Scramble Up a Granite Dome in Yosemite
Head to these granite gems for big vistas and easy treks across rock that is full of geology lessons.
Head to these granite domes for big vistas and easy treks across rock that is full of geology lessons. For the easiest climbs, hike up the more gently-sloped up-canyon sides of glaciated domes rather than the steeper, down-canyon sides.
Start at Sentinel Dome trailhead on Glacier Point Road (no shuttle stop). This moderate, 2.2-mile round-trip is an out-and-back that leads to magnificent panoramas of the park, including Yosemite, Vernal and Nevada Falls. Most of the hike to Sentinel Dome is on an established trail, with the last 1/3 mile requiring an off-trail scramble up a moderate granite slope. For a preview of the spectacular view from the top, check out the Sentinel Dome webcam at www.nps.gov/yose/learn/photosmultimedia/webcams.htm (labeled “Yosemite High Sierra”).
Start at Lembert Dome parking area in Tuolumne Meadows (shuttle stop 4). This 5.2-mile out-and-back offers excellent 360-degree views of Tuolumne Meadows and surrounding peaks. Most of the hike is on the trail, with the last 1/3 mile requiring a moderate scramble up a partially-exposed granite slope.
Start at Lembert Dome parking area (shuttle stop 4). Located on the north flank of Lembert Dome, Dog Dome offers nearly identical views as from the top of Lembert, but the 5-mile round-trip hike has far fewer crowds and the climb to the top is 150 feet shorter.
Start at the pullout parking area on the western edge of Tuolumne Meadows (shuttle stop 8). This mellow 2.5-mile round-trip hike features spectacular mountain views plus a wildflower-filled meadow. The scramble to the top of Pothole is easier than Lembert or Dog, making it a good hike to do with younger children. The first half mile is on a flat trail skirting a meadow, then it’s a short scramble up a granite slope on the eastern side to the top.
Half Dome can be seen from Yosemite Valley and Glacier Point inside the park. It is 8,800 feet of towering granite and a world-renowned icon of Yosemite National Park. Half Dome is the iconic hike of the park but is not for the inexperienced.