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.
Sentinel Dome - Yosemite National Park
Trail: 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.
Trailhead to Sentinel Dome and Taft Point
Trail starts flat / Rocky and uneven
Trees: 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.
Wildlife: Watch out for wildlife on the trail, larger than squirrels. You could encounter coyotes, bears, deer and bobcats.
A friendly ground squirrel
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.
Climb to the top of Sentinel Dome
Service road trail to the right / Almost there
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.
Gorgeous views - Yosemite Falls
South view / Another view
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.
Dead Jeffrey Pine tree on top of the dome
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.
Sunset views from the trail
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