Lower Yosemite Falls to Camp 4 Parking Lot Accessible Trail

Yosemite National Park » Lower Yosemite Falls to Camp 4 Parking Lot Accessible Trail » Document List

This project consists of restoring portions of the Valley Loop Trail and associated social trails from Camp 4 to the Lower Yosemite Falls area by hardening the trail surface with a non-asphalt material. Upon completion the project will define the trail system and bring this section of trail to accessible standards. Currently there are a number of social trails connecting Camp 4 to the Lower Yosemite Falls Intersection. These social trails have caused increased erosion, vegetation loss, and unnecessary foot traffic on sensitive areas. Restoring this section of trail would mitigate these issues and provide an accessible route from Lower Falls to Camp 4. The trail will be designed and constructed to comply with the requirements for trails listed in the "Draft Final Accessibility Guidelines for Outdoor Developed Areas." The hardened trail surface will be constructed on top of the existing grade removing the need for excavation and lessening impact. Portions will be lined with granite rock borders to contain surface material and define the trail, and will be constructed of a two inch "Stay-Loc" hardened surface material, providing appropriate material to match the surrounding area. Where possible, the trail will be designed so as not to impede existing drainage flows while still providing suitable grades to meet accessibility standards and allow for easy access between Lower Falls and Camp 4.

Natural barriers will be installed at the Swan Slab climbing area to delineate climbing and educational groups from the designated trail. The trail will be slightly diverted away from the climbing areas, giving climbers room to recreate without blocking hikers. Designating an official trail in this high use area would prevent further social trailing and encourage regrowth of natural and existing vegetation. The existing trail alignment will be retained in its current state.

This project would also provide four accessible parking stalls in the existing Camp 4 Parking Lot and overflow day use parking area. Currently there is no accessible parking in either lot. Accessible parking will be delineated and marked with an accessible sign. The addition of accessible parking stalls would also provide services for future installation of accessible campsites.

This project is consistent with the current preferred alternative of the Merced River Plan (MRP) for future expansion of Camp 4. The MRP designates 35 additional campsites east of the existing parking lot. The proposed trail would provide access to future campsites, while mitigating social trails throughout this high use area. Additionally, this project would build on recent improvements to accessible paths of travel in the Yosemite Lodge and Lower Yosemite Falls area. Upon completion, the park will have an accessible route that connects Camp 4, Yosemite Lodge, Lower Yosemite Falls, and Yosemite Village Mall.

Other quantitative design features include:
• 6 foot trail width
• Reconstruction of approximately 900 feet of existing trail from the Falls Intersection to Swan Slab
• Formalize approximately 900 feet of unmanaged social trail from Swan Slab to Camp 4 parking
• Two inch "Stay-Loc" hardened surface material over a 6 to 8 inch compacted aggregate base
• Portions will be filled to meet existing grade with 2:1 to 4:1 slide slopes
• Total trail construction is approximately 2500 feet