Hiking the Smith Peak Trail in Yosemite National Park

View from Smith Peak in Yosemite National Park


12.6 miles
7,751 feet
3389 feet
Out & Back


My first visit to Yosemite!  Finally making there in April after 50 years and plan on hiking to the summit of Smith Peak.  Trail details:

Smith Peak Trail is a 12.6 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Yosemite Valley, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is best used from April until September.

Smith Peak Trail in Yosemite National Park (image courtesy AllTrails.com)

Go to AllTrails.com where they have a really cool interactive map.  Move the cursor on the trail and it tells you the actual elevation at every point along the trail.  Neat!


by SummitPost

Smith Peak, located on the south side of Hetch Hetchy Resevoir in Yosemite National Park (YNP), is the highest peak in the Hetch Hetchy area and a great place to enjoy this now submerged “other Yosemite Valley.” The sheer rock walls of Yosemite granite offer a much different view when filled by water as opposed to grass, trees, and cars. A bonus is that the summit offers a multitude (about 10?) of great campsites that are much more inviting for overnight stays than the summits of say Half Dome, Clouds Rest, or Mount Dana. Two reasons to do this hike are: (1) a reason to visit Hetch Hetchy and (2) the ability to get the entire summit (if you’re lucky) for a reasonably large group on an overnight trip.

There is one primary hiking trail from Cottonwood Meadows to the summit. You can reach Cottonwood Meadows from either the Hetch Hetchy Entrance Station (at 4,600′ and 7.5 miles to summit) or the Hetch Hetchy Campground (also about 7.5 miles including 1-2 miles of road hiking). During May 2001, some route finding was necessary along the the trail from the Hetch Hetchy Entrance Station due to overgrown brush, effects of old fires, and loss of trail in two meadows. See the topo map under the “Getting There” section for more information.


Head towards the Big Oak Flat entrance to YNP on CA SR-120 and just west of the entrance station take Evergreen Road north following the signs for Hetch Hetchy. You can start your hike at the Hetch Hetchy Ranger Station, however, more parking is available farther north at the Hetch Hetchy Campground.  Use this link in gps: https://www.google.com/maps/place/Smith+Peak+Trailhead/@37.9217438,-119.8024319,13z/data=!4m8!1m2!2m1!1strailhead!3m4!1s0x80972007639129bf:0x30179f550dd8f4c7!8m2!3d37.924718!4d-119.7966492


37°55’30.6″N 119°47’47.5″W

37.925167, -119.796536



Yellowstone National Park Current Conditions

Check the Official YNP Conditions Update webpage for the current weather and road closure status. This page also has a link to the National Weather Service 3-day and extended weather forecast which are published twice daily (4am and 4pm PDT).


PARK ENTRANCE FEE: Yosemite National Park is part of the US NPS and an entrance fee is charged. The most common way to enter the park is by vehicle for a $20 entrance fee good for 7 days. Check the NPS web site for the latest fees. As with all US National Parks, you also have the option of purchasing an annual National Parks Pass.


“It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.” 

—Edmund Hillary


“Mountains have a way of dealing with overconfidence.”
– Hermann Buhl