Located 3,200 feet above Half Dome Village, Glacier Point offers some of the best views in the park to the high country beyond. The View Terrace looks out to Half Dome, Vernal Fall, and Nevada Fall as well as Liberty Cap to the east, while the Upper Terrace features views to the west, including Yosemite Falls and Yosemite Village. Glacier Point is only open to vehicles from late May to October or November and parking is very limited, so the best way to get there is either via park shuttle bus from Badger Pass or the private guided bus tour that departs from Yosemite Valley. For some of the best, relatively uncrowded hikes in the park, consider taking the bus one way to Glacier Point and then hiking nearly straight down to the valley floor via the Four Mile Trail or 8.5-mile Panorama Trail, both of which offer stunning views.
By Deb Hopewell, AFAR Contributor
Glacier Point in Yosemite National Park is a popular spot for photographers who want to capture shots of the park's most famous granite monolith, Half Dome. From this vantage point, it's easy to visualize how a glacier carved out the valley below during the Ice Ages. Visitors can access these lookouts that give the sensation of being on top of the world via the park's scenic hiking trails or by driving to the point by car.
By Lara Dalinsky, AFAR Local Expert
Take in the view from Glacier Point
Yosemite National Park has a way of making you feel small and insignificant. In a good way. Our first stop inside Yosemite was Glacier Point. It is said to be one of the best places in the park for a view. One on side of the overlook you’ll see the incredible Half Dome, the Vernal Falls, and the Nevada Falls. On the other side you’ll find a front row seat to Yosemite Falls, one of the tallest waterfalls in the world, and the ever expansive Yosemite Valley. For us, seeing the depths of Yosemite Valley from over top was a perfect way to kick off our time in the park. Glacier Point is accessible by car late from May to November. That may chance according to weather so check the website before heading up. You can also take a free shuttle up that leaves from Badger Pass. There is a bus tour offered for a round trip ticket or one way ticket. If you’re heading to Yosemite during Summer or Fall you can hike up to Glacier Point by doing the Four Mile Hike and/or the Panorama Trail. Pick your poison.
The majestic views at Glacier Point will take your breath away. A perfect time to view with great lighting is around 5 pm as the sun starts coming down. Bring yourself back in time imagining that ice glaciers carved this valley and domes of gorgeous rock. Take a view of Half Dome and vow that you will challenge yourself to climb this feat of nature someday!
Top of the world view
While certainly not the only point in Yosemite where the word "awe" comes to mind, it provides a nice view of the entire valley, the Half Dome and the waterfalls. Can drive all the way to in summer and early fall.
Astronomy in Yosemite
If you are into astronomy one of the best places to see the night sky and the constellations is at glacial point in Yosemite. High up and really low light pollution, you can see the stars really lit up!
By Ted Nghiem
Glacier Point Rd, Yosemite Valley, CA 95389, USA