Glacier Point view Yosemite National Park

The road to Glacier Point closes in the winter and spring because of snow, but it should probably be closed year round because the views from Glacier Point are too extraordinary for people to be able to just drive right up to them. It’s too easy. Imagine how someone would feel after hiking all the way to the top of Half Dome, only to find out that there is a nearby view over Yosemite Valley that requires zero hiking. It’s not fair!

Of course, until the park destroys the road to Glacier Point, you would be crazy not to check it out. In truth, a summer trip to Yosemite National Park is hardly complete without a stop at Glacier Point. The 7,214 foot perch offers unimaginably panoramic views over Yosemite Valley.

The view from Glacier Point includes several notable Yosemite Valley Features. To the north is Yosemite Falls, the longest waterfall in North America, which Glacier Point actually looks down on. Curry Village can be seen on the floor of Yosemite Valley over 3,000 feet below. To the east, rising 1,600 feet higher than Glacier Point is the iconic Half Dome. Behind the dome, the Merced River pours down Nevada Fall and Vernal Fall. It is a breathtaking sight.

Glacier Point View
Half Dome from Glacier Point

For those who actually do want to hike, there are a few trails leaving from Glacier Point. Four Mile Trail drops 4.8 miles down into Yosemite Valley near Sentinel Falls. Panorama Trail takes a longer course past Illilouette Falls to join John Muir Trail and the Mist Trail above Nevada Fall. Take a tour bus from Yosemite Lodge in Yosemite Valley up to Glacier Point in order to hike just one direction on these trails.

Glacier Point View
Yosemite Falls from Glacier Point

Glacier Point was inhabited by the Glacier Point Hotel from 1917 to 1969 and the McCauley’s Mountain Home from 1872 to 1969. The hotels were constructed out of wood and burned in a wildfire in the summer of ’69. While the hotels were never rebuilt, Glacier Point still receives close to a million visitors each year and remains one of the most popular points of interest in Yosemite National Park.

Like Tunnel View, Glacier Point is a drive-up viewpoint that should not be missed. The road to the point is usually closed prior to Memorial Day, so check road conditions before you visit. When the road is open, the exceptional views are worth the drive. There are bathrooms, a gift shop, museum, and other amenities at the overlook. It is approximately a quarter mile from the parking area to the end of Glacier Point. A park entrance fee is required to access Glacier Point in Yosemite National Park.

To get to Glacier Point: There is one road to Glacier Point and it’s called Glacier Point Road. From Highway 41, ten miles south of Yosemite Valley and seventeen miles from the south entrance, turn east onto Glacier Point Road. Drive fifteen miles to the parking area at the end of the road. You will pass the trailhead for Taft Point two miles from the end of the road.

Glacier Point address: Glacier Point Road, Yosemite National Park, CA 95389
Glacier Point coordinates: 37.727145, -119.574516 (37° 43′ 37.72″N 119° 34′ 28.25″W)

Use the map below to create your own directions:

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Photos

Yosemite Valley from Glacier Point YosemiteGlacier Point Yosemite FallsGlacier Point Yosemite Falls  Glacier Point Yosemite Falls  Glacier Point Yosemite Falls  Glacier Point Yosemite Falls  Glacier Point Yosemite Falls  Glacier Point Yosemite Falls  Glacier Point YosemiteGlacier Point YosemiteGlacier Point YosemiteGlacier Point YosemiteGlacier Point YosemiteGlacier Point YosemiteGlacier Point Yosemite

These photos were taken in May of 2012. Click to enlarge.
Nearby Trails
Taft Point TrailTaft Point Trail
This 4-mile round trip hike visits an overlook on the south wall of Yosemite Valley with fascinating rock fissures carved into the exposed granite.
Panorama TrailPanorama Trail
This 10-mile one-way hike travels from Glacier Point down to Yosemite Valley in the most scenic way possible.
Mist TrailThe Mist Trail to Vernal Fall and Nevada Fall
This 1.8 to 5.5-mile hike takes an exciting course past two of Yosemite’s prize waterfalls.
Half Dome TrailHalf Dome
This epic 16-mile hike climbs 4,800 feet on one of Yosemite’s most popular and most challenging trails.
hiking trails sierrasMore trails in the Sierra Nevada Mountains
Explore other destinations in Yosemite National Park and the rest of the range.
Camping
Sequoia CampgroundsYosemite National Park Campgrounds
There are 13 campgrounds with over 1,600 total sites spread throughout the park to facilitate your visit.

2 Comments on Glacier Point in Yosemite National Park

  1. Kathy Villanueva says:

    hello I have a question on driving up to Glacier point in Yosemite. Would I be able to drive up there anytime I want like during the night to be able to stargaze? If anyone see this an you know can you please answer thank you.

    • hikespeak says:

      Good question. As long as the road is open (it closes in the winter when it gets too snowy), I don’t believe there area any restrictions about going up there at night.

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