Glacier Point to Union Point Hike
The Glacier Point to Union Point Hike is a breathtaking adventure chock full of vertigo-inducing vistas. Travel to Glacier Point first for some of the best – if not the best – panoramas of Yosemite Valley, before trekking down to another epic overlook at Union Point. With ample scenery to admire, this trek is a must-add to your Yosemite itinerary!
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Route Description for Glacier Point to Union Point Hike
The Glacier Point to Union Point Hike is an incredible adventure for those who don’t mind heights, as the vertigo-inducing sights are some of the finest views in Yosemite National Park in our opinion! If you aren’t sure if you are afraid of heights, then this trek will surely answer the question for you! Glacier Point is one of the grandest and most accessible overlooks in the park, so you will likely be in the company of dozens of other adventurers for the first few minutes of your journey. After Glacier Point, the crowds will thin and the path will begin to descend to Union Point. Mind your footing as sections of the route are extremely steep and slippery after rainfall. Note: the National Park charges an entrance fee; check out the pricing guide on the NPS website for more information.
Treat yourself to some of the best views in Yosemite National Park along the Glacier Point to Union Point Trail. Travel to not one, but two epic overlooks of Yosemite Valley while getting a good workout in. Enjoy a commanding sightline over Half Dome, Grizzly Peak, and North Dome from Glacier Point, before continuing on to Union Point for dumbfounding views of Yosemite Falls, El Capitan, and Yosemite Valley. With no shortage of epic scenery, this stimulating adventure will distract you from your tired feet and harbored fear of heights. Immerse yourself in the best of what Yosemite has to offer and revel in the dramatic landscape that stretches as far as the eye can see. The Glacier Point to Union Point Hike is a great addition to your Yosemite itinerary.
Embark on your epic excursion along the Glacier Point to Union Point Trail from the Glacier Point Trailhead. From here, track the Glacier Point Trail northeast past the gift shop. Here, the path will curve north and guide you past the Four Mile Trailhead to the Glacier Point viewing deck. Your senses will be overwhelmed by sights of the legendary Half Dome and vertigo-inducing cliffs that frame the corridor of Yosemite Valley. Admire the views then head back to the Four Mile Trailhead.
Setting out from the Four Mile Trailhead, you will head southwest through the mixed pine forests. As you wander along the sparsely shaded trail, be sure to put your nose to a Jeffrey pine—trust us, the smell is incredible! Though you may feel ridiculous, the tree smells like butterscotch and vanilla. As you wander further along the path it will become increasingly exposed as you begin to gradually descend. Take your time and mind your footing, as sections of the route are rocky. Eventually, you will encounter a set of switchbacks. Carefully navigate the tightly wound switchbacks down to Union Point which sits above the valley at over 1,829 m.
Union Point offers sweeping views of the dramatic landscape that will make your knees buckle. In the west, you will be rewarded with uninterrupted views of Yosemite Valley, bounded by impressive granite walls and towering massifs. Revel in the breathtaking scenery of El Capitan and Yosemite Falls straight ahead. In the east, North Dome, Half Dome, and Clouds Rest dominate the skyline. Appreciate the grandeur of the Sierra Nevada Range and, when you are ready, retrace your footing along the path back to the trailhead.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long is the Glacier Point to Union Point Hike?
The Glacier Point to Union Point Trail is a 6.0 km out-and-back hike.
Where do you park to hike the Glacier Point to Union Point Trail?
Adventurers can either take one of the park’s many free shuttles or head out early and park in the Glacier Point Parking lot when hiking the Glacier Point to Union Point Trail.
When is the Glacier Point to Union Point Hike open?
The Glacier Point to Union Point Trail is accessible seasonally when the Glacier Point Road is open.
Insider Hints for Glacier Point to Union Point Hike
- Charge your camera, the dramatic scenery is picture-perfect
- Wear sturdy footwear and mind your footing on the uneven sections of the trail
- Pack lunch and have a picnic overlooking the valley
- Avoid this trek on hot days as the trail is not well-shaded
- After rainfall the steep terrain can be slippery—exercise caution
Getting to the Glacier Point to Union Point Hike Trailhead
Glacier Point to Union Point Hike is accessed via the Glacier Point Trailhead off Glacier Point Road.
Glacier Point to Union Point Hike Elevation Graph
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