Yosemite National Park’s Glacier Point affords an incomparable bird’s-eye view over Yosemite Valley, Half Dome, and Yosemite Falls, all with very little physical effort involved. The small Geology Hut, to the side of the paved trail leading to the main overlook, shows how the valley has changed over the course of the last 10 million years.
As one of the most spectacular (and easily accessible) scenic overlooks in Yosemite, Glacier Point almost always features on guided tours of the park. Single- and multi-day tours depart from California cities including San Francisco and Los Angeles. Many tours offer visitors the option to hike down 4-Mile Trail from the overlook to Southside Drive—a much easier alternative than the ambitious hike up.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Glacier Point is a must-see for photographers and first-time visitors to Yosemite.
- Don’t forget your camera—views from the top are stunning.
- Wear sturdy shoes suitable for walking over uneven surfaces, especially if you plan to hike up or down 4-Mile Trail.
- Glacier Point is accessible to wheelchair users via a paved path from the nearby parking area.
How to Get There
While it’s possible to hike to Glacier Point from the Yosemite Valley floor, it involves a strenuous 3,200-foot (975-meter) ascent. It’s much easier to drive or take a bus from the Yosemite Valley Lodge (formerly the Yosemite Lodge). During winter, a 10.5-mile (17-kilometer) cross-country skiing trail leads to the overlook.
When to Get There
Glacier Point is open throughout the year, though it’s accessible by road or trail only from late May through October or November. During the rest of the year, you have to ski to get there.
Stargazing at Glacier Point
With no city lights within miles, Yosemite National Park enjoys dark skies perfect for astronomical observation. During the summer months (June to August), amateur astronomers gather at the Glacier Point Amphitheater on Saturday nights for star parties. Bring along a star chart and join in the stargazing fun.