uphill portion of this hike was the 1.7 miles from the Mirror Lake Loop to the rim but don't be deceived! Could be the toughest 1.7 miles you've hiked. Bring plenty of water - I had a 2+ litter CamelBak with a couple of extra water bottles on the side.
The views of Half Dome from the trail and the top are amazing plus it's great seeing the granite monolith from an angle not many folks see. Additionally it's the only place I can think of where Half Dome is visible from ground level all the way to the top of the 2,600' cliff. This was worth the price of admission.
In closing, I would hike this again in a heartbeat and search for the opening Russ mentioned. This hike is also a great option while the falls aren't at their fullest. And definitely pat yourself on the back after finishing this hike; if you can hike the SCT, you could probably hike just about any day hike in Yosemite (maybe train a little extra for Half Dome or Clouds Rest from the Valley).
Dark Side of the Moon
AnotherDave · Nebraska · March 2, 2014
Find this trail on a hiking map. Notice that it is far, far away from the other, more heavily trodden tracks in the park? This means one thing - Nobody can hear you scream.
Prior to setting off, you have two choices: 1) Bring mass quantities of water (and weight) or 2) Travel light and guzzle from the stream atop the cliff. Neither of these options works.
From floor to rim, this trail is a meat grinding series of switchbacks. The heat exhaustion and hallucinations begin after the first couple dozen turns. Virtual rattlesnakes hang from every tree branch and boulders become beer kegs, as empty and dry as the dust burning your eyes. Intermittent shade offers little relief. Glimpses of the hulking mass of Half Dome barely register to your char-broiled brain.
Knowledge that this would be a terrible place to die propel the hiker onward, and gaining the summit provides a gateway to North Dome, the natural arch and various other majestic landmarks. Fully rehydrated, the adventure continues. After all, brain cells are overrated.
Best kept secret trail
Elizabeth · Fresno · January 15, 2014
Love this trail. I've never passed more than four or five people when I've hiked it and I've hiked it in all seasons, from Tenaya Canyon to the Snow Creek Cabin. It offers a unique view of not only Half Dome, but of Tenaya Canyon. Yes, it's more difficult than Four Mile and Upper Yosemite Falls, but worth every step. Take time to go out to the rim for lunch and to see the charming Snow Creek Bridge. The hike in from the shuttle stop makes this hike longer than indicated on this website.