Sentinel Dome Trail

Difficulty
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Easy
Duration
This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
1-1.5h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
3.4 km
Elevation
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
139 m
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Directions to Trailhead

The Sentinel Dome Trail is a show-stopping hike in Yosemite National Park that attracts enthusiasts from all over the world. Due to the uninterrupted panoramas of the Sierra Nevada’s assorted granite peaks and Yosemite Valley, this trek has become a legendary adventure.

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Route Description for Sentinel Dome Trail

​When visiting Yosemite Valley, the Sentinel Dome Trail is a requisite hike. Short but undeniably scenic, this trek provides some of the best views in the park. The beauty of this overlook is proven through the constant crowds that are eager to explore the trail. If you are seeking a secluded adventure, then this trek is not the one for you.

Though busy, the views from atop Sentinel Dome are unparalleled. The path up to the dome is sparsely shaded by mixed pines and can be unbearably hot in the summer, so wear sun protection to avoid the effect of exposure. Additionally, the terrain is uneven and rocky, so a sturdy pair of footwear is an ankle saver! Note: the National Park charges an entrance fee, so you should refer to the NPS website for prices and information.

The popularity of this route is forgiven by the jaw-dropping panoramas from the Dome. Easy-going and short, the Sentinel Dome Hike can be enjoyed by adventurers of all skill levels and ages! Wander the granite trail through sweet-smelling Jeffrey pines and ponderosa pines that offer sporadic shade leading up to the exposed overlook that radiates heat in the summer months.

The pièce de résistance along this epic excursion are the views. Revel in the commanding views of El Capitan, Yosemite Falls, and Half Dome, as well as the valley below and the countless Sierra Nevada peaks that stretch for as far as the eye can see. Truly breathtaking, this may be the most picturesque scene in the whole park!

Embark on your adventure along the Sentinel Dome Hike from the trailhead off Glacier Point Road. From here, you will be confronted with two route options, so take the rightmost path that tracks northwest to Sentinel Dome. Follow this path through mixed pine forests and mind your footing on the rocky terrain. As you wander, the route will mildly undulate before consistently climbing up to the rock. Be sure to take the time to stick your nose in a Jeffrey pine. Though it may seem ridiculous, these trees smell like butterscotch and vanilla!

Continue hiking along the well-worn path and the terrain will soon open up for the final steep ascent to the summit of Sentinel Dome. From here you will be overwhelmed by the expansive vistas—hopefully, you charged your camera! Revel in the grandeur and beauty of the surrounding wilderness and notice like-minded adventurers across the valley atop Half Dome and Yosemite Falls – you may even see an intrepid climber tackling El Capitan. Take a seat on a smooth granite boulder and let the views sink in. After you are through admiring the other-worldly scene, backtrack along the path to the trailhead.

Trail Highlights

Sentinel Dome

Located in Yosemite National Park, the Sentinel Dome is an immense granite dome on the south rim of Yosemite Valley. Looming 1,067 m over the valley, this peak exhibits breathtaking views of the Sierra Nevada Range, Yosemite Valley, and on clear days, Mount Diablo in the coastal range. Known for its Jeffrey pine that stood atop the summit, the tree, unfortunately, fell in 2003 but remains collapsed on the granite massif.

Frequently Asked Questions

When is the Sentinel Dome Trail open?

The Sentinel Dome Trail is open when the Glacier Point Road is open, usually through May until November.

How long is the Sentinel Dome Trail?

The Sentinel Dome Trail is a 3.4 km out-and-back hike in Yosemite National Park.

Is the Sentinel Dome Hike hard?

The Sentinel Dome Trail is not overly difficult. The section up to the top of the Dome is steep but short, and most should be able to manage.

Insider Hints for Sentinel Dome Trail

  • Pack lunch and have a picnic atop the granite peak overlooking the gorgeous scene
  • The terrain is fairly unshaded, so be sure to bring sun protection
  • Head out in the early morning to beat the crowds
  • In the evening, this is a great place to stargaze
  • There is limited parking at the trailhead, so arrive early or take the free shuttle

Getting to the Sentinel Dome Trail Trailhead

The Sentinel Dome Hike Trailhead is located off Glacier Point Road in Yosemite National Park.

Route Information

  • Backcountry Campground

    No

  • When to do

    May-November

  • Pets allowed

    No

  • Family friendly

    Yes

  • Route Signage

    Good

  • Crowd Levels

    Extreme

  • Route Type

    Out and back

Sentinel Dome Trail Elevation Graph

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