It had been a while since I had a chance to explore Yosemite Valley. Because of this, I wanted to do something new. So, I took the opportunity to try a new hike: Eagle Peak, which is one of the lesser-hiked trails in Yosemite National Park.
This route, initially going up to Yosemite Falls and then past it, will eventually lead you to El Cap. I decided Eagle Peak was fine after doing the 22 miles up Mt. Whitney just a few days earlier.
Overall, it was a 12-mile hike, with a quick break at Yosemite Falls, before continuing throughout the forest on top of the plateau towards Eagle Peak.
All you need to know for the Eagle Peak Yosemite hike
Gear I recommend having to hike Eagle Peak Yosemite
The Eagle Peak Hike in Yosemite National Park
First, Up the Yosemite Falls Trail
To hike Eagle Peak, you start at the Upper Yosemite Falls Trailhead, which is near Camp 4 as well as Yosemite Valley Lodge. Here, you’ll begin the 3.5-mile trail to the top of Yosemite Falls. This portion is steep and exhausting, with much of it without any shade.
I recommend doing this earlier in the day, or the heat will punish you.
Once behind Yosemite Falls, the Eagle Peak hike flattens out. (Well, comparatively, even a pretty significant uphill would have been easier than the Yosemite Falls switchbacks.) Anyways, the trail meandered through a part of YNP that is rarely seen by the millions who visit every day.
I probably saw less than ten people the entire time back there, which is really surprising for a holiday weekend in the NPs.
With how much snow Yosemite received in 2019, there were a lot of knocked-down trees, which made the trail slightly harder to follow/I had to take a few roundabout ways to stick to the path.
Eventually, I reached my final junction: Up to Eagle Peak or continue to El Cap, which is another 2 miles away. As we all know, I chose up.
Reaching the top of Yosemite’s Eagle Peak hike
While the sign said 0.3 miles to Eagle Peak, it definitely felt longer as it was Up, Up, & Up. But finally, I was flying with the eagles (no actual eagles were seen, I will be writing a lengthy memo to the parks department).
At the peak, the views were outrageous.
To the left, you had Yosemite Falls barreling down. In the center, Clouds Rest and Half Dome. To the right, Nevada Falls and Glacier Point. Behind you, El Cap. Quite literally, you had every major Yosemite landmark in one photo.
The stunning views from Eagle Peak
I was blown away by the sight.
After spending close to an hour at the top of Eagle Peak overlooking Yosemite Valley and chatting with a few people, I began my 6-mile trek home.
I cruised through the forest area with no one slowing me down. However, once I reached the Yosemite Falls junction, the crowds reemerged, and I had to play frogger to get around people.
I did stop to get some long-exposure waterfall shots on the way down – something I’ve always wanted to do.
Wrapping up the Eagle Peak Hike
After reaching the bottom, I snuck into the Yosemite Lodge’s pool to rinse off.
Please, no judging.
I had slept in my car the night before and didn’t have a sleeping spot yet, so I needed a shower. I’m sure you needed some pass to get in, but I filled my hands with my stuff and acted as if I belonged.
I’d highly recommend the Eagle Peak hike as an add-on to Yosemite Falls. Start early to beat the crowds and the heat. The switchbacks up to the falls are usually in the sun, which can be brutal.
But all the effort and struggle are well worth it!
Common Questions about Hiking Eagle Peak in Yosemite
Can you camp at Eagle Peak Yosemite?
There’s no place to camp directly on the peak. However, there are places to camp below. If you’re interested in backpacking this region, which includes El Cap, I would highly recommend you jump at it!
How much Elevation Gain is at Eagle Peak?
The Eagle Peak hike has about 3,800 feet of elevation gain, with almost 3,000 of it happening as you climb your way up next to Yosemite Falls.
How tall is Eagle Peak?
The beautiful Eagle Peak sits at 7,750 feet in elevation. This is ~ 3,800 feet above the Yosemite Valley floor.
Can you pitch a tent anywhere in Yosemite?
No. All camping is done by permits or reservations inside the Yosemite National Park boundaries. Camping in established campgrounds is regulated, and you either have to reserve in advance or find an open spot by walking up.
What are some other good hikes in Yosemite Valley?
There are so many choices in addition to the Eagle Peak hike in Yosemite! Take a look at the below for some great options.
Until next time adventurers, take care and be safe.
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