In October, my husband and I took a six-day trip to Yosemite. I’ll cover the hikes we did in this series of blogs.
Autumn in Yosemite
With the cool crisp air and changing oak leaves, Autumn in Yosemite is beautiful. There are, however, a couple of things to note: waterfall flow is low (but still wonderful!) and fire personnel take advantage of the calm weather to do controlled burns. I will talk more about the controlled burns in another blog; they didn’t affect our hike to Taft Point and Sentinel Dome.
Hike to Taft Point
The hike to both Taft Point and Sentinel Dome begins at the trailhead parking lot on Glacier Point Road. The parking lot was full when we got there (late morning), but there are places to park on the side of the road. For us, this added an extra half mile walk from our car to the trailhead. Glacier Point itself, where most visitors congregate to take in the view, is located 7.5 miles further down the road.
The trailhead elevation begins at 7700 feet, so if it’s your first day or two there, you will feel it. I know I did! For an “easy” one-mile hike, it seemed awfully hard. You actually descend 200 feet to Taft point, but high elevation takes a toll on your muscles!
Once we got to Taft Point–which encompasses a huge stone cliff and a tiny protected vista–I found a spot waaaay back from the edge and just sat down, right on the stone ground. I had to build up the courage to walk out to the vista point and look down from the steel railing. I finally did, but I only stayed about 30 seconds. Also, I didn’t want to watch my husband wander around the cliff–makes me too scared for him!
Hike to Sentinel Dome
From Taft Point we took the Pohono connecting trail to Sentinel Dome. This added another 2.5 miles to our walk. Alternatively, you can walk directly back to the trailhead from Taft Point (one mile), and from there walk a mile to Sentinel Dome.
Sentinel Dome’s final elevation is 8,100 feet–a climb of 400 feet from the trailhead. I really felt it, especially the final climb to the top. It kicked my behind! But I made it, and what views! You can see Yosemite Fall, El Capitan, Half Dome, Nevada Fall, and Clouds Rest. It’s absolutely incredible.
The next blog will be about our hike to Vernal and Nevada Falls. Stay tuned!