Glacier Point is a lookout point with a panoramic view of Yosemite Valley, Half Dome, Yosemite Falls, and the high country of Yosemite. Some of Yosemite’s most popular trails, such as the Four Mile Trail and the Panorama Trail, can be started or finished from here. Early spring or early fall are the best times to visit before the road closes for the season. It can get too crowded in the summer, especially during the day.
Make your weekend become special by spending it at Glacier point, just a couple of hikes away from Yosemite National Park.
How To Get To Glacier Point?
Till 2023, the park service is doing road construction so the traffic will be cut off. The only way to reach Glacier Point will be through 3 hiking trails. These are namely The Four Mile Trail, Pohono Trail and Panorama Trail.
The Four Mile Trail
It’s a 4.8-mile one-way trek to Glacier Point. This trail begins near the base of Sentinel Rock and climbs to the top of Yosemite Valley at Glacier Point.
Over the years, the trail has changed slightly; it is now closer to five miles than four (and of course there is no more toll). Those brave enough to take on this challenging trail will be rewarded with breathtaking views of Yosemite Valley, El Capitan, Yosemite Falls, and, eventually, Half Dome.
The Four Mile Trail comes to a close at Glacier Point, which has restrooms, parking, and a snack stand (open only in the summer). You have the option of hiking back to Yosemite Valley by reversing your route or continuing on the Panorama Trail for another 8.5 miles to the Happy Isles Trailhead.
The Pohono Trail Route
The less difficult route leads from Glacier Point to Tunnel View, while the more difficult route leads from Tunnel View to Glacier Point. Glacier Point is a 32-mile drive along Highway 41 along the south wall of Yosemite Valley. While driving towards Wawona on the same highway, you’ll come across Tunnel View.
You have two choices when starting at Glacier Point: either go past the base of Sentinel Dome or go straight up it. The views from the top of the dome are absolutely breathtaking, but it will add 300 vertical feet to your hike.
The Panorama Trail can be hiked in either direction or both if you enjoy the fresh air of Yosemite. You’ll be going downhill for the majority of the route if you start at the Glacier Point trailhead, which is marked by the leftmost pair of giant green hikers, with the exception of some climbing just after you cross Illilouette Creek. You’ll be hiking uphill for the majority of the day if you start in Yosemite Valley.
How To Prepare For Glacier Point?
Depending on the snowfall, Glacier Point is only open from late spring to mid-fall. Vehicle access is not available during the winter. During the summer, the crowds can be thick, and you may not be able to drive directly to the point, as mentioned above and from our experience. Prepare yourself by putting your camera gear in a bag that is easily transportable in case you need to take the shuttle.
Nights At Glacier Point
Many locations within the park offer reserved RV and car campsites, though due to park capacity restrictions, a number of campgrounds closed in 2020. Before going on a trip, make sure to check availability. Backcountry hikers camping overnight can also get a wilderness permit.
Full moon nights are a magical time to visit Glacier Point, where US President Teddy Roosevelt and John Muir once camped. In collaboration with the National Park Service, amateur astronomy clubs host star parties at the Amphitheater during the summer.
Picturesque Views At Glacier Point
Take the short trail from the parking lot to the overlook. This is the best spot to see Half Dome in all its glory, framed by the sky and the surrounding rocky landscape. This is a view that can’t be found anywhere else in Yosemite. Take it all in, both with your eyes and your camera lens.
Set up your tripod on the east rim of Glacier Point to photograph the Vernal Fall and Nevada Fall. Without a telephoto lens, these magnificent falls will appear small, but the geologic landscape will provide ample backdrop for these natural water features.
Additionally, about a mile from the top of Glacier Point, there is an overlook that is also a good candidate for photographs, and from here you can see both Vernal and Nevada Falls.
Also, don’t rush out the door. At sunset, you’ll get some of your best shots. Because the sun will be behind you, it will be able to illuminate Half Dome to the point where most of the rest of the mountain will be in shadow. Whether or not there’s a camera present, it’s a truly remarkable sight to behold.
Take a look at even more picturesque views at Cathedral Peaks!