Located on the southern rim high above Yosemite Valley, Glacier Point is one of the most famous and awe-inspiring overlooks in Yosemite National Park and it's also one of the few viewpoints that you can drive to. From Glacier Point, you can get a 180-degree view of many of Yosemite's famous landmarks, from Yosemite Falls to the northwest to Clouds Rest, Half Dome, Vernal Fall and Nevada Fall to the east. As one of Yosemite's most famous and accessible tourist spots, be prepared to deal crowds and parking headaches, especially during the summer tourist season.
To drive to Glacier Point, take the long and winding Wawona Road (a.k.a. Route 41 that connects Yosemite Valley with the South Entrance). The junction with the Glacier Point Road is roughly 17 miles from the South Entrance and 9 miles from the junction with Southside Drive in Yosemite Valley. Take Glacier Point Road roughly 16 miles to the parking lot at the end. This is Glacier Point! (The National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map for Yosemite is very useful to get a feel for the roads and junctions.) Alternatively, there is a Glacier Point Bus Tour from Yosemite Valley to Glacier Point; this option is especially useful if you want to do a through-hike along one of the many trails that starts at Glacier Point.
|Rating:||Short family-friendly stroll|
|Access:||The end of the 16-mile long Glacier Point Road|
|Time Required:||15-30 minutes|
|Length:||.7 miles total|
|Elevation Change:||Mostly level|
|Seasons:||Early summer to autumn (whenever the Glacier Point Road is open for the season and is not covered in snow)|
From the parking area, it's a short and leisurely stroll along a paved path to the many viewpoints looking down into Yosemite Valley. The view of Half Dome from Glacier Point is one of the most iconic images of Yosemite National Park. A small gift shop near the parking lot offers souvenirs and some snacks. For those looking to do a longer strenuous hike, Glacier Point is the starting point for several famous trails: