Glacier Point at Twilight
Glacier Point at Twilight

Glacier Point Road

It's the little differences that make life interesting. Take Taft Point, for instance: stand at the railing here, and the elevation is 7,500 feet (2,285 meters). Take a step to the north, and the elevation becomes 4,000 feet (1,200 meters). Just thinking about that step can do funny things to your stomach. You see a lot of people at Taft Point lying on their bellies and inching out towards, but never getting quite up to, the edge of the cliff. And you see a lot more people touching the iron railings but never actually putting their weight against them. If you like your spectacular vistas mingled with a touch of fear, then the hikes along Glacier Point Road are for you. Though Glacier Point itself has solid stone walls that people seem willing to lean over, Taft Point has just a single spindly iron railing, and Dewey, Stanford, and Crocker Points, along with Sentinel Dome, have no protections of any kind for the absentminded hiker. You'll definitely want to keep a close eye on your kids if you're hiking along Glacier Point Road - but the views are worth it. You haven't really seen Yosemite Valley until you've looked down on it from one of the trails that start from along the 16 miles (26 km) of Glacier Point Road.

Current Status:  The road will be closed until the spring of 2023 for resurfacing and repairs. See the park service's current conditions page for the latest official news on road and trail closures. You can also get inside-Yosemite road conditions by calling 209/372-0200 and choosing 1 at each of the first two voice prompts.

Glacier Point Road Lodging:  There may have never been a better balcony view than the one from the Glacier Point Hotel, which was completed in 1917. Has there ever been a finer place to order a post-hike beer? We'll never know, because the hotel burned down in 1969. The only summer lodging available along the Glacier Point Road now is the Bridalveil Creek Campground, roughly halfway along the Glacier Point Road's 16-mile length. In the winter, the Glacier Point cafeteria and the Ostrander Lake Ski Hut both serve as overnight lodging for cross-country skiers (reservations required). The closest conventional lodging is Yosemite West, located off Highway 41 a little under half a mile south of Glacier Point Road's western terminus. It's a collection of privately owned properties, partly inside and partly outside park boundaries, with a bed & breakfast and a variety of cabin & condo rentals.

Food:  The cafeteria at Glacier Point serves the sort of fast food, candy, and sundry you typically find at a gas station food mart.

Gas:  There's no gas along Glacier Point Road; your nearest alternative is Wawona, 17 miles (27 km) south of the Glacier Point Road turnoff.

Bathrooms:  There are outhouse-style bathrooms scattered all along the Glacier Point Road, including at Summit Meadow and most of the trailheads. Until repairs are completed at the Glacier Point bathrooms, however (and they seem to have been underway for several years now), the only available plumbing is at Chinquapin, the turnoff where the Glacier Point Road begins. In the winter you can also find working bathrooms (and food, too, for that matter), at Badger Pass.

Seasonal Closures:  The Glacier Point Road closes in the winter. More precisely, it closes five miles in, at Badger Pass, and the remaining 10 miles of the road to Glacier Point are converted to a ski & snowshoe trail. It typically closes after the first big winter storm arrives in November and opens again in late May, but both dates can vary. Badger Pass usually doesn't open until a month or so after the road closes and closes a month or so before the road opens again in the spring, and during these intervals the entire road will be closed.

Bicycle Weekend:  People thinking of bicycling in Yosemite are usually thinking about the hill-free bike paths in eastern Yosemite Valley, which are indeed a lot of fun (and you can rent bicycles at Half Dome Village, though it's none too cheap). But if you've got quads of steel, you should know that nearly every year, the weekend before Glacier Point Road opens to general traffic, it opens exclusively to bicycles, so for a couple days you can ride in peace and tilt over at 60 degrees on that hairpin turn just before Glacier Point without worrying about distracted drivers in rented RVs (though caveats apply: you might encounter snowplows or other work crews, and the park service doesn't generally guarantee that the road will be safe or passable all the way to Glacier Point). The park service usually does a bicycle weekend for the Tioga Road, too, in case you have not just quads of steel but the lungs of a roided-up sherpa as well.

Hikes Along Glacier Point Road:

Trail Distance
miles (km)
Elevation Change
feet (meters)
Crowd Factor Scenery Factor Difficulty
4-Mile Trail 4.7 (7.5)* 3,200 (975) 4-Mile Trail Crowd Factor: 4/5 Four-Mile Trail Scenery Rating: 5/5
Bridalveil Creek 5.5 (9)* 100 (30) Bridalveil Creek Crowd Factor: 2/5 Bridalveil Creek Scenery Rating: 4/5
Dewey, Crocker, & Stanford Points 7.8 (12.5)* 300 (90)* Dewey/Crocker/Stanford Points Crowd Factor: 2/5 Dewey/Crocker/Stanford Points Scenery Rating: 4/5
Glacier Point 1 (1.6) < 50 Glacier Point Crowd Factor: 5/5 Glacier Point Scenery Rating: 5/5
Illilouette Falls 4 (6.5) 1,400 (420) Illilouette Falls Crowd Factor: 3/5 Illilouette Falls Scenery Rating: 4/5
McGurk Meadow 1.8 (2.9) 100 (30) McGurk Meadow Crowd Factor: 2/5 McGurk Meadow Scenery Rating: 3/5
Mono Meadow 1.2 (2)* 300 (90) Mono Meadow Crowd Factor: 1/5 Mono Meadow Scenery Rating: 2/5
Ostrander Lake 12.4 (20) 1,600 (490) Ostrander Lake Crowd Factor: 3/5 Ostrander Lake Scenery Rating: 3/5
Panorama Trail 8.5 (13.5) 3,200 (975) Panorama Trail Crowd Factor: 4/5 Panorama Trail Scenery Rating: 5/5
Pohono Trail 13 (21)* 3,700 (1,130)* Pohono Trail Crowd Factor: 3/5 Pohono Trail Scenery Rating: 5/5
Sentinel Dome 2.2 (3.5) 400 (120) Sentinel Dome Crowd Factor: 3/5 Sentinel Dome Scenery Rating: 4/5
Taft Point and the Fissures 2.2 (3.5) 200 (60) Taft Point Crowd Factor: 4/5 Taft Point Scenery Rating: 4/5
Washburn Point 0.1 15 (5) Washburn Point Crowd Factor: 4/5 Washburn Point Scenery Rating: 4/5
Westfall Meadow 2.8 (4.5) 100 (30) Westfall Meadow Crowd Factor: 1/5 Westfall Meadow Scenery Rating: 3/5

* For hikes that have more than one possible route, this table lists distance and elevation for the shortest route. Or the longest one. Whatever seemed more useful at the moment. Listed distances for most hikes are round trip; click on hike names for more details.

Hikes by Thumbnail

Glacier Point Road Historical Opening and Closing Dates

Year Opening Date Closing Date
2022 Closed -
2021 April 30 December 7
2020 June 11 November 5
2019 May 10 November 25
2018 April 28 November 20
2017 May 11 November 29
2016 April 19 November 16
2015 March 28 November 2
2014 April 14 November 28
2013 May 3 November 18
2012 April 20 November 8
2011 May 27 January 18, 2012
2010 May 29 November 7
2009 May 5 November 12
2008 May 2 November 12
2007 May 4 December 6
2006 May 25 November 27
2005 May 25 ?
2004 May 14 ?
2003 May 31 October 31
2002 May 17 November 5
2001 May 15 ?
2000 May 15 November 9
1999 May 28 November 23
1998 July 1 November 6
1997 May 22 November 12
1996 May 24 November 5
1995 July 1 December 11