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Cook's Meadow Loop

Hiking Trail or Trailhead
Irises in full bloom at Cook's Meadow. –

ADA Accessibility Notes

The trail is wheelchair accessible (when not covered with snow)

Cook's Meadow Loop is a short easy walk offering stunning views of some of the most famous of Yosemite Parks sights.

The walk begins at the Yosemite Valley Visitors Center which can be accessed by the free visitors shuttle from either stop #5 or #9.

It is also accessible from stop #11 near Sentinel Bridge or #6 near the Lower Yosemite Fall Trail head. Parking can be very difficult in the Valley and therefore it is recommended that visitors ride the shuttle.

This hike takes the visitor on a loop across the Valley floor through Cook's Meadow north of the Merced River and Sentinel Meadow to south.

Cook's Meadow is named after John J. Cook who owned a hotel in the Yosemite Valley from 1881-1887 and grazed animals there. Domestic animals were eventually banned from the Valley floor in the 1920's.

As you walk along the trail you will be treated to multiple views of Yosemite Falls, Half Dome, Glacier Point and Sentinel Rock. The Loop passes the trailhead to Lower Yosemite Falls giving you the chance to visit the falls by adding only a half mile to your walk.

It also crosses the Sentinel bridge for incredible views of Half Dome. Some of these areas are busy during the peak tourist seasons so be aware that you are sharing the trail not only with hikers but with cyclists also.

The trail is open year round. In spring and early summer the meadows will be at their greenest with wild flowers blooming and the Falls will be at the highest flow. In winter the trail can get icy or be snow covered but it is usually accessible with caution.

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Eco-Friendly Notes

As with all trails in Yosemite, please pack out whatever you pack in. Trash can be deposited in receptacles along the Loop. All food waste, including fruit peels or nut shells, should also be packed out.

Please stay on the trail. Do not venture out into the meadow as this causes damage to the fragile meadow ecosystem and therefore impacts the many plants and animals that live here.

Pet Friendly Notes

Pets are permitted on a leash.

Trail Distance

2.25 miles (3.6 km) round trip.

Vertical Gain or Loss

Practically none.

Nearby Places