This trail offers a rare opportunity in Yosemite Valley, it allows you to hike on a fairly level trail with some solitude. Some of the trail is near roads but much of it takes you through meadows, talus slopes at the base of the granite cliffs, and near the Merced River. Easily accessible from many places throughout the valley; however, the mileage and description used here starts at the Lower Yosemite Fall area (follow signs for Valley Loop Trail). Bring a map with you (even a simple day hiking brochure from the visitor center) as it will orient you with the various land formations in the valley.
From the Lower Yosemite Fall area, head west by the base of the Three Brothers rock formation, just past Camp 4, eventually working your way through Yosemite Valley to El Capitan. If you are planning to hike the half loop, cross the Merced River at El Capitan Bridge and continue by heading east back toward Yosemite Village. If you are planning to hike the full loop, continue west past El Capitan toward Bridalveil Fall.