One Mile Trail

30 May 1998 - by David Harris

Laurie Price and your scribe David Harris went exploring the One Mile Trail to Glacier Point from Yosemite Valley. We'd gathered lots of useful route info from PCS members and will combine the info in this trip report. The One Mile Trail, aka Ledge Trail, starts at Curry Village and ascends the prominent ledge from left to right beneath Glacier Point. It was evidently an official trail at one point and was closed due to an avalanche in the 60's; it remains fairly well marked with paint on rocks. To find the trail, start at the Curry Village hamburger stand and walk toward the cliffs of Glacier Point. You'll head up the hill, which eventually turns into a steep dirt wash. The wash terminates on the leftmost end of a broad (50' wide) overgrown ledge sloping up across the face of Glacier Point. Traces of the old trail, marked with orange and yellow paint, cut an easy path through the brush, headed west. The ledge terminates at the top of Staircase Falls and the route zigs back to the left up a 25-30 degree canyon containing Staircase Creek. Along the way, you pass a sign saying trail closed and warning of slick rock. The top of Staircase Falls offers the best viewing angle on Yosemite Falls of any place in the valley. The final canyon with Staircase Creek was filled with several feet of snow in perfect condition for kicking steps. When the snow is gone, the chute is evidently class 2-3; the rest of the trail is class 1-2. The path emerges a few hundred yards from Glacier Point. After enjoying the spectacular and secluded views from Glacier Point, we descended to Nevada Falls and out to Happy Isles. Thanks to everyone who sent me information about this remarkable route. Tony Cruz adds:

My family camped a few yards away from the Merced River in the Houskeeping area near Curry Villiage over the holiday weekend. I tried the One Mile Trail on July 3. You can spot the route from the meadow across from Curry Villiage on the road toward Yosemite Villiage. There is an angled ledge filled with vegetation that ends at a cascade.

I didn't get to sleep until 2 a.m. the night before, so I was late for my 7 a.m. rendezvous with three PCSers that wanted to join us. They set off ahead us and we had breakfast at the Curry Villiage Cafeteria. I set off at about 8:30 a.m. with my 9 year old daughter and a 17 year old friend ofmy son. We hiked directly toward the canyon wall from the cafeteria past several tent cabins. It took us until early afternoon to make the 3,000 foot hike on a beautiful clear day. My most anxious moment was watching my kid cross the cascade. From there we climbed the gully, which was almost entirely free of snow and muddy (note in Dave Harris' attached report that he was able to kick steps in the snow from this point in May). The effort involved in hiking this "trail" was comparable to that required to bag some Sierra peaks and it was well worth it. The views of Yosemite Falls were glorious indeed. And the SOUND of the water exploding down the canyon wall was amazing. We saw no one else on the trail. We made it to Glacier Point and I elected to hike down 4.4 mile trail, since I had never taken it and I had already taken the trail to Happy Isles on previous trips.

By the way, I drove up to Toulomne Meadows, which was surprisingly free of snow. Tioga Pass was opened July 1, I think.

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