Escape the crowds in Yosemite Valley by reaching North Dome, with spectacular 360 views of Half Dome, Illilouette Falls, the Merced River, and distant peaks. An easy day hike or overnight, this trip is a nice escape from tour buses and throngs of people. This trail leads to an amazing vantage over most of the valley. Don’t leave Yosemite without experiencing North Dome.
- 9 miles
- Amazing views of Yosemite Valley
- Indian Rock is a unique arch formation
After having burritos in Yosemite Valley, we got in the car and drove up 120 to the Porcupine Creek trail head. I was very happy with both the burrito and the beautiful drive. The hike begins at about 8000 ft, so depending on your fitness, be aware.
The trail begins in a mostly wooded area with no views. You’ll have to work for those, but the payoff is well worth it. It is easily accomplished in an afternoon, or as a leisurely overnight (there are sites), with potential spurs to other areas. I was very impressed with this trail, both by how it was maintained and 360 views that center you in Yosemite Valley. It is quite a sight to see.
As you approach the rim of the valley, glimpses of Half Dome and peaks beyond start to appear. As you get closer, the roller coaster climbs begin, which make for good cardio. By the time you hit the the furthest vantage, you’re feeling on top of the world from endorphins and incredible views.
Indian Rock is a feature along the way, which offers a unique natural arch. The spur is well marked on the left as you approach.
We packed a good meal for the trail, and took time to wash in Porcupine Creek. Once you’re on the Dome, there is a lot of sunlight exposure, so pack sunscreen and a good hat.
As with any trip like this, be sure to watch the weather closely, and study cloud formations near Half Dome and North Dome. Do not tempt fate in an electrical storm. You will lose. People die in Yosemite each year, even experts.
We had perfect weather. I wish I could have stayed and watched the sunset, but we had plans with beer, meat, and a grill. I can definitely see the advantage of staying out there overnight on the granite.
This must be the best view of Half Dome, apart from Glacier Point.