What? : Hiking to Yosemite Valley southwest ridgeling and the viewpoints of Crocker and Dewey Pointes is all about the spectacular views. The high viewing points provide a unique eye-level front view of El Capitan, the Yosemite Valley below, and the high mountains ridges of Yosemite far to the east. This is not the best place to view Half Dome…
This is 11.5
mile long out and back hike with almost 3700 feet elevation gain at the first 2
miles and I consider it to be challenging route, plan for 6-7 hours hike.
Where? : The trailhead for this hike is at the Tunnel View parking lot. Find a place to park your car and walk to the smaller south parking lot; in the middle of the parking space, you will see the clearly marked trailhead and steps that are leading up.
When? : Winter is not recommended time to hike here, the trail is covered by snow.
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Due note 1: Tunnel View is one of the most visited and crowded places in Yosemite and there is a good reason for that, it is a must visit location on your Yosemite trip.
The main problem is parking, no matter when you are coming, from early in the morning before sunrise to after sunset, the car park will probably be full.
You can wait for someone to clear their spot or if you are driving up from the Valley just before arriving to the location find off-road parking spot on the side of the road, you will see the many cars that already parking here.
Due note 2: No restrooms are available here; you can find restrooms 1.5 mile down the road in Bridalveil Falls Trailhead.
Due note 3: You can hike to the same viewing points from Glacier Point Road. This is a much easier hike, 8 miles long with only 300 feet of elevation gain. This trail can be used as a snow cross country winter access to the points.
Due note 4: As in any hike in Yosemite pets are not allowed.
Due note 5: It can be a bit windy and breezy up at the exposed rocky viewpoint so consider bringing warm cloth with you.
Due note 6: Stay off open mountains peak during thunderstorms!
It is not safe to be in high exposed location when there are lightnings…
Few general hiking guidelines:
Stay on established trails, pack out what you pack in, Overnight backpackers need a wilderness permit, carry (and drink) plenty of water. Be sure to treat rivers, stream, lake, or spring water.
My thoughts: You start your hike at the crowded Tunnel View but soon after you start your long climb up you will lose the crowd and can enjoy hiking in nature. After the challenging hike up the ridge the trail leveled, and you will pass on your way to Dewey Point a few other cliff edge impressive viewings points.
The first section of your hike is following the trail to Inspiration Point, See my blog on Inspiration Point Hike
Start to walk up from the Tunnel View parking lot, the trail immediately climbing up in a series of switchbacks. At 0.6 miles you will cross the old road and at 1.1 mile you will reach Inspiration Point (Old Wawona Road).
Turn left and keep hiking on the Pohono Trail uphill up.
The trail keeps steadily climbing for the next 1.8 miles (almost 3 miles of constant climbing from the trail starting point), here you will pass through different dense forest landscapes and cross a few creeks. When the trail starts to level on the upper part of the range you can start breath again and enjoy the view and the forest hike.
After 4 miles from the trail head, you will start to hike downhill and after a short walk you will reach the point where the trail turns sharply to the right, here you will see the trail that is leading to the first cliff hang viewing point; This is Stanford Point, located 4.4 miles from your starting point.
Walk down to the open space and admire the view.
You can also walk left and see the view to the west Valley opening.
After resting and enjoying the view walk back to the trail junction and keep hiking east along the ridgeline.
After an additional 0.6 mile of relatively easy relatively flat walk you will reach Crocker Points.
From here you can see the head of Bridalveil Falls to the right way below you. When I visit here, late Oct. 2022 the waterfalls were almost without any running water.
Enjoy the view and keep hiking.
After 5.7 miles from the TH, you can take off the trail and walk to the cliff edge, this is a nice viewing point on Dewey Point.
Keep walking and after 6 miles from the TH you will reach Dewey Point (7,316 feet).
Unpack your backpack, relax, and rest while enjoying the impressive El Capitan view from the other side of the valley.
You will see the Cathedral Rocks below you on the other side of Bridalveil creek canyon, where the higher Cathedral spire peaks in between the mountains.