Glacier Point is an iconic Yosemite landmark — offering breathtaking views of the park’s most famous features. From this vantage point, visitors can see Yosemite Valley, Half Dome, Yosemite Falls, and the High Sierra. The views are particularly stunning at sunset, when the setting sun casts a warm glow on the granite cliffs and waterfalls.
In addition to its scenic beauty, Glacier Point is also an important cultural and historical site. The overlook was named after the nearby glaciers that shaped the landscape during the last ice age. In the late 1800s, the area was developed as a tourist destination by the Sierra Club and the Yosemite Park & Curry Company. The Curry Company built a hotel, a dining room, and a dance hall at the site, which attracted visitors from around the world.
Today, Glacier Point is one of the most popular destinations in Yosemite National Park. Its iconic views and rich history make it a must-see destination for anyone visiting the park.
There are several options for hiking around Glacier Point, depending on your interests and fitness level. Here are a few suggestions:
Panorama Trail: This moderate 8.5-mile (13.7-km) round-trip hike begins at the Glacier Point trailhead and follows a winding path down to the valley floor, passing through forests and meadows and offering stunning views along the way.
Four Mile Trail: This strenuous hike is a popular way to reach Glacier Point from the valley floor. The trail begins near the Yosemite Lodge and climbs about 3,200 feet (975 meters) over the course of 4 miles (6.4 km) to reach the viewpoint.
Sentinel Dome & Taft Point: After viewing the high country from Glacier Point, hikers can embark on a 6.8 mile trek to both the summit of Sentinel Dome (8,120′) and to the Fissures and Taft Point. This route presents a more strenuous first mile while the remainder of the trip is more easy to moderate.
Thinking about hiking near Glacier Point? Here are some resources:
Backpacking around Glacier Point in Yosemite National Park can be a rewarding and challenging experience, offering the opportunity to explore the park’s beautiful wilderness and experience its stunning views. Here are a few things to consider when planning a backpacking trip around Glacier Point:
Permits: Backcountry permits are required for all overnight trips in Yosemite National Park. You can apply for a permit online or in person at the Wilderness Center in Yosemite Valley. Be sure to apply well in advance, as permit availability is limited and the process can be competitive.
Routes: There are several options for backpacking routes around Glacier Point, depending on your interests and fitness level. The Panorama Trail, which runs from Glacier Point to the valley floor, is a popular choice, offering a moderate 8.5-mile (13.7-km) round-trip route with spectacular views. There are also several popular routes leading from Glacier Point to Half Dome, offering a more strenuous and longer backpacking trip.
Camping: There are several designated backcountry campsites along each route, and you will need to camp at these sites on your trip. Be sure to follow Leave No Trace principles and practice good stewardship of the park’s wilderness by following park regulations and respecting the natural surroundings.
Since 1997, we’ve guided groups along every step of this exhilarating experience. Our catalog of Yosemite trips includes several Yosemite Backpacking Trips that summit Half Dome, as well as our signature Half Dome in a Day Trip. These trips are among our most popular adventures, and for good reason! (All Lasting Adventures trips including required permits.)
Or if you’re looking for information on securing permits for your own backpacking trip in Yosemite, see NPS Half Dome Permits for Backpackers Information
Your Half Dome backpacking trip awaits!