The panoramic view from Taft Point and the rock fissures nearby provide a rewarding 2-mile hike. The dirt single track descends just 250 feet to an outcropping on the south wall of Yosemite Valley that overlooks El Capitan and Yosemite Falls.
From the trailhead, turn left and begin a peaceful walk through a big pine forest bordering a high elevation meadow. Swing down across exposed granite to the edge of Yosemite Valley. Leading out to the point, there are impressive fissures cut into the cliffs. Without getting too close, look down into these vertical chasms that drop what looks like a thousand feet into a trench coursing down into Yosemite Valley.
A railing welded into the rock marks the lookout on Taft Point. The point is named after William Howard Taft, the 27th president of the United States who visited the park in 1909. Perhaps the president was looking for views similar to nearby Glacier Point without all the crowds. This is what you will find today.
The road to the trailhead, Glacier Point Road, closes in the winter, so check road conditions if you are planning to hit the trail before Memorial Day. Taft Point Trail is an excellent summertime hike.
To get to the trailhead: From Highway 41, ten miles south of Yosemite Valley and seventeen miles from the south entrance, turn east onto Glacier Point Road. Drive thirteen miles to the well-marked trailhead, located two miles from the end of the road at Glacier Point. The trailhead is shared by Sentinel Dome Trail, which heads northeast. Taft Point Trail heads west to the canyon’s edge.
Trailhead address: Glacier Point Road, Yosemite National Park, CA 95389
Trailhead coordinates: 37.712354, -119.586448 (37° 42′ 44.47″N 119° 35′ 11.21″W)
This 10-mile one-way hike travels from Glacier Point down to Yosemite Valley in the most scenic way possible.
|Bridalveil Fall Trail|
This easy paved half-mile trail visits the base of a 620-foot single-drop waterfall on the south side of Yosemite Valley.
|Lower Yosemite Fall Trail|
This 1.2-mile hike delivers visitors to the base of the tallest waterfall in North America. The experience is not to be missed.
|Chilnualna Falls Trail|
This 8-mile round trip hike ascends 2,200 feet past a raucous string of cascades to the top of a waterfall alongside Wawona Dome.
|Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias|
This 1.6-mile hike (or longer) visits the biggest trees in Yosemite.
|More trails in the Sierra Nevada Mountains|
Explore other destinations in Yosemite National Park and the rest of the range.
|Otto’s Trail in Colorado National Monument|
This 0.75-mile round trip hike visits an overlook near the Pipe Organs with an excellent view of Independence Monument and Monument Canyon.
|Window Rock Trail in Colorado National Monument|
This 1/3-mile round trip hike ends at a distinct point on the wall of Monument Canyon where a natural window appears just below the top of the cliff.
|Grand View Point in Canyonlands National Park|
This 2-mile hike travels along the mesa’s edge from Grand View Overlook to the southernmost point on the Island in the Sky.
|White Rim Overlook in Canyonlands National Park|
This gradual 1.8-mile hike visits the end of a peninsula in the Island in the Sky with 300-degree views of the canyons below.
|Yosemite National Park Campgrounds|
There are 13 campgrounds with over 1,600 total sites spread throughout the park to facilitate your visit.