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Glen Aulin – An All day 11.5 Miles Hike in Yosemite – Not For Beginners

“In every walk with nature one receives more than he seeks.” –John Muir

A short drive from Tioga Pass Yosemite entrance you will come to Tuolumne Meadows where there are many hiking trails. We decided on the longer all-day hike to Glen Aulin for its surrounding tall forest trees, waterfalls, and complete serenity.

Since we are getting ready for a 3-day backpacking excursion next month, Lisa took this opportunity to practice wearing a full-size Kelty backpack. (It will be her first overnight hiking experience).

FUN FACT: The glaciers that carved Yosemite Valley left highly polished surfaces on many of the region’s rock formations. These smooth, shiny surfaces, known as glacial polish, are common in the Sierra Nevada and other glaciated landscapes.

As you enter the start of the trails, you will find SODA SPRINGS—naturaly carbonated water bubbles in the ground with small pools of spring – they have been here since the time of John Muir hiked these Tuolumne Meadows. You will also come across bridges, mountains, and tall trees. Just take it all in!

GEOLOGY TIP: Ancient glacial formation of Yosemite leaves sheer granite mountains smooth and in some spots the granite is so smooth it looks like a glass surface.


It is important to pack enough water for this hike.  We drank every single drop from our Hydro Flask.

The hike is a meandering trail of some up, some down between forest and rock paths.

Portions of the rock path are constructed with stone steps making it easier for the hiker to

  1. a) stay on the trail’s path and
  2. b) walk accordingly.

Tuolumne Falls has a beautiful, emerald green, swimmable pool below.

Glen Aulin Waterfall and High Sierra Camp

Aww! At last, this 5.5 miles of hiking gives us a break at the Glen Aulin’s gushing waterfalls and its sounds – this is where we will stop and enjoy and reward ourselves to a picnic lunch… and why not, a short nap.  Hikers can stay in these tents also for what we were quoted at $150 per night. If you were to bring your own tent and plan accordingly, it would probably save you money and provide a different kind of experience.

After our nap, we mustered up the energy to return back another 5.5+ miles. Returning back to our car was work on our legs, thighs, and feet.  This is certainly not a beginner’s hike. But we did it! We started at 9 a.m. and finished around 6 p.m. It was about six hours of Bliss and a workout. (That included stopping to eat lunch and our breaks).

Supper Time

Who would have known that the Mobile Station at the Lee Vining had such great food!  Excited to have completed today’s full day hike, I wanted to take Lisa to this amazing dining place – a20-minute minute drive after leaving Yosemite park.

We ate the lobster taquitos, the perfect meal after a deservedly long day of hiking.


Until we meet again, wishing you and yours a Happy Lifestyle…. Why choose anything else?

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