If Yosemite National Park figures in your vacation plans, here’s a nice video from a park ranger outlining the muscle-burners in the Valley:
Great thing about the harder hikes: They’ll get you up and away from the throngs of tourists, few of whom have the muscle for much elevation gain. Trails covered: Mist Trail, Panorama Trail, Upper Yosemite Fall Trail. (OK so these are not super imaginative choices, given that I’ve hiked all three, but if you’re car camping in the valley and need a day away from the clamor, these can’t miss.)
My only trip to Yosemite came from when my parents took me there when I was about 14-15 years old. We did not hit any of the strenuous trails (probably because we had my 10 year old lil sister with us). I definitely need to make plans to get back there and spend a few days exploring.
Frankly the best Yosemite hikes are in the High Country, not the Valley. The ones mentioned here won’t be as crowded as the valley floor, but the still get a *lot* of hikers.
Panorama Trail from Glacier Point, however, is a pretty good compromise — lots of scenery, not nearly as heavily traveled Mist Trail or Upper Yosemite Fall.