One of the best ways to see Yosemite is on two legs, so we asked an expert to come up with a list of good hikes. Adrienne Parks, a ranger at Yosemite National Park since 2003, offers her Top 5 day hikes.
1. Gaylor Lakes Details: Moderate. Elevations above 9,000 feet. Two miles round-trip; two hours. 500-foot elevation gain.
Trailhead: Tioga Pass Entrance Station. Rewarding views.
Why: "A glorious way to see the true high country," Parks said.
2. Mariposa Grove Details: Moderate. Six miles to the Grizzly Giant (in the Mariposa Grove).
Trailhead: Behind the Wawona Hotel's Moore Cottage. Trailhead marked by the sign "Two Hour Trail Ride." Free Wawona-Mariposa Grove shuttle bus back to Wawona.
Why: "Walking through the giant sequoias is the perfect way to see them," Parks said.
3. Wawona Meadow
Details: Easy. 3.5 mile-loop; two hours.
Trailhead: At the Wawona Hotel.
Why: "One of my favorites, because you can take [leashed] dogs on it."
4. Mist Trail Details: Strenuous. Three miles to Vernal Fall; 7 miles to Nevada Falls, with about a 1,000- to 2,000-foot elevation gain along the Merced River canyon. Trailhead: Happy Isles. Accessible only by shuttle bus, Stop 16.
Why: "It's the classic waterfalls; it's the classic river slot canyon."
5. Wapama at Hetch Hetchy
Details: Moderate. Five miles round-trip; two hours.
Trailhead: O'Shaughnessy Dam to the base of Wapama Falls, passing two smaller waterfalls (during spring) on the way.
Why: It's an area that's becoming popular, but it's still not as popular as the Valley. "It's a great one for early season or late season."