“An easy trail with some great westward sunset views on top of the dome.”
— calico metzer
A short trail with a big pay-off.
Winter can bring a lot of snow and the road to the trail is often closed...but you can cross country ski in!
You won't find yourself on this trail for the trail's sake, but rather for the views at the top. The most worthwhile part of this journey is catching an awesome sunset from the top of the dome. The summit provides a unique viewpoint of the valley below, and you won't want to miss them! With most viewpoints in Yosemite Valley looking east, the top of Sentinel Dome
gives you a nice Westward view.
It's recommended that visitors head up shortly before sunset, and bring a blanket or extra layers to hang out to watch the sun go down. If there are a few clouds in the air, even better. After dark you can see some lights from small towns far off in the distance. Make sure to bring your headlamp for the descent!
The route is fairly easy, as the trail starts down from the parking area with a rocky incline up the dome, but nothing too difficult. The harder part is coming back up to the car in the dark! For daytime outings, this one is easy for families or most anyone.
Access is tricky since it's a long drive from the valley to the trailhead, but even being right off the road, you won't have to battle too many crowds. The Glacier Point
Road, which you'll need to take to access the trailhead, is closed in the winter months, making trail access extremely difficult.
Most folks will use the trail as described above but it does, however, continue over Sentinel Dome
and down to Pohono Trail