Vast ariel views of Yosemite Falls and Valley seen from Sentinel Dome Trail.
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Sentinel Dome Trail

Updated by Dianne Titos on December 7 2023

Looking for short hike that doesn't compromise on incredible views? Then head along moderately challenging Sentinel Dome Trail, with the opportunity to reach the summit of Sentinel Dome, and admire unrivalled views of Half Dome, El Capitan, and Yosemite Falls.

An overview of the distance and difficulty hiking Sentinel Dome Trail
πŸšΆβ€β™€οΈ Distance1.8 miles
⏱️ Time2 hours
πŸ’ͺ DifficultyEasy to Moderate
πŸ”οΈ Elevation Gain460 feet

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

You'll find Sentinel Dome Trail within Yosemite Valley. After entering at the South Entrance Point, head along Wawona Road, turn right onto Glacier Point Road, and then the trailhead is around 14 miles along Glacier Point Road before Glacier Point.

There's roadside parking on Glacier Point Road near the trailhead, however it is limited, so arrive early during peak seasons.

What makes this hike so special?

Take the Sentinel Dome Trail and you can reach the summit of Sentinel Dome, and enjoy 360-degree views of the Yosemite Valley. You can also extend the trail if you like, with a short detour to Taft Point, another famous Yosemite viewpoint.

How we rate the different aspects of Sentinel Dome Trail.
FeatureOur rating
Natural beauty and scenery⭐⭐⭐
Wildlife spotting⭐⭐⭐
Peace and quiet⭐⭐⭐
Accessibility⭐⭐⭐

View from Sentinel Dome towards Half Dome on a sunny day
Enjoy the views at the summit of Sentinel Dome overlooking Yosemite Valley and iconic sites such as Half Dome.
Stephen Moehle/Shutterstock.com

What are the highlights of hiking Sentinel Dome Trail?

As the Sentinel Dome Trail leads you to the summit of Sentinel Dome, with incredible views across top attractions in Yosemite National Park, this popular hike is ideal for a range of hikers, Time it right, and you can also witness particularly spectacular sunsets and sunrises.

  1. Sentinel Dome Summit - An unbeatable vantage point to marvel at the vastness of Yosemite's wilderness.
  2. Yosemite Valley - Seen as the heart of the park, you can get incredible views from Sentinel Dome peak across this glacial valley.
  3. Yosemite Falls - North America's tallest waterfall can be seen from the summit of the breath taking Sentinel Dome Trail.
  4. El Capitan - A colossal granite rock can be seen for this trails peak. Prominent on the landscape, it attracts climbers from around the world to ascend its sheer walls.

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

Sentinel Dome Trail is best visited late spring to early fall, when you can enjoy mild weather, clear trail conditions, and stunning views from the summit, without the challenges of winter snow.

When is the best time to visit Sentinel Dome Trail
SeasonConsiderations
Spring🌷Spring offers mild temperatures, blooming wildflowers, and unobstructed views across Yosemite Valley.
Summerβ˜€οΈ As a popular, accessible, hike, summer can be busier when the trail conditions are good and the views of Sentinel Dome are clear.
FallπŸ‚ Fall offers pretty and pleasant hiking conditions, and chance to experience Sentinel Dome with fewer crowds.
Winter❄️ You can access the trail in winter, but only on foot, as access to Glacier Point Road is prepared for cross-country skiing.

Common questions about hiking Sentinel Dome Trail

Sentinel Dome Trail offers the opportunity to head to an impressive viewpoint overlooking some of the best sites across Yosemite. This relatively short hike it fairly accessible to all, although make sure to pack plenty of water and layers of clothing for this trek.

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

β­• Yes, Sentinel Dome Trail is considered fairly accessible for those with mobility issues. However, there is some uneven ground towards the summit so this part is not accessible for those with wheelchairs or strollers.

Are there restrooms along Sentinel Dome Trail?

β­• Yes, there are restrooms near the trailhead of Sentinel Dome Trail.

Are there refreshments or water stations along Sentinel Dome Trail?

❌ No, there are no refreshments or water stations along Sentinel Dome Trail.

Are dogs allowed along Sentinel Dome Trail?

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

Are vehicles allowed along Sentinel Dome Trail?

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

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

❌ No, you can not overnight along Sentinel Dome Trail.

❗ For those staying overnight, Bridalveil Creek Campground is along Glacier Point Road around 5 miles before the trailhead.

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

It's particularly windy at the summit of Sentinel Dome, so bring layers and prepare for changing conditions.

Summit of Sentinel Dome, a granite dome in the south wall of Yosemite Valley
At the end of the trail you are rewarded with stunning views from the top of Sentinel Dome.
Benny Marty/Shutterstock.com