Hike To Artist Point In Yosemite National Park

Hike To Artist Point in Yosemite National Park

In This Guide
  • Turn by Turn Directions to Artist Point
  • How to Get to the Trailhead
  • Everything You Need to Know To Prepare for the Hike
Distance2.2 miles (3.5 km)
Hike Time1:30-2 Hours (Total)
Difficulty (?)Moderate
Total Ascent (?)750 feet (229m)
Highest Elevation4,910 feet (1497m)
Fees & PermitsPark Entry Fee
Dog FriendlyNo
Park Website (?)Yosemite National Park
Park Phone209-372-0200
Stay In Touch - - -

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.

Artist Point Parking
There are two parking areas at Tunnel View. The hike starts at the parking area on the southeast side of the overlooks area. You can park in either lot; everything is close enough to walk.

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.

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 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.

Click To View Map

Hike To Artist Point in Yosemite National Park 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.

Elevation Profile

Artist Point Elevation
There’s a climb up to the junction at Old Wawona Road, then a gentle downhill to Artist Point. To get back, you do the route in reverse.

3D Map

Artist Point 3d Map
The trail climbs up above the Tunnel View parking area to the ridge, then continues along to Artist Point.

Why Is It Called Artist Point?

Thomas Ayres Drawing Of Yosemite Valley
Artist Thomas Ayres’s famous drawing of Yosemite Valley, reported to be drawn at Artist Point, but not.

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.

Artist Point Trail Yosemite 2
The hike starts in the smaller parking lot away from the edge.
Artist Point Trail Yosemite 3
Look for the staircase up the hill.
Artist Point Trail Yosemite 4
There’s an old trail sign here. From the looks of the sign, you can tell that this isn’t a main trail anymore. The Pohono Trail goes all the way to Glacier Point, 13 miles away.
Artist Point Trail Yosemite 17
As you climb you’ll leave the parking lot at Tunnel View and its crowds behind.
Artist Point Trail Yosemite 5
Continue up the steep Pohono Trail. Having good footwear helps here.

Pohono comes from the Native Americans who lived south of this area, the Pohonochee. The early name for Bridalveil Falls was “Pohono.”

Artist Point Trail Yosemite 6
The trail gets less steep and more shaded as it climbs through pines.
Artist Point Trail Yosemite 7
Look for logs like these in front of you, which block side trails and keep you on the main Pohono Trail. The trail zigzags up switchbacks as it climbs.
Artist Point Trail Yosemite 8
Some parts of the trail go over slabs of granite.
Artist Point Trail Yosemite 9
And again, more switchbacks and logs blocking the side trails to point you in the right direction.
Artist Point Trail Yosemite 10
There are sections that are fairly rocky and steep.
Artist Point Trail Yosemite 11
And then at points it switches to more of a regular dirt trail.
Artist Point Trail Yosemite 12
At the junction with the Old Wawona Road, make the left.
Artist Point Trail Yosemite 13
Once you make the left you’ll see this sign for Bridalveil Falls. We’re not going that far, just about a half mile down the trail to Artist Point.

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.

Artist Point Trail Yosemite 14
This trail isn’t actively maintained by the park service and has the occasional downed tree. Get ready to climb over, under, and around some. It’s not so bad though, and I’ve seen all kinds of folks navigate the trail here.
Artist Point Trail Yosemite 15
As you descend you’ll start getting glimpses through the trees into Yosemite Valley.
Artist Point Trail Yosemite 16
And when you reach the first unobstructed viewpoint you’ve reached Artist Point. There’s no sign or marker, but you’ll know it when you see it. If you reached a creek (Artist Creek), you’ve gone too far. You can also load the GPX file I have in this guide, there’s a waypoint for Artist Point.

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.