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.
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 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, CA95389
Glacier Point coordinates: 37.727145, -119.574516 (37° 43′ 37.72″N 119° 34′ 28.25″W)
Use the map below to view the overlook and get directions:
|Taft 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.
This 10-mile one-way hike travels from Glacier Point down to Yosemite Valley in the most scenic way possible.
|The 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.
This epic 16-mile hike climbs 4,800 feet on one of Yosemite’s most popular and most challenging trails.
|More trails in the Sierra Nevada Mountains|
Explore other destinations in Yosemite National Park and the rest of the range.
|Yosemite National Park Campgrounds|
There are 13 campgrounds with over 1,600 total sites spread throughout the park to facilitate your visit.