Don't get lost
Jen · Texas · November 13, 2020
We went to watch the sunset during Covid times so there weren't too many people- we were lucky. It was an easy hike, and not too long of one. We stayed at the top till the sun went down. When we left it was almost dark. We parked at a parking lot that was further than the one closest to the dome (we did not realize there was one closer). There wasn't a good trail back and we almost got lost in the woods. Luckily we found some hikers and they offered to give us a ride back to our car. Off topic- we also felt vibrations on top of the dome whilst watching the sunset- I searched the internet to find why this is but didn't find anything on the topic. It was a great sight to see!
Amazing Views! Just take your time.
Terry OBrien · New York City · September 9, 2019
Views at the top of Sentinel Dome are incredible, and it's a great place to just hang out and enjoy the sky, the air, the view, and the granite. I have artificial knees, so I use trekking poles, and I took my time. You do have to pay attention coming down from the dome, as the granite is moderately steep. But totally worth every step. It's a very inspiring place.
Beautiful views, but a little tricky hiking for us middle aged folks
Marcus Wilson · South Carolina · July 31, 2019
First, I want to thank this website for helping us find this great hike. The views are stunning, in all directions. What a beautiful view of Yosemite! I would recommend this hike to most everyone, avid hiker or not. But I will say one member of our party struggled with the middle point of the trail before the dome on some seriously uneven granite, which is always a little slippery. We saw one elderly lady slip and bust her knee pretty good during this point. It was very easy for our kids, though. Just don't expect the ease of, say, the trail to Lower Yosemite Falls paved trail.
So much bang for your hiking buck!
ChrisO · Santa Ynez Valley. CA · October 31, 2016
360 degree views at 8100 ft are hard to beat. On one visit met a young guy from Kentucky who was so blown away he wanted to move to Californy just because of SD. He had just been to Grand Canyon etc. But said this was the topper. Spend at least an hour soaking in the vastness.
Eli Flicker · Minnesota · August 12, 2016
I did both Sentinel Dome and Taft Point, and I thought that Sentinel Dome was a lot better than Taft Point. Sentinel Dome gave you a great panorama of the park and a good view of Yosemite Falls.
Short, (relatively) easy hike with amazing views.
ABP · Reno, NV · July 11, 2016
We had this hike marked as a "maybe if we could find time for it." On our way toward Glacier Point we drove by this trailhead and decided, "what the heck, let's check it out." Wow, are we glad we did! The hike is pretty easy (1.1 miles each way) but does get a little steep at the end (nothing that slowing down wouldn't help with if you get winded easily). The views at the top are incredible. Seeing El Capitan, Half Dome, the valley, Yosemite Falls, Nevada Falls, and so much more were awesome. Plus, seeing the famous fallen Jeffrey pine was awesome as well. So glad we did this hike. Highly recommended to anyone! If you're debating between Sentinel Dome and Glacier Point...choose Sentinel.
Sally · Temecula · September 25, 2015
Wow! It is hard to find the words to describe this place. First of all, the hike was easy to moderate and not very crowded. When we got to the top of the dome, I was completely blown away by the 360 degree view. It was so vast and grand, I had a very difficult time deciding which way to look. So, I walked around the perimeter a few times just taking it all in. Of course, we took a bunch of amazing photos, in almost every direction.
We got up there around 5:00 pm and thought we would eat our picnic dinner while watching the sunset. However, it was really windy and too beautiful to sit down and eat. So, we just hung out and took pictures until the sunset. Then we hid behind a rock, protected from the wind, and ate our dinner. Then the wind mostly died down, and all of the other people left. We had the whole place to ourselves and enjoyed watching the stars come out. I think we stayed up there until about 10 pm, and hiked back to the car with mostly just moonlight to light our way. It was one of the most incredible hikes and places I have ever done and seen!
We had been to Glacier Point the night before and enjoyed the beauty of the light of the setting sun on Half Dome, but did not enjoy all of the crowds. It was a much easier hike than Sentinel, so I understand why more people go to Glacier Point. However, I will go back to Sentinel Dome any day over Glacier.
