Glacier Point Hike
If you are going to Yosemite, you simply must plan a trip to Glacier Point. While many people choose to hike to Glacier Point, the easiest way to get to Glacier Point is this hike. While it’s a short walk, plan to spend some time savouring the view, which is especially spectacular at dawn and dusk.
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Route Description for Glacier Point Hike
Finding a free parking spot to hike to Glacier Point is the hardest aspect of this route. While there is some parking right at Glacier Point, it’s typically full.
Many visitors choose to take a bus from the Yosemite Valley to Glacier Point, thereby eliminating the need for parking. There is also a shuttle that will run from Badger Pass Ski Area to Glacier Point, with schedules provided on the Yosemite NPS site. If you take this bus, we suggest getting off at the Sentinel Dome stop and walking from Sentinel Dome to Glacier Point, another exquisite hike.
Start the hike from the Glacier Point parking lot, which is also where buses will drop you off. Beside the restrooms, you will see a paved path heading away, and on clear days, Half Dome will be visible in the distance.
Follow this path as it goes straight, soon coming to the Glacier Point Gift Shop. This is a great place to get a snack, and there are lots of souvenirs. But be warned, it can be hectic, especially if a bus has just dropped off dozens of hikers.
Keep hiking past the gift shop and follow the hiking path, going to the left. Soon, the path splits and is signed, with a route on the left that goes down to the Yosemite Valley on the Four Mile Trail. Do not take that path, but head right up to Glacier Point.
Continue to follow the paved path as it snakes upwards, and you’ll notice that as you go a bit higher the trees thin out, granting wonderful views out to Half Dome, Yosemite Falls, Vernal Fall, Nevada Fall, Clouds Rest and beyond.
Before you know it, you’ll arrive at Glacier Point. There are several different viewpoint areas here, and it’s worthwhile to check them all out, as the views are slightly different at each angle. No matter what viewpoint you use, the vistas of the Yosemite Valley, Half Dome, Yosemite Falls, Vernal and Nevada Fall, Clouds Rest and the peaks beyond are spectacular.
To return, head back the way you came. However, when you get back to the main trail, go left towards a pretty stone building, which is the Glacier Point Trailside Museum. You’ll find some information here, but it sounds grander than it is.
From there, continue along, and before you know it, you’re back at the Gift Shop. Explore the trails in front of the Gift shop, where there is an amphitheatre and a fire pit. Rangers give talks about the history of the area here!
We like to take a break in the amphitheatre and enjoy the views and a snack from the gift shop before heading back to the parking lot to ride back to Yosemite Valley.
Glacier Point is one of the world’s most spectacular viewpoints. At 2,199 m, it towers above Yosemite Valley and affords stunning views out towards Yosemite Valley and beyond.
This area is also a popular destination in summer, but the road is not open in winter; rather it is track-set for cross-country skiers to ski the 16.9 km to Glacier Point.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where do I park for the Glacier Point Hike?
In summer, it is challenging to get parking at Glacier Point. There is a bus service that runs the Yosemite Valley, as well as a shuttle service from Badger Pass Ski Area. You can find out more on the Yosemite NPS site.
Is the Glacier Point Hike suitable for families?
This hike is a great adventure for families, with the trail paved and suitable for strollers, though there are some stairs to access some of the viewpoints.
Insider Hints for Glacier Point Hike
- Glacier Point is spectacular, but is best appreciated watching early or late in the day. Not only are crowds often lower, but the changing light on Half Dome and other mountains makes the views from Glacier Point truly memorable.
- Bring some snacks, or buy them in the Snack Shop, so that you can enjoy a nice long break and savour the view.
- While most tourists visit Glacier Point in summer, strong cross-country skiers can access it in winter, and there is even an overnight Ski Hut you can reserve. It’s a long 18.5 km of skiing each way, so this is not a trip for novices.
Getting to the Glacier Point Hike Trailhead
Head to the Glacier Point Parking Lot to start the Glacier Point Hike!
Glacier Point Hike Elevation Graph
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Glacier Point Hike Reviews
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