4 Best Mountain Biking Trails in Yosemite National Park

4 Best Mountain Biking Trails in Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park isn’t just for hikers and rock climbers. Known for its breathtaking landscapes and unique geological formations in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains, the park is also a hidden gem for mountain bikers.

With over 750 miles of trails, Yosemite offers experiences ranging from leisurely rides among meadows to intense descents through dense forests. Let’s explore some of the best mountain biking trails in Yosemite National Park.

Old Big Oak Flat Road Trail

The Old Big Oak Flat Road trail is an iconic route renowned for its aspen-laden scenery. The trail begins just outside the park and quickly gains elevation, rewarding bikers with breathtaking views of the high-country wilderness.

This historic road is rich in gold rush history, evident in the remnants of bedrock mortar holes where Miwok tribes once ground acorns. The trail is a moderate 25 miles one way, and although occasional steep grades add a touch of challenge, the wide path accommodates bikers of all skill levels.

Yosemite Valley to Mirror Lake Trail

For a more relaxed mountain biking adventure, the Yosemite Valley to Mirror Lake trail is as scenic as it is serene. This out-and-back 5-mile route weaves alongside the iconic Tenaya Creek and through the storied valley floor.

Cyclists can expect to pass by meandering meadows, dense pine forests, and, of course, the still waters of Mirror Lake with its reflective views of Half Dome. Families and novice riders particularly enjoy this trail, given its flat terrain and close proximity to park amenities.

Merced River Trail

Those seeking a slightly more challenging ride will find the Merced River trail to be both thrilling and technically rewarding. Beginning near the Briceburg Bridge, bikers will ascend through chaparral-covered hills before plunging into the canyon, presenting an exhilarating descent with the Merced River as a constant companion.

The 8-mile route is moderately challenging, featuring some technical sections and rocky terrain. Riders should prepare for the occasional stream crossing during spring thaw or after heavy rains.

Galen Clark-Wawona Loop Trail

Advanced riders will revel in the Galen Clark-Wawona Loop, a 19-mile single-track trail that offers a more remote, backcountry experience. The loop begins at the Wawona Hotel and crosses the South Fork Merced River on a historic covered bridge.

Steep climbs and descents keep the ride exhilarating, while the dense forests provide a cooler respite on warm days. The trail skirts the edges of lush meadows, often teeming with wildlife and adding to the allure of the natural surroundings.

Planning Your Mountain Biking Adventure

The best mountain biking trails in Yosemite National Park offer something for every level of rider and promise an experience unlike any other. Each trail tells a unique story of Yosemite’s history.

Whether you’re a seasoned rider or a casual enthusiast, there are so many exciting reasons to try mountain biking this spring in the Sierra Nevada mountains.