The reward is at the top
Mark Yotter · Indiana · December 20, 2014
This flatland Indiana boy was just awestruck by the mountains of Yosemite. We were on a limited time schedule and were looking for a shorter hike before we had to leave. This trail was just perfect for our visit. As was mentioned in the hike story, the trail itself isn't necessarily spectacular, because it is coming around the back side of the mountain over rubble and scrub. But my oldest daughter and I were able to walk up this moderate trail. Only the last couple hundred yards were steep climbing, and at that point, the trail widens out to twenty yards wide, so there's plenty of width for everyone to spread out and go at their own pace. But the reward of the view at the top is worth the climb ten times over. It's magnificent to stand on a mountain top and look DOWN at other mountain peaks. Even though we were there the first week of July, it wasn't crowded. Maybe twenty people or so on the mountaintop, spread out over several hundred square yards wasn't crowded at all. My only regret is that we only had a half hour until time to start back down. I can't wait to go back again and plan for more time here and convince my wife to go up with me. I don't overuse the word "awesome" like many people do, I reserve it for the few places where it really applies. And this mountaintop is AWESOME and well worth the moderate short hike to the top.
Better Views than Glacier Point with easy Add On Rim Hike To Taft Point
Paul · Devon, PA · July 21, 2014
Hike the easy mile or so to Sentinel Dome for less crowded and better views than Glacier Point. Great spot for lunch but instead of returning back to the lot, take the hike out along the rim to Taft Point (not back to the parking lot). You will rewarded with spectacular views throughout and end up at the equally cool Taft Point and fissures before returning the lot. It's under 6 miles round trip and fairly easy hiking as you already drove up to the elevation. We actually did the reverse way, Taft Point and followed the signs to Sentinel Dome heading left. You'll be taking hundreds of pictures regardless.
Greatest View In Yosemite
Lorie Marge · Sonoma Co, CA · April 15, 2014
The trail to the top of the dome is a bit steep the last 10-15 min, but SO WORTH YOUR EFFORTS. I have taken this hike 3 times when the Jeffery Pine was dead, but still standing. Walking the circumference of the dome, he was able to walk further out than I felt comfortable. We took pictures of Yosemite Falls and Vernal/Nevada Falls I believe, from that Dome. I climbed on several erratic rocks, stood, and wiggled one rock side to side a bit while he took my picture. We both took pictures of the Jeffery Pine from many angles, and his turned out so well that we had it enlarged, framed, and hung on our wall. My family thought the picture was exceptional! I liked the pictures I took from other angles as well, but they did not make it to the living room wall. Another time my sister and I hiked up to Sentinel Dome for those fantastic views. She felt uncomfortable walking close to the 'edge' and asked me to come closer to the center also. The EDGE is whereever you start feeling uncomfortable. Absolutely DO IT!
Karla Gray · Decatur, AL · August 24, 2013
Our family made this hike on our first visit to Yosemite. My husband and I are in our 50's, our kids in their 20's. Parking is limited, so I recommend arriving early. Lovely (easy) hike through the woods leads to the Dome. Steep, but short, hike up the Dome. Hiking boots a must! THE VIEWS FROM THE TOP ARE SPECTACULAR! This hike is not to be missed! Sentinel Dome gives you great views of Yosemite and Nevada Falls, as well as Half Dome without the crowds.
Not to be missed.
Fred Glasser · Orange, CA · June 30, 2013
I did this hike my first afternoon at Yosemite, after seeing Glacier Point first. I'm not an experienced hiker, and so I was taken off guard by the steepness of the trail. Kept on. When we finally made it to the bottom of the dome, I wondered how we were going to get to the top. Going up the stone wasn't so bad. Reaching the top gave nothing but breathtaking views. Not just the altitude and my fatigue. The wind was howling. My hat has a strap, so it stayed on. My son's hat blew off, yet I was able to pick it up without going flying into space. Was scared when starting to go back down the stone, but when we made it, I was thrilled. This hike should be a must for anyone going to Yosemite.
A Challenge, but Worth It
Betsy · Rochester, NY · November 27, 2012
My husband and I are in our 60's and did this hike last May. Climbing over the rocks and boulders, and over or under the fallen tree, was a bit of a challenge. It was very difficult for me when we got to the top because I was in sneakers instead of hiking boots that could grab the rock a little better. Because of that, I sat on a boulder halfway up while my husband went to the very top. I was just too scared of losing my footing and being lost forever. My husband got some great video and pictures. The weather was perfect, but pretty windy. Coming back down, I couldn't stop from taking one picture after another of what we just climbed. We had never done anything like that before. Plus, we wanted to be able to brag to our children that their parents can still do these things!
