My favorite for a classic short hike along Glacier Point Road! You’ll get to experience some unique geological features as well as some of the most incredible valley views. Definitely not for the faint of heart, or those scared of heights! If you’d like a longer hike, you can make a loop and see Sentinel Dome as well.
Note - as always, please know your limits and exercise caution near any ledges. People have died here, and there are an abundance of drop offs and cliffs with no guardrails on this hike.
Glacier Point Road and this hike are closed in the winter due to snow - check here for current Yosemite conditions.
Miles: 2.8 miles roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 792 ft
Trail Type: Out and back
Trailhead: Google Maps
Cost: $35 park entrance fee, or free with National Park Pass
There is a pull out along Glacier Point Road to park at the trailhead along with bathrooms, but if you visit on a weekend you’ll likely have to park further down along the road since this is a popular hiking starting point. From the lot the trail heads down into the forest where the trees are covered in beautiful, fuzzy green moss.
After about 0.6 miles of hiking you’ll reach a trail junction. Going left will lead you to Taft Point, while going right will start you on the loop that includes Sentinel Dome.
Soon the trees clear and you’ll be able to see the edge of the cliff that make up Taft Point ahead of you.
Walking up to the ledge for the first time and getting a glimpse over the edge definitely got my heart racing! The drop off is quite sheer, and it was a trip seeing other hikers on top of the ledges front of me where I could see the cliff hang thousands of feet above the ground.
You can walk along the ledge all the way towards the very tip of Taft Point, where there is a railing at this viewing area. While you make your way to the end, keep an eye out for the fissures - deep crevasses in the rock with occasional boulders that have fallen down wedged themselves in the narrow gaps. I loved being able to see parts of the valley through some of these gaps!
You can also wander all around this area and explore all the different views of the valley a mile below you every way you turn. You can spot the rivers and roads winding through the valley, and even watch the tiny cars and groups of people even at this height.
While heading back, you can take the detour loop to Sentinel Dome or head straight back to the parking lot the way you came.
This is a great first hike for people who have never been to Yosemite, as it is a relatively short and easy hike, and you’ll get some of the best views of the valley below that feel more natural than from the crowded Glacier Point!