Sweeping views across the North Dome Trail in Yosemite National Park
G Seeger/Shutterstock.com

North Dome Trail

Published by Pat Dorri on February 16 2024

Are you an experienced hiker looking for a rewarding Yosemite adventure? Then North Dome Trail ticks plenty of boxes, with this lengthy and challenging trail culminating in stunning views of the iconic Half Dome from the opposite side of the valley.

An overview of the distance and difficulty hiking North Dome Trail
πŸšΆβ€β™€οΈ Distance6.5 miles
⏱️ Time4 to 5 hours
πŸ’ͺ DifficultyModerate/Advanced
πŸ”οΈ Elevation5,465 feet

Where can I find North Dome Trail within Yosemite National Park?

The North Dome Trail is located within Yosemite Valley. Use the Tioga Pass Entrance and head west through Yosemite along Tioga Road to reach North Dome Trail. You'll pass Tuolume Meadows and Tenaya Lake before you reach Porcupine Creek trailhead.

Here you can access the trailhead to North Dome, and there is a parking lot at Porcupine Creek Trailhead to use, or it's also possible to park on the roadside.

What makes this hike so special?

You'll find Indian Rock part of the way along the trail to North Dome, so it's a good stopping point if you're continuing on a longer hike, or also a good way to enjoy the rugged landscape between Tioga Road and Yosemite Valley if you don't have time for the full North Dome trail.

How we rate the different aspects of North Dome Trail
FeatureOur rating
Natural beauty and scenery⭐⭐⭐⭐
Wildlife spotting⭐⭐⭐
Peace and quiet⭐⭐⭐⭐
Natural white rock arch against the blue sky
Admire Indian Rock, one of the few natural rock arches in Yosemite National Park.
Kelly vanDellen/Shutterstock.com

What are the highlights of hiking North Dome Trail?

One of the most striking features of the North Dome Trail is view it offers of Half Dome, plus you can visit the Indian Rock Arch, one of very few natural granite arches in Yosemite.

  1. Half Dome - A renowned granite dome in Yosemite National Park, famous for its unique shape and challenging hike, with a final steep climb aided by cables!
  2. Indian Rock - Found along the North Dome Trail, it is recognised as one of the few granite arches, offering a unique feature to explore.
  3. North Dome - A rising granite peak providing hikers with a less crowded path and exceptional views of Half Dome.

When is the best time of year to visit North Dome Trail?

As Tioga Road is closed between November and May you won't be able to access the trailhead at this time of year, so visit during the warmer months and you can enjoy this incredible route.

When is the best time to visit North Dome Trail
Spring🌷 The trail becomes accessible as Tioga Pass opens, but expect some marshy conditions.
Summerβ˜€οΈ Summer is a popular time with clear trails and generally warmer weather, making it ideal for hiking.
AutumnπŸ‚ Fall offers cooler temperatures and fewer crowds, however early snow may start to settle.
Winter❄️ The trail is typically inaccessible during winter due to the closure of Tioga Road and heavy snow.

Common questions about hiking North Dome Trail

The stunning view of Half Dome and Indian Rock make this North Dome Trail a memorable route when you visit Yosemite National Park. If you fancy this more challenging trek then please check out our list of things to consider before you head off.

Is North Dome Trail easily accessible for those with mobility issues?

❌ No, North Dome Trail is not easily accessible for those with mobility issues. You can expect steep inclines and slippery surfaces.

Are there restrooms along North Dome Trail?

❌ No, there are no restrooms along North Dome Trail.

Are there refreshments and water stations along North Dome Trail?

β­• No, there are no refreshments or water stations along North Dome, so you need to bring own water and food.

❗ Both White Rock Lodge and Tuolumne Meadows Visitor Center are around a 20-minute drive.

Are dogs allowed along North Dome Trail?

❌ No, dogs are not allowed along North Dome Trail.

Are vehicles allowed along North Dome Trail?

❌ No, cars, electric scooters, and ATVs are not allowed on North Dome Trail.

Can you camp overnight along North Dome Trail (or nearby)?

β­• Yes, you can camp overnight near North Dome Trail if you have a wilderness permit.

β­• Porcupine Flat Campground is the nearest to the trailhead, but no for RVs and with limited facilities. Tuolumne Meadows Campground is closed for maintenance, but is a good choice once reopened.

Is there anything else to watch out for when I hike North Dome Trail?

The final stretch of the trail up to Indian Rock isn't always clearly marked so take your time to work out any junctions so that you don't miss out on this spectacular natural landmark.

Aerial photo taken from Washburn Point on a sunny day
Hiking North Dome Trail allows spectacular views of Yosemite highlight, Half Dome.
Benny Marty/Shutterstock.com