Hike To Artist Point in Yosemite National Park
|In This Guide|
|Distance||2.2 miles (3.5 km)|
|Hike Time||1:30-2 Hours (Total)|
|Total Ascent (?)||750 feet (229m)|
|Highest Elevation||4,910 feet (1497m)|
|Fees & Permits||Park Entry Fee|
|Park Website (?)||Yosemite National Park|
|Stay In Touch||Newsletter - Instagram - YouTube - Facebook|
Just a mile away from the popular Tunnel View overlook, this hike to Artist Point in Yosemite National Park feels like it’s a world away. Simply a short hike away from the parking area and you leave the crowds behind, get a sample of Yosemite’s famous trails, and then arrive at Artist Point, with incredible views of the Yosemite Valley. And most likely, unlike Tunnel View, you’ll have the spot all to yourself. It’s a great hike for all levels and a great leg stretcher if you’re arriving in the Yosemite Valley.
This is one spot that no one should ignore. The view was breathtaking – Google Reviewer
How to Get To Artist Point in Yosemite
The trail to Artist Point is a little tricky because it’s not one of the more popular trails in the park; the park service does not actively promote it. But the trail is there and is easy enough to hike.
But first, you’ll be parking at the famous Tunnel View Overlook. Use this trailhead address:
Tunnel View, Wawona Road, California 95389
There are no bathrooms on the hike. The closest ones are about 2 miles down the road at Bridalveil Falls.
Parking can be tough at Tunnel View because it’s a popular spot, but people are always coming and going. If there’s not a spot open, wait a few minutes, and something should open up.
Gear for the Hike
I do this hike in light hiking gear, but you can get away with fitness or casual clothes as well. I recommend good hiking boots; these are “trail trails.” If you have trekking poles, bring them along to help on the climb and descent.
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: Women – Men
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)
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 May 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.
Artist Point Trail Maps
As I mentioned earlier, the park service doesn’t actively promote this hike. The first half of the hike is on the maintained but rugged Pohono Trail, then it makes a left turn onto Old Wawona Road, one of the toll roads that led into the valley before the tunnel was built. Old Wawona road is wide and easy to follow, but there can be downed trees. I’ve done this hike many times and there’s always been a way to climb over or around any obstacle on the trail. But you might have to scoot over a fallen tree with your butt or duck under a branch or two.
Hike To Artist Point in Yosemite National Park Map Downloads
Download the Hike GPX File
View a Printable PDF Hike Map
Why Is It Called Artist Point?
- Thomas Ayres came to California looking to hit it big during the gold rush, but had no luck.
- He started drawing landscapes and in 1855 was hired by Hutchings’ Illustrated California Magazine to sketch the valley. The magazine wanted to attract visitors to the area in order to capitalize on tourism. The sketch appeared in the magazine and was a great hit.
- The drawing isn’t the exact view that you see at Artist Point. It’s closer to the view from Inspiration Point, further up the Pohono Trail. So why is Artist Point called that if Ayres didn’t create the drawing there? It’s believed that it’s simply an error made by the early mapmakers who wanted to document the spot for visitors wishing to experience the famous view from the magazine.
- Ayres tragically died while traveling back to the East Coast with more drawings. His boat sunk in a storm off of Malibu, CA.
Artist Point Hike Directions
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Heads up, many trails and parks are closed because of the Covid pandemic. Please call the park or visit the website listed at the beginning of the hike to see what the status is.
Pohono comes from the Native Americans who lived south of this area, the Pohonochee. The early name for Bridalveil Falls was “Pohono.”
The trail that you are on now used to be one of the original toll roads into Yosemite from Wawona. It was first used by stagecoaches, and is sometimes knows as the Old Wawona Stagecoach Road. Early automobiles had a tough time on the steep grades, so the tunnel was built. This road was closed when the tunnel opened in 1933 and has fallen into disrepair since then. You can still see some sections of broken pavement as you hike.
From here, just turn around and go back the way you came to complete the hike!
Did something change on this hike? If so, please contact me and let me know. I'll update the guide.