Pacific Crest Trail, Yosemite National Park Hiking

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Pacific Crest Trail

The Pacific Crest Trail is on the top of North America’s list of hiking trails, with over 75 miles within Yosemite National Park, exposing you to all the park’s wonders.

  • Pacific Crest Trail Yosemite offers some incredible scenery along with great hiking
  • The trail is 79.4 miles within Yosemite from point to point
  • Park in Tuolumne Meadows or Yosemite Valley
  • Hike from Yosemite Valley to Half Dome in about 6 hours
  • Best time to hike: from late July through August


Although the Pacific Crest Trail extends all the way from the Mexican border to the Canadian border (2,650 miles), some of the finest sections of trail go through Yosemite National Park, from the Donohue Pass in the southern part to Dorothy Lake Pass at the northern border.

All the sections in Yosemite range from moderate to strenuous, with the John Muir Trail overlapping for much of the distance.


You can access the Pacific Crest Trail CA at the Tuolumne Meadows trailhead at the Lembert Dome parking area west of Tioga Road in Yosemite National Park. From here you can head in either direction.


  • Distance – 79.4 miles within Yosemite
  • Average Time of Hike – 6 to 10 days for the route start to end
  • Elevation Gain – 3,020 feet
  • Difficulty – Strenuous
  • Trail Type – Point to point (Donohue Pass to Dorothy Lake Pass)

Below are some shorter segments of the California Pacific Crest Trail you may like to hike when in Yosemite National Park.

Yosemite Valley to Half Dome

  • Distance – 8.2 miles
  • Average Time of Hike – 6 hours
  • Elevation Gain – 4,800 feet
  • Difficulty –Strenuous
  • Trail Type – One-way

Tuolumne Meadows to Yosemite Valley

  • Distance – 21.2 miles
  • Average Time of Hike – 3 days
  • Elevation Gain – 2,790 feet
  • Difficulty – Moderate
  • Trail Type – One-way

Plan & Prepare

Pacific Crest Trail California is best navigated in late July through August. You can find long-term park in Yosemite for the length of your hiking adventure for no additional fee. You may park at Tuolumne Meadows or in Yosemite Valley.

Remember, bears are prolific in the park, and you are required to use bear canisters for storing food and scented items, such as toiletries. This includes through-hikers on the Pacific Crest Trail.

For hiking in the backcountry, you’ll need a valid permit. You can get one at your point of entry to the trail when hiking in Yosemite. If you get your permit for through-hiking from the Pacific Crest Trail Association, you will need to get a separate permit from Yosemite if you are going to ascend the Half Dome cables.