Sentinel Dome Hike View

Sentinel Dome Hike

In This Guide
  • Turn-by-Turn Directions and Visuals
  • How to Get to the Sentinel Dome Trailhead
  • Planning Your Hike
Distance2.2 miles (3.5 km)
Hike Time1 Hour (Total)
Difficulty (?)Moderate
Total Ascent (?)530 feet (162m)
Highest Elevation8,123 feet (2476m)
Fees & PermitsPark Entry Fee
Dog FriendlyNo
Park Website (?)Yosemite National Park
Park Phone209-372-0200
Stay In Touch - - -

The Sentinal Dome hike offers everything that’s great about Yosemite National Park in an easy 2.2-mile package. You get to hike on the iconic trails of the Sierras, you get to climb a big granite dome, and you get the best panoramic views of all the attractions in the park. Even if you’re not an experienced hiker, you need to put this trail on your list, it’s worth it.

If there are thunderstorms or lightning, do not attempt this hike. The domes frequently get struck by lightning.

Where is Sentinel Dome?

The trailhead for Sentinel Dome 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.

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Here’s the lot on the left as you drive toward Glacier Point.
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The parking lot fills up quickly, but there are always people coming and going. If you can’t find a spot, you can park down on the side of Glacier Point Road.
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The trailhead has primitive bathrooms.

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.

Sentinel Dome Trail Maps

The trail to Sentinel Dome is easy to follow and sees hundreds of hikers each day. There are some short sections that go over granite and are marked with cairns (small stacks of stone).

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Here’s a cairn on a granite section of the trail to Sentinel Dome.
Click To View Map

Sentinel Dome Hike 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

Sentinel Dome Hike Elevation
The beginning of the hike has a little up and down, followed by a gradual climb, and then a last little steep section up to the top of Sentinel Dome.

3d Map

Sentinel Dome Hike 3d Map
The hike heads from the trailhead to the bottom of Sentinel Dome, where you turn to the left and climb to the top.

Sentinel Dome Hike Directions

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From the bathroom at the trailhead, head straight.
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In a minute you’ll reach this trail junction. Make the right onto the Sentinel Dome Trail.
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The trail meanders through the pine forest and is nice and shady.
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Soon you’ll climb up over the exposed granite. Just head straight up.
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And then you’re hiking back through the trees.
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You’ll start to get glimpses of Sentinel Dome to the right.
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There’s a small use trail off to the left, keep on the main trail to the right, toward Sentinel Dome.
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There’s another section of granite to cross that’s well marked by cairns.
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Soon you’ll be back on a trail.
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And shortly after that, you’ll reach the junction with the fire road, which is off to the right. Keep left.
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When you see the sign, make the sharp right.
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After that last turn you’ll hike up the rocks and granite of Sentinel Dome. Stay towards the middle and make your way up to the top.
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As you climb you’ll get nice views of Upper Yosemite Falls on your right.
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And here you are at the summit, where you’ll get incredible panoramic views. There used to be a lone Jeffery Pine by the big rock in this shot, which was immortalized in an Ansel Adams photo. The tree fell down in 2003.
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To the north you’ll see Half Dome.
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To the west you can see El Capitan and the Yosemite Valley.
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To the east, Nevada Falls and the Yosemite backcountry.

Use common sense and don’t go too close to the edges. If you see thunderstorm clouds building in the distance, it’s a good time to start heading back down to your car.

From here you just head back down the way you came up, 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.