Hike The Taft Point Overlook And Fissures 2

Hike the Taft Point Overlook and Fissures

In This Guide
  • Turn by Turn Directions to Taft Point Overlook
  • How to Get to the Trailhead
  • Everything You Need to Know To Prepare for the Hike
Distance2.5 miles (4 km)
Hike Time1 Hour (Total)
Difficulty (?)Easy
Total Ascent (?)250 feet (76m)
Highest Elevation7,730 feet (2356m)
Fees & PermitsPark Entry Fee
Dog FriendlyNo
Park Website (?)Yosemite National Park
Park Phone209-372-0200
Stay In Touch - - -

The 2.5-mile hike to Taft Point Overlook and the Fissures offers a lot of incredible scenery away from the crowds, all for a small effort. After hiking through lush forest, you arrive at the fissures; massive gashes cut into the granite cliffs. And from there, it’s a short walk to Taft Point, which offers sweeping views into the Yosemite Valley. The hike is downhill to Taft Point, and then has a mild uphill back to the start on Glacier Point Road. Do yourself a favor, get away from the crowds along the road and enjoy the pristine wilderness on this hike. You won’t be disappointed.

If you bring children on this hike, please make sure they are supervised when you reach Taft Point and the fissures area; there is no guardrail.

Where is Taft Point Overlook?

The trailhead for Taft Point is on Glacier Point Road, which is closed in the winter. Check the park website for the status of any road closures.

Use this trailhead address:
Taft Point Trailhead, Glacier Point Road, Yosemite National Park, CA 95389

The trailhead is about 6 miles after you turn-off onto Glacier Point Road, and the parking lot is on the left-hand side of the road. There is also parking along Glacier Point Road if the lot is full. The trailhead is about 2 miles before the end of the road at Glacier Point.

Sentinel Dome Hike Directions 2
Here’s the lot on the left as you drive toward Glacier Point.
Traf Point Overlook Hike Directions 2
The parking lot is small but you can park down along Glacier Point Road if it’s full.
Traf Point Overlook Hike Directions 3
There is a primitive bathroom at the trailhead.

Gear for the Hike

La Sportiva Spire

The La Sportiva Spire boots feel like comfortable sneakers but offer the protection of hiking boots. They’re great on everything from short hikes to longer hikes of 10+ miles. You don’t want to skimp on your feet.
Reviews & Lowest Prices: WomenMen

Opsrey Stratos Blue

I test a lot of gear, and for short to medium day hikes, travel, and everyday use, the Osprey Stratos (men) and Osprey Sirrus (women) are consistently the best. They’re lightweight, hold a hydration bladder to make drinking water easy, have lots of pockets to organize gear, and most importantly, are incredibly comfortable. Check out the reviews; they are impressive.
Reviews & Colors Here: Osprey Stratos (men) and Osprey Sirrus (women) 

Garmin Inreach Mini Beacon

If you’re not familiar with the Garmin InReach technology, it allows you to send and receive text messages where you don’t have cell phone signals. You can also get weather reports and trigger an SOS to emergency responders. Even if you don’t have an emergency, sending a quick message telling a loved one that you’re okay or are running late is well worth the cost. The Mini fits in your palm and weighs next to nothing. Read my review and see the lowest prices and reviews at REI (or Amazon).

Here’s my complete gear list that I personally use, have tested, and recommend, updated February 2020.See All of My Best Gear Picks Here

No company pays me to promote or push a product, all the gear you see here is gear I use and recommend. If you click an a link and buy gear, I get a small commission that helps offset website expenses. There is no cost to you.

Taft Point Overlook Trail Maps

Click To View Map

Hike the Taft Point Overlook and Fissures Map Downloads

Download the Hike GPX File

View a Printable PDF Hike Map

Fenix 6 Pro

I’m a big fan of GPS watches to follow my GPX track (which I also use as a sleep, wellness, and fitness tracker) and my current watch is the Fenix 6 Pro Solar (full review here). I load my GPX tracks onto the watch to make sure I’m in the right place, and if not, the onboard topo maps allow me to navigate on the fly. It’s pricey but it has a great battery, accurate GPS, and tons of functionality. If you want something similar without the maps and big price tag, check out the Garmin Instinct which is a great buy (prices on REI and Amazon) and does a lot of the same things.

3d Map

Taft Point 3d Map
As you can see here, the trail is relatively flat with some little ups and downs until you get to the cliff area, where it goes down a bit. Overall it’s a doable hike without any big climbs.

Taft Point Overlook and Fissures Hike Directions

Traf Point Overlook Hike Directions 5
Walk down from the bathrooms and you’ll see this sign. Make the left toward Taft Point.
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The trail is easy to follow as you head down and away from the parking area.
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Keep heading straight, avoiding any of the small side trails to the left which lead back to the parking area.
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Soon the trail makes its way into the forest.
Traf Point Overlook Hike Directions 1
Cross over Sentinel Creek. The creek is small and you don’t have to get your feet wet.
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You’ll come to a trail off to your right, go straight to head to Taft Point.
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The trail continues through the lush forest.
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There’s one section that can get really muddy. There are logs and stones that you can balance your way over. Or if you have hiking boots, you can just go right through it.
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Soon you’ll emerge out of the trees and you’ll see the cliff in the distance. This section has the biggest downhill, which you’ll have to walk back up on the way out.
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Follow the trail toward the cliff.
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Keep your eyes open to your right for the fissures. There are several of them.
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This is the fissure that you often see in photos. Be careful around them, there is no guardrail and it’s a straight drop.

Granite is formed underground, under tremendous pressure. When the granite gets pushed to the surface and the pressure is relieved, the rocks expand and crack apart, forming these fissures.

Traf Point Overlook Hike Directions 15
Right after the fissures you’ll reach the first overlook with the fence.
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You’ll get great views into the Yosemite Valley from Taft Point.

Taft Point is named after the 27th president, William Taft, who had lunch here with John Muir in 1909. They were supposed to ride on horseback down to the valley, but Taft, at 300lbs, was too heavy, and had to walk instead. After finishing the (downhill) hike drenched in sweat, Taft said “while I am tired from the open-air exercise, I feel greatly the better for it.”

Traf Point Overlook Hike Directions 16
From the overlook with the fence you’ll notice another overlook to the left. That’s our next stop.
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Follow the smaller trail that heads towards the point.
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Keep heading toward the big boulders.
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When you get to the boulders, you’re a the point.
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This overlook offers nice views to the west down Yosemite Valley, including El Capitan.

There are no guardrails here and the drop is 3,000 feet. People have fallen to their death here. Please be safe and keep your distance.

From here, just head back the way you came and that’s the hike!

Did something change on this hike? If so, please contact me and let me know. I'll update the guide.