West Coast Readers' Choice Hikes: Sentinel Dome, Yosemite NP

Bag a granite peak with big views and small crowds.
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Bag a granite peak with big views and small crowds.

At 2.2 miles round-trip with only 460 feet of elevation gain, this jaunt to the second highest dome in Yosemite National Park barely takes an hour. Which is a very good thing. “This leaves you most of the day to lounge on the summit, gazing over one of the best views in the world,” says Lori Pontious. From the trailhead, hike through towering Jeffrey pines 1.1 miles to a clearing and the sloped cap of this 8,100-foot granite summit.

Hike Sentinel Dome

Pack a camera and a camp chair; you’ll want to settle into this vista. Looking west, you’ll peer down Yosemite Valley and the Merced River canyon and spot El Capitan and Yosemite Falls. To the east, pick out Nevada Falls, Half Dome, and Clouds Rest, and dozens of High Sierra peaks beyond. Return the way you came, or sidehike on the Pohono Trail to add 3.3 miles and views from Taft Point.

Visit Sentinel Dome

Driving From the Glacier Point entrance, take Glacier Point Rd. 10 miles to the trailhead.

Map and GuideTrails Illustrated Yosemite National Park ($12, natgeomaps
.com); Yosemite National Park, by Jeffrey P. Schaffer ($20, wildernesspress.com)

Contact (209) 372-0200, nps.gov/yose