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gem icon Artist Point [Suggest Edits]

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Description

Artist Point is a great viewpoint from which to capture that iconic "down-the-Yosemite-Valley" picture. Most people take that famous picture from the crowded Tunnel View pullout area, but those in the know prefer the vista from Artist Point. It is better because you see more of Cloud's Rest and other things not visible at all from Tunnel View: Royal Arch, Bridalveil Meadow, North Dome, Ribbon Falls, and the Merced River. From Artist Point you won't catch quite as much of Half Dome and Sentinel Rock, but this is outweighed by the other benefits. Another plus is that you can set up a tripod here and hang out, waiting for the sunset to hit El Cap or for the fog and light to be just right. You'd be elbowed out of the way or trampled if you tried this at Tunnel View!

The most mellow way to reach Artist Point is to start near the Bridalveil Fall parking lot and head west on Old Wawona Road towards Artist Point. An alternate way to skin this cat is to park at the hectic Tunnel View area and climb the first half mile of switchbacks on the steep and rocky Pohono Trail before turning east on the Old Wawona Road to get to Artist Point. The former is an uncrowded but more rustic path, the latter is a shorter distance but considerably less pleasant.

It is said that Artist Point was where Thomas Ayers stood in 1855 to draw the first picture of Yosemite Valley by a professional artist. It helped popularize Yosemite with the public and lead to its preservation as a national park. People now think that the picture was created closer to Inspiration Point instead of Artist Point (based on what is and isn't visible in his drawing). Ayers' drawing quality was not judged to be stellar but because the pictures are important historically and there are so few of them, the drawings are now thought to be very significant.

Short Hike: Can be accessed via a short hike from either the Bridalveil Fall parking lot or the Tunnel View area.

Gem Type: Viewpoint

Shared by:
Megan W

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Oct 12, 2018
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Hikers on the trail in a Friday at noon: 0 Shaded, quiet and not steep.
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Shared by Megan W on May 15, 2016. All Page Views: 1,182. Last Month: 113.