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Taft Point

Intermediate
 4.5 (44) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A short trail from the Glacier Point Road to an excellent perch to view the valley and the sunset.


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Map Key

2.3

Miles

3.7

KM

Out and Back

7,721' 2,353 m

High

7,502' 2,287 m

Low

276' 84 m

Up

276' 84 m

Down

4%

Avg Grade (3°)

25%

Max Grade (14°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Birding · Fall Colors · Spring · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Family Friendly An easy trail with a highly exposed ending. Children should be fine as long as they are well supervised. There are no railings!

Glacier Point Road closes for the winter, limiting access. Parking at the trailhead can be an issue since the trailhead parking lot on Glacier Point Road is shared with the trail to Sentinel Dome Trail. On popular weekends, parking can be a premium, and cars will end up parking along the road. Please park responsibly and legally.

Overview

The views of El Capitan and Half Dome are just as amazing from Taft Point as from the hectic Glacier Point, but you'll actually get to see more of the Valley. Besides the added benefit of fewer people to contend with, you also experience the mind-bending vertigo of The Fissures.

Description

The view from Taft Point is probably the most popular spot to view the sunset in the Valley. You'll also see Mount Conness, Yosemite Falls, Half Dome and El Capitan up close and personal.

From the Sentinel Dome Tailhead and parking area, the Taft Point trail wraps its way roughly westward through stunted white pines over mostly level ground. After joining the Pohono Trail, the route descends onto the exposed slabs near Taft Point. Passing the dramatic "fissures", huge clefts disappearing like elevator shafts into the abyss, and gazing between them is not for the squeamish. The top is reached after a quick 1.1 mile jaunt from the car. Be very careful here as there are no rock walls or railings to keep you back from the edge and a fall would be fatal.

History & Background

This dramatic viewpoint was named after President William Taft who visited Yosemite in 1909. The story goes that he planned to use horses to descend from Glacier Point to the valley floor, but they were not strong enough to carry his 300 pounds. Instead he hiked down and had lunch as what is now called Taft Point.

This is the place that BASE jumpers Dean Potter and Graham Hunt flew from wearing wing suits and fell to their deaths, chutes unopened.

Contacts

Land Manager: NPS - Yosemite

Shared By:

schleppy schlepenstien with improvements by Jack M

Trail Ratings

  4.5 from 44 votes

#217

Overall
  4.5 from 44 votes
5 Star
57%
4 Star
36%
3 Star
7%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#30

in California

#217

Overall
78 Views Last Month
6,162 Since Sep 24, 2015
Intermediate

5%
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84%
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Photos

Slack-liner Shows Off 3'000ft Above The Ground At Taft Point.
Nov 18, 2018 near Yosemit…, CA
Taft Point on the left with El Capitan across Yosemite Valley
Dec 10, 2017 near Yosemit…, CA
El Capitan and Yosemite Valley from Taft Point
Dec 10, 2017 near Yosemit…, CA
Overlooking Yosemite Valley at the edge of Taft Point as accessed by the Pohono Trail.
Dec 17, 2015 near Yosemit…, CA
El Capitan, the Three Brothers, and Yosemite Falls from Taft Point.
Mar 8, 2016 near Yosemit…, CA
Yosemite Falls from Taft Point.
Mar 8, 2016 near Yosemit…, CA

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Check-Ins

Jul 22, 2021
Jenn Daniels
Jul 16, 2021
Lawrence Williams
Jul 4, 2021
Van Truong
Jun 28, 2021
Jessica Cunningham
Jun 19, 2021
Reagan Cicha
Jun 9, 2021
Justin Gorsuch
East hike, stopped for half hour on at the point for pictures. Better to see in the morning with sun at the back. 2.3mi — 1h 30m
Oct 30, 2020
Ayaka Saito
Aug 10, 2020
Colby Smith
didnt keep track of specs on the hike, but man were the views worth it!