Breathtaking views from 3,000 feet above the Valley floor
Note: The Glacier Point Road is currently closed until Spring, 2023
Glacier Point, an overlook with a commanding view of Yosemite Valley, Half Dome, and the High Sierra, offers one of the most spectacular viewpoints in Yosemite. You'll look almost straight down to the Valley floor from over 3,200 feet above - almost a vertical kilometer.
Straight across from the lookout is a majestic view of Half Dome. If you have binoculars, you may even be able to make out hikers on the summit or rock climbers on the popular Snake Dike route on the western flank of Half Dome. Most summer evenings, the sinking sun colors Half Dome golden with alpenglow. It's a time for relaxation and reverie.
A Stunning Night Sky
Here in the thin air at 7,200 feet, far from city lights, the Milky Way reveals itself to the naked eye. On astronomy nights (check the National Park Service calendar), amateur astronomers set up powerful telescopes that let you peer at galaxies far, far away.
Whether you go at sunset and watch the light change on Half Dome or plan a nighttime visit for some unforgettable stargazing, standing at Glacier Point is sure to be a moment you'll never forget. The gift shop provides snacks, trail food and souvenirs during the day.
How to Get There (Summer)
There are a number of ways to get to Glacier Point, depending on the season and how much activity you're up for. During the summer months, Glacier Point is accessible to everyone. The road typically opens for the season sometime in May, often just in time for Memorial Day weekend. It closes for the season in November or December. For more information, see the NPS list of opening and closing dates for the Glacier Point Road.
If you opt to drive yourself, take Wawona Road until you reach the Chinquapin intersection, where you will then turn onto Glacier Point Road which takes you to Glacier Point in 16 miles from Chinquapin. Count on roughly one hour driving time from Tenaya Lodge. Glacier Point Road will end at the outlook's parking lot. From here, it's only a short, wheelchair-accessible walk to the viewing area.
Hiking to Glacier Point
If you're planning on bringing your hiking boots along, try hiking the Four Mile Trail to Glacier Point. Actually closer to five miles in length, this trail takes three to four hours one way and climbs about 3,200 feet in elevation with increasingly impressive views as you climb. For a different perspective, you can also walk the Panorama Trail - a beautiful hike, but twice as long. For those up for 13 miles of walking, a great outing involves hiking up the Four Mile Trail, visiting Glacier Point, and then hiking down the Panorama Trail past Nevada and Vernal Falls to Happy Isles and then taking the free shuttle back to your car.
Additional Hiking Near Glacier Point
Hiker on Sentinel Dome with a view of El Capitan and the Cathedrals
Sentinel Dome. A classic short hike, just slightly over a mile each way. The last little bit is up the granite slopes of Sentinel Dome to a 360-degree view that takes in El Capitan, Half Dome and the Clark Range. Park at the pullout about 13.5 miles down Glacier Point Road, a couple of miles before Glacier Point itself.
Taft Point. Park as for Sentinel Dome, but hike the other way. A one-mile walk takes you to a vertiginous viewpoint down into Yosemite Valley.
Taft Sentinel Loop. Two for the price of one! Hike to Taft and about halfway back and then take a left and follow the trail up to Sentinel Dome and back to the car for a total of about 4.5 miles.
Ostrander Lake. This 12.2-mile walk starts out flat and then steepens at about the halfway point. In 6.1 miles, you arrive at Ostrander Lake, a beautiful high-alpine lake with a ski hut from the 1930s, still a popular ski destination today. Park at the Ostrander Lake trailhead, about 9 miles up Glacier Point Road.
Dewey Point. A 3.9-mile
In the winter, you can access Glacier Point on skis, starting from the Badger Pass Ski Area. When the ski area is open (from mid- to late December through late March), cross-country skiers can follow Glacier Point Road for about 10.5 miles to the outlook. Though strong skiers can make the 21-mile round-trip in a day, many visitors make it an overnight adventure. Reserve a ski hut or camp near the point for the ultimate experience. Just be sure to make reservations and get your wilderness permit beforehand.