It's a windy, 16 mile road to the top of Glacier Point from Route 41, but there are some fantastic views which make it very much worth it. It's a slow going road, with limited turnouts, so stay patient. At the end, you are rewarded with a wonderful panoramic view of the valley, including some of the larger waterfalls and Half Dome. There are restrooms up here as well as plenty of standing areas to take in the landscape. Half Dome is the highlight - you'll feel much closer to it here than in the valley.
Please see my travelogues for more pictures from Glacier Point.
A very popular destination in the park and well worth the drive. The pictures speak for themself. I went late afternoon and had no problem finding a parking spot. There are bathrooms at the location and a store.
Glacier point should never be missed when visiting Yosemite. The views are breathtaking! Personally, I think the best time would be nearing sunset. You can listen to the Ranger Sunset Talk and watch the sunset change the colors of the vista in front of you.
You do not have to do a "strenuous" hike to get here. You can drive (It's about an hour's drive from Yosemite Valley). But if you are adventurous, you could always take the Four Mile Trail to get here from Yosemite Valley, but with about three thousand feet of elevation gain.
Nothing prepares you for what you see when you get to Glacier Point in Yosemite. It is a high point way above the valley floor. From the gate, it is about a 25-30 minute drive. There is parking and one view point prior to getting to the actually Glacier view point. My family and I spent 3 nights in the park, during which we toured and hiked the main highlights of the park.
There is a very exciting, challenging and adventurous hike to the valley floor which we attempted, but only did a mile and a half each way as we had my 15 month old with us. It is a tough hike, I shall not lie. The down hike is the easy part, getting back up literally requires rails or a chain for one to pull him/herself up with.
The views from glacier point are nothing short of breath-taking. Since we went in may, it was supposed to be cooler, but unfortunate for us, the heat picked up a day before and we literally got in at 90 degrees plus in temps. At such a high altitude though, it was cooler and the giant pine trees gave much needed shade.
The half dome and three different waterfalls are vivid from this point.
Rain or sun, glacier point is a must. We drove to the place with a heavy rain and almost snow, thinking we were the only crazy people to hope to enjoy something new, or to hope being able to see something majestic... so... We reached the point, everything foggy and rainy, but a bunch of tourists still on their way, and surprisingly at some point everything cleared out, the rainbow came and we were so happy and satisfied. It is unbelievable how you can stand there and times goes by and you just want to keep on admiring all that powerful force of nature brought together by water and trees and rocks, and still wonder how that perfect can be :)
Although most people go down the Panorama Trail, Glacier Point is a nice reward if you walk up it. Most people take the shuttle up to Glacier Point, then walk down. We chose to walk up from the Happy Isles Trailhead, and the breathtaking views of the valley were a nice way to end the hike. Problem was, the last shuttle down was at 3:45, which meant we had to hitchhike down since it was getting too dark to walk.
Glacier Point is a spot high above the Yosemite National Park valley floor. If you are really adventurous you can hike up a trail to the top or if you are less then adventurous or don't have a lot of time (at least that was my excuse this time around, although I think it would be an interesting hike) you can take some very winding and twisting roads up to the top and enjoy some scenery at a couple of other spots on the way up.
Once you arrive by car at the top their are a number of viewing points to take in some incredible sights and take some pictures. We were up top just before sunset and to see the colors change in the valley below and Half Dome was simply spectacular.
Photos can never truly catch the awe inspiring time when you get your first glimpses.
Driving up to Glacier Point is something that can only be done from late May until the first snow falls (even if it is just a dusting). There is plenty of parking, restrooms and a snack and gift shop. Glacier Point is at an elevation of over 7200 feet. From here you get a almost level and close up view of Half Dome and and eagle's eye view of the entire valley floor with the Merced River winding through it. Also from this vantage point you can see Nevada and Vernal Falls, which cannot be spotted from the valley floor, unless you like to hike. With a pair of high-powered bincoulars or camera lens you can see people on top of Half Dome and walking along trails to Vernal and Nevada Falls. The view is breath-taking, and worth the 45 minute drive.
Glacier Point is one popular destination. You can drive, take the shuttle, or hike up here. No matter how you come up, you are rewarded by the incredible bird's-eye view over Yosemite Valley, Half Dome, and numerous waterfalls. The 360 degree vista is the best way to appreciate what Yosemite is about.
It is possible to hike up to Glacier point but as we were pressed for time we drove. The roads were windy and had to be taken at slow speeds, so it took almost 1/2 an hour to drive up there. You won't be disappointed though! The sights are amazing!
Why it's so special? Simply the views. You get to see Yosemite Valley and an awesome view of Half Dome, and Nevada Falls. Any photo you take from up here....what can I say? Kodak moment.
There are fabulous views from anywhere on the walkways. Shown is the 3 tiered Yosemite Falls, Yosemite Valley and Merced River. Wish I had a photo of someone perched out on the rock ledge.
One of the best-known views of Yosemite. Half Dome, Vernal and Nevada Falls, and the Sierra Nevadas are plainly visible. Not always accessible during winter or early spring.
You can reach this point by road or on a Hiking trail. The views of the valley are fantastic. The road may be closed in winter if there is a lot of snow.
This pretty rock formation overlooks the valley at Glacier Point. In the distance, you can see Yosemite Falls.
If you are afraid of flying but want an aerial view of the Yosemite valley, visit Glacier Point. You will literally feel like you are on top of the world and the view is absolutely stunning.