Hiking to one the best views in Yosemite Valley

Turn by turn directions include pro tip

Jeremy Walker, Times Staff

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One of the most breathtaking sights in Yosemite Valley is the 3,000-foot granite wall, El Capitan.

For some, “I want to touch it” is the immediate reaction to the stunning spectacle but getting to the base of El Capitan is not as easy as just following a marked trail.

There are many ways to get to the wall but this is by far the easiest:

Park in the Northside parking area and then follow the trail that is marked “nose to southwest face.”

After following that for about .3 miles, you will find yourself about 300 yards from the face of El Capitan.

This is where things get interesting.

Look for a dry creek bed with the same sign that reads, “nose to southwest face.”

Follow the dry creek as the views of El Capitan begin to get better and better. Soon you will find yourself right up against the wall. This is where an extra 100 yards of hiking makes all the difference.

Once at the wall’s face, follow the left side of the wall for about 150 feet, turn to your right and climb the rocks. This leads to a big flat spot directly at the base where all of Yosemite Valley is visible including the sheer mass of El Capitan.