It is well worth the hike. But, if you are going to do this hike, make sure you have good shoes for hiking, not flip-flops or sandals as we saw many people wearing.
Impressive views make this hike-and-scramble worth it
Robert & Susan Dunn · Little Rock, Arkansas · September 27, 2012
The views from atop Sentinel Dome are quite impressive – well worth the hike to the dome and the scramble to the top. The top of the dome features nice views of Half Dome and Nevada Fall.
As is nearly always the case with domes, it’s quite windy on the top of Sentinel Dome; you may finally get to put that chin strap on your favorite hiking hat to good use. Once you reach the base of the dome, there’s no real trail; just find your way to the top (a “switchback” approach seems to work better than a direct assault).
Sentinel Dome offers a somewhat different kind of “dome” experience than, say, Pothole Dome or Lembert Dome in Tuolumne Meadows – resist the temptation to skip Sentinel Dome just because you’ve done (or are going to do) either or both of those two. Watch out for the fallen tree you have to crawl UNDER along the trail! It’s an interesting obstacle.
Poor Man's Half Dome
mrblister · Nebraska · September 25, 2012
Did this hike as part of 4 Mile Trail/Taft Pt./Panarama Trail loop. The hike from Glacier Pt. is nothing special (provided you don't get smacked by a bus), but Sentinel Dome gets top marks for the summit views. You get almost everything that Half Dome provides, without the clenching and near-death experience. Geezers can do this hike from a nearby parking lot. One rock on top has a metal disc with stuff written on it. Shutterbugs will snap a few of the most famous dead tree in Yosemite. On the risk/reward scale, this is one of the best investments in the park.
Great hike for families
Michelle · Florida · September 13, 2012
This is a great way to hike your first dome. Also a great hike to do after Taft Point. As we approached the dome I kept wondering where we were actually going to go up. Impressive to see the dome as you hike up to it and then be on top of it.
We stayed up there for over an hour, found a spot to nestle in on a rock, nap, relax and enjoy the 360 degree view.
I highly recommend this for a nice hike before watching the sun set at Glacier Point. Windy on top but beautiful.
Gotta be on your Must Do List of Hikes
Bret · Central Florida · July 14, 2012
Very doable hike. The only hike easier than this one with comparable views is Taft Point. The last few hunderd yards up the dome are easy enough a 3 year old could manage with no problem.
The views are indescribable. 360 degree panorama. Reverse Tunnel View, Yosemite Falls, Half Dome, Mt. Starr King. And, everything in between.
Some folks think that short hikes can't be that good and just overlook them. Don't be one of those folks. Take this hike. You will love it. I talked to a lot of folks who say that the top of Sentinel Dome is their favorite spot in the park.
Reward for the effort: 5 out of 5.
Loved this hike! Great views!
Kim · Tucson, AZ · October 11, 2011
What a great hike with a lot of reward for not a whole lot of time. I'd recommend hiking both the Sentinel Dome trail and to Taft Point. Both are worth seeing and both are so different (especially for only being 2 miles away from each other).
Randy and Lauren Wagner · Tulsa, OK · July 22, 2011
This hike is short enough and moderate enough that families can do it. There is a 1/2 mile steep section at the end, but half of that is a scramble up the bare dome which is really a unique experience. The payoff is a fantastic view of Yosemite Valley.
Great way to start a Yosemite trip
Sara · Connecticut · July 12, 2011
We did this hike, combined with the Taft, via the connecting Pohono trail loop as mentioned on this website (but not mentioned at all by our concierge!). While the slight elevation made us a little gaspy at first, the hike was not difficult. The surprise sudden view of Yosemite Falls brought out-loud-yelling by each successive hiking group as they climbed the dome. The view is just awesome. The loop around is not expanded view breath-taking, but it is quiet forest at its best. We were alone most of the way. When we got to what I think was Sentinel creek, we veered off and found a perfect lunch spot overlooking Yosemite Falls. WHAT A GREAT MOMENT. There was no problem finding the next trail, and the view of El Capitan was similarly impressive. All in, the whole family (myself and two teenagers) loved this hike.