Sentinel Dome is a granite dome in the Yosemite National Park, with its highest point above 8000 ft. Hiking to the top of Sentinel Dome is by far the easiest way to experience 360 degree views of the park.
Trailhead to the dome is on Glacier Point Rd, which is open only during summer. It is a relatively short 2.2 mile roundtrip hike with moderate difficulty. The trail starts out flat, gradually gains elevation, it is unpaved and rocky.
Yosemite National Park is studded with gigantic trees like sequoias, pines and firs. You can see interesting trees along the trail, in different stages of life, if you are into that kinda thing.
Watch out for wildlife on the trail, larger than squirrels. You could encounter coyotes, bears, deer and bobcats.
Climbing the dome:
An alternate and shorter trail is through the service road on Glacier Point rd. You could park off road at the gate and take this 0.7 mile trail that joins the regular trail.
The last 0.1 mile hike is up the actual dome. Climbing up may seem easy but you have to be very careful as a fall can get you rolling down and even fracture your bones.
Views from the top:
Be prepared to get your mind blown. No matter which direction you turn you will be witnessing eye popping scenery. Yosemite Valley including El Capitan and Yosemite Falls, Nevada Falls, Half Dome, Merced River Canyon and other peaks.
The Famous Tree:
Sentinel Dome is known for one of the most photographed "Jeffrey Pine tree" that grew from its peak. It was killed by a drought in 1977, and remained standing until August 2003.
Sunset and Stargazing:
Bring food, sit down and enjoy the views. Stay until sunset for a gorgeous panorama or even better until dark for stargazing.