One mile trail to Glacier Point
(The little used "ledge trail" is for hardcore Yosemite fans only)

12 May 2007 - by Steve Mckee

Fans of hiking in Yosemite know there is a finite number of trails to be taken up and out of the Valley. When I learned of this little known route up a ledge behind Camp Curry I knew my buddies and I had to check it out. Called the "One Mile Trail" and also the "Ledge Trail," it is hardly a "trail" and more of a designated general route up an always steep slope that involves using all four limbs about a third of the time.

The 5/30/98 description by David Harris and Tony Cruz was quite helpful and should be read by those interested in the route. Let me add my own notes on how to find this route.

First we went over by Yosemite Village (the opposite side of the valley from the route) in order to have a visual of where the darn thing was. It's highly recommended to do this in order to get the big picture. There is a sloping ledge (with trees and some scree) that angles up to the right above Camp Curry up about two thirds of the way up the valley wall. Then a little canyon cuts back to the left towards Glacier Point for the last third. Upon seeing it you'll wonder how this route up the wall was never noticed by you before now. It's a natural.

My buddy John and my eleven year old son began our hike about 9:30 by walking through Camp Curry past the cafeteria and heading straight up the forested slope. Some ducking and manuevering through brush was needed, but after a few hundred yards we met the slope of the steep granite and simply turned right to follow the ledge up hill along the base of the tall granite. It was a fairly foolproof way to find the trail.

For the next hour and half the hiking was a delight. The bushes were gone and we hiked up steep granite in the shade of the big cliff, occasionally needing the use of our arms for certain obstacles. Our perspective of Half Dome and Yosemite Falls changed as we ascended and eventually distant Nevada Falls came into view up Little Yosemite Valley. It was a perspective on that waterfall you'll never get anywhere else. A real delight.

I sensed we were probably the only ones on this so-called trail, probably true for the whole day.

We lunched at the point the ledge turns left up the small rock canyon that cuts back towards Glacier Point and then began another hour and a half of making our way up along a wimpy creek (Staircase Creek) lined with brush. It was mid May in a year with substandard snowfall so the snow in the canyon had already melted. The brush was mostly branches that had not bloomed yet which made it easier for us. If we had gone a month or more later in the year we would be hiking upward through robust bushes to a large degree. Not my favorite part of the trip. The occasional orange or yellow paint trail markers were quite helpful. We topped out at the valley rim and joined the last quarter mile or so of the Four Mile trial to finish at Glacier Point where, of course the solitude was replaced by busloads of people speaking numerous different languages. It's all good; Glacier Point is so amazing that it really should belong to the entire world.

Don't even think about returning to the valley via the trail you took up, it's too steep to be enjoyable. Take the Four Mile Trail down. All in all, including our stops, the hike up and back took about seven hours.

You will have done something fairly unique: hiked an almost "secret" route in the midst of one of the most well-known hiking places in all the world.


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