Taft Point is a short, easy, and moderately trafficked trail in Yosemite National Park, California. The trail offers incredibly awesome views of Yosemite Valley and looks directly across to Yosemite Falls and El Capitan. One of the best things about the hike to Taft Point is how the overlook looks straight down a few thousand feet into the belly of Yosemite Valley. Taft Point is a must do for any person going to Yosemite National Park.
Taft Point via Glacier Point Road
I highly recommend the Taft Point trail to the widely popular Taft Point overlook. This is a simple and rather short trail through the mountainous meadows off of Glacier Point Road that eventually give way to granite cliffs carved out by glaciers. The cliffs look straight down to the bottom of Yosemite Valley. One of the perks of this trail is that it’s not guarded by rails like Glacier Point is. It’s also not as popular as Glacier point or Yosemite Valley – which in my opinion is another perk in of itself.
Taft Point is an amazing rock for a photo opportunity and there have even been engagements and weddings there. The backdrop of Taft Point is El Capitan and Yosemite Falls. Use caution as to not get too close to the edge. A wind gust could easily blow a person to a fall of a few thousand feet below. There are several trails that can take a person to Taft Point including the Pohono Trail and also from Glacier Point. For this article I’ll be focusing on the Taft Point trailhead specifically for Taft Point which is directly off of Glacier Point Road.
On A Personal Note:
I did not get a chance to do this when I visited this landmark but if time permits, please check out Sentinel Dome. Sentinel Dome is to the right of the Taft Point trailhead and only about a mile in length. Sentinel Dome is a dome shaped granite rock that is a very mild hike to the top. Once on the top of Sentinel Dome there are 360 degree panoramic views of Yosemite National Park.
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- Overall Difficulty: 30% 30%
- Overall Views: 100% 100%
Taft Point Trail via Glacier Point Road Quick Facts:
- Elevation: 7,760 feet.
- Elevation Gain: 433 feet.
- Estimated Distance: 2.3 miles.
- My Actual Distance: 3 miles.
- Estimated Time: 1-2 hours.
- My Time: 1:17 hours.
Taft Point Trail via Glacier Point Directions:
Open in maps. Cost is admission to Yosemite National Park. An America The Beautiful pass will also work. Access to the trailhead is very easy. It’s about two thirds of the way up Glacier Point Road and the trailhead is on the left side of the road coming up. There is a fairly small parking lot that does fill up completely during the busy season. If the parking lot is full, you will either have to wait for a parking spot for find parking on the side of the narrow two lane road.
During the winters this road is closed due to heavy snowfall. Glacier Point Road does tend to open up earlier in the ear than Tioga Pass but please check with the park on the current road conditions if you plan on traveling when there will be snowfall. There is no cell phone service in this area so please know where you’re going before trying to search for or put in directions.
Taft Point Trail via Glacier Point Road Pictures:
Who Taft Point via Glacier Point Road Is For:
Novice Hikers: This hike is perfect for beginners. The trail is short and elevation gain is incredibly minimal. The trail is mostly on dirt until you actually reach Taft Point. Once the trail nears Taft Point the trail transitions from dirt to granite stone. Granite can be slippery when wet. If the walk up to Taft Point doesn’t tire you out, consider making the trek in the opposite direction to Sentinel Dome.
Advanced Hikers: This is a quick and simple hike with incredible views, consider connecting to Sentinel Dome or trying to get to Taft Point from one of the other several other trails in the park.
Expert Hikers: This will be a quick and easy hike with incredible views. Like I said for advanced hikers, if you want more of a challenge, consider looping together some of the other trails that connect to this area.
It’s always a good idea to be aware of what type of hiking level you’re at.
Best Time Of Year To Hike Taft Point:
The best time of year to hike Taft Point is generally before and after the snowpack has built up. This tends to be from late spring and into mid to late fall. Summer months can be warm but the duration and minimal elevation gain of the trail shouldn’t be that big of a deal. Thunderstorms and windy conditions can happen even during the non-winter months and granite rocks can always be slippery when wet. If you’re standing on the ledge of Taft Point, use caution as your fall is going to kill you.
I highly recommend this hike during the late spring when snowmelt is at it’s peak. From the vantage point you’re able to see some incredible views across the valley to Yosemite Falls. During the winter months Taft Point is not accessible through the trailhead off of Glacier Point Road. Taft Point will only be accessible via other trials that are not located off of a closed road. The Four Mile is one such trail and is approximately fourteen miles long. If you do check out this area during the winter, use caution on icy trails. After the winter months the trail can be muddy from melting snow.
Taft Point via Glacier Point Road Trail Conditions:
The Taft Point trail is in great condition for most of the year. The trail is maintained mostly by foot traffic and National Park staff. The trailhead begins off of Glacier Point Road from a small parking lot. There is a bathroom located there. From that point the trail heads out about one hundred yards or so then will fork to the left to Taft point and to the right for Sentinel Dome. The trail is mostly exposed to the sun except for about a third of the trail halfway through that runs through a pine meadow.
Once the trail goes through the meadow it transitions from a dirt path to both granite and dirt with a few small stepping stones. This transition is only temporary because as soon as you get to the overlook, the trail will be mostly granite rock. Once to the overlook, there is one flat rock that views Taft Point. This rock is a viewing point for Taft Point and is railed. Continue on the trail down to the iconic flat rock of Taft Point and proceed at your own risk.
I did this hike in mid-May and the conditions on Taft Point were quite windy. If you don’t have good footing a strong gust of wind could easily make you unsteady and put you at risk for falling. From the overlook it is a straight down vertical cliff that will lead to your death. Those with a fear of heights should use caution. I stood about three feet from the ledge and it certainly made me feel a little queasy. With that said, the view is incredibly worth it!
Always be on alert for rattlesnakes, they are commonly seen throughout the less populated areas of the park during warmer months.