Sentinel Dome
Sentinel Dome

Sentinel Dome

Yosemite National Park, Yosemite Valley, California, 95389

The basics

Sentinel Dome is within Yosemite Valley southwest of Half Dome. The rock face is a sight to behold from the valley floor, but visitors can get much closer from the Sentinel Dome trailhead—also called the Taft Point Trailhead—on Glacier Point Road. From there, it's a moderate 1.8-mile (3 kilometers) hike to the top and back. Guided hiking tours make it easy to visit additional Yosemite highlights, such as Glacier Point and Taft Point, without risking getting lost on the trails.

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Things to know before you go

  • The Sentinel Dome trailhead also serves as the Taft Point trailhead. Veer right from the parking lot to hit the Sentinel Dome trail.

  • The trail is not wheelchair-accessible; dogs are not permitted.

  • There are restrooms in the trailhead parking lot.

  • Plan to hike for about two hours round-trip.

  • The trail has an elevation gain of 400 feet (125 meters) to 8,122 feet (2475 meters) in altitude.

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How to get there

The trailhead is off Glacier Point Road, southeast of Yosemite Valley. The Yosemite shuttle service doesn't serve the trailhead, so it's best to drive. Take Wawona Road (Highway 41) south from Yosemite Valley, then turn east onto Glacier Point Road. Turn off at the Sentinel Dome and Taft Point trailhead.

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When to get there

Yosemite is prone to wildfires and full of tourists in summer—visit in late spring or early fall when the weather cools and the crowds diminish. The trailhead is accessible only when Glacier Point Road is open, roughly from late May through October or November. Consider hiking at sunset to take advantage of the views or even at night during a full moon.

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Yosemite Valley day hikes

Yosemite is laced with hiking trails, from backcountry routes to easy jaunts. Many of the most popular trailheads are near Yosemite Valley, where your visit will likely start. The Bridalveil Fall, Lower Yosemite Fall, and Cook's Meadow Loop trails are all essentially flat and less than a mile long (1.6 kilometers). The Vernal and Nevada Falls and Yosemite Falls trails are equally popular but more strenuous; the route to Half Dome is a 16.5-mile (26 kilometers) round-trip hike—among the most challenging in the park.

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