Trail Running in Yosemite and Ansel Adams Wilderness

During our climbing trip in Bishop we used our “rest days” to run in some famous places around: Death Valley, Yosemite and Ansel Adams Wilderness. Far away from races and crowd, we made our own routes along some of the best trails of Yosemite and Ansel Adams Wilderness.

Running in Yosemite (© A. Gatta)
Running in Yosemite (© A. Gatta)

There are endless possibilities of trail running in Yosemite so we opted for two trails of about 40km.

Running in Yosemite with Half Dome in the background (© P. Gatta)
Running in Yosemite with Half Dome in the background (© P. Gatta)

The first one starts from Yosemite village goes up along the very popular trail of Yosemite falls, continues to North Dome, Porcupine Creek, Olmstead Point and goes back down in the valley through Snow Creek and Mirror Lake.

Sunrise Lake, Yosemite (© A. Gatta)
Sunrise Lake, Yosemite (© A. Gatta)

The full loop is around 41km and +2000m but it can be shorter by going down to Mirror Lake immediately after North Dome. Since it is a loop, it is also possible to start from Olmstead Point instead of Yosemite village which is more convenient if you are entering the park from Tioga Pass.

Running in Yosemite (© A. Gatta)
Running in Yosemite (© A. Gatta)

The second trail starts from Tuolumne Meadow, goes down to the Tenaya Lake (wild trail) then continues toward Clouds Rest, then join the famous John Muir Trail (JMT) to return to Tuolumne Meadow via Cathedral pass and lakes. This trail is about 43km and +1500m. There is a nice shorter option going through the Sunrise Lakes (34km and +1100m).

Cathedral lakes (© P. Gatta)
Cathedral lakes (© P. Gatta)

These two trails are well-marked and not too technical. We run in beautiful forest most of the time with some amazing views over Yosemite valley, Half Dome, North Dome and Cathedral Peaks. The trails close to the parking lots were crowded but once we were a few kilometers away, we had the nature for ourselves.

Half Dome from North Dome (© P. Gatta)
Half Dome from North Dome (© P. Gatta)

The US National Park Services web site has lots of useful information.

Running around North Dome (© A. Gatta)
Running around North Dome (© A. Gatta)

Ansel Adams Wilderness is probably less famous than Yosemite but it is a very nice place too and less crowded. It is part of the Inyo National Forests in the Sierra Nevada range.

Yosemite Fall and Lost Arrow (© A. Gatta)
Yosemite Fall and Lost Arrow (© A. Gatta)

We started at Agnew Meadows, close to the ski resort of Mammoth Lakes and made 28km loop along the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) up to the Lake of Thousands Islands.

Tenaya Lake (© A. Gatta)
Tenaya Lake (© A. Gatta)

The trails are very good, well-marked and there are many options to make it shorter or longer. Like in Yosemite there are plenty of wildlife and you will most likely meet a deer or two.

Thousand Islands Lake (© P. Gatta)
Thousand Islands Lake (© P. Gatta)

Ansel Adams Wilderness (© P. Gatta)
Ansel Adams Wilderness (© P. Gatta)

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