Visiting Glacier Point in Yosemite Valley

The scenic hike to Glacier point from Yosemite Valley is over 9.6 miles/15.5 Km round trip. It will take about six to eight hours and goes up to an elevation of over 3200 feet.  Once you get to the top, you will be rewarded with stunning panoramas of the entire Yosemite Valley and all its magnificent landmarks.

The Four mile trail is well-marked with many switch-backs going up through the mountains, it starts at the valley floor by Sentinel Rocks where the trail head begins. One of the best day hikes in Yosemite, this is an intermediate level hike with lots of inclines and switch backs and the trail is partly shady and in exposed full sun. Make sure to bring plenty of sunscreen, water and provisions. Along the trail at different elevations, you will have some amazing vistas and panoramas. All of the major landmarks will be in sight from this trail including: Yosemite and Sentinel Falls, Half Dome, North Dome and the Arches, El Capitan and more along the route, it’s nothing short of spectacular.


How to get to Glacier Point in Yosemite

There are options of walking up and taking a shuttle bus back down to the valley or do the reverse by taking the shuttle up and  then hiking back down-hill which is easier for those that are challenged with an uphill climb. The nicest part about making the uphill trek is taking the time to enjoy some of the most magnificent views along the way. If you time it right for arriving in the late afternoon, the sunset views are also an amazing experience worth staying up for at Glacier Point. If you plan on remaining for the sunset/evening views you will have to arrange to have a car up or someone to pick you up because the bus service going down usually ends in the early afternoon.  You do have the option of climbing back down into the valley at night-time.


Scenic hike to Glacier Point

Nevada falls





Scenic hike to Glacier Point

Scenic view from Glacier Point from 4 mile trail

 Glacier Point Vistas

When you reach the top of Glacier Point, there are even more spectacular views of the valley and beyond to the east. The vistas are incredible, so make sure you bring your camera with the batteries fully charged. The late afternoon time frame to sunset is the best time for photography and you will see a lot of photo buffs and professionals up at Glacier Point just waiting for the perfect light and the glowing sunsets.


Scenic hike to Glacier Point

Half Dome from Glacier Point





Scenic hike to Glacier Point

Scenic views from the Glacier Point




Scenic hike to Glacier Point

Panorama with Nevada falls





Scenic hike to Glacier Point

Rock outcropping at Glacier Point

You can see the entire valley and beyond for miles and miles…..



Scenic hike to Glacier Point

Hanging Rock at Glacier Point


Sunset views up at Glacier Point looking into Yosemite Valley and Half Dome is stunning!



Scenic hike to Glacier Point

Half Dome framed by pines

Additional tips to visiting Yosemite

If you plan on doing the scenic hiking to Glacier Point, get an early start in the morning, the trail head is just off the base of Sentinel Rock in Yosemite Valley. Take the valley loop bus to stop #7.

Like-wise you can catch a bus shuttle to the top and can hike down the trail. You need to make reservations ahead of time for a seat in either direction.

To catch the sunset views you will have to drive up to Glacier Point or arrange for a ride, it’s worth the effort. Make sure to bring your camera with charged batteries, you will take a lot of photographs.

There is a concession/souvenir shop at the top of Glacier point if you want to buy some provisions including ice cream!

This is the last post in a series about Yosemite Valley if you would like to start at the beginning here is the first post about the Hetch Hetchy reservoir and dam. If you would like to see the post prior to this, I show some of my favorite black and white images of Yosemite as an homage to Ansel Adams.

Where to stay in Yosemite

There are many options in visiting the area either if you stay in the valley, camp or just outside in the smaller communities leading up to the national park. Places do book up early during the visiting season, so plan well ahead for your visit and book in advanced. Here are some suggestions on where to stay in the area.


Yosemite View Lodge – located in El Portal just on the outside of the park entrance, with large rooms overlooking the river, large baths with Jacuzzi, friendly service and park shuttles.

The Majestic Yosemite Hotel – called Awhanee before this classic national park hotel is stunning and with period details and modern amenities.

Yosemite Valley Lodge – centrally located in the park village area with plenty of choices to dine and shop in the village, clean rooms and pick up for shuttle service.

Half Dome Village – Camping accommodation set up close to Half Dome – if you want to experience camping with heat, bedding supplies and bathroom services close by  without the hassle of slepping stuff.


For more reviews of places to stay around Yosemite, check out this link for current prices and availability.


Check out these other posts on Visiting Yosemite


Yosemite history and indian culture

Yosemite captured in Black and White

Yosemite attractions and landscapes

Awhanee Hotel visit and brunch

Hetch Hetchy reservoir and dam



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