Sentinel Dome

Page Type
Mountain/Rock
Location:
California, United States, North America
Elevation:
8122 ft / 2476 m
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Sentinel Dome
Created On: Feb 12, 2002
Last Edited On: Oct 24, 2004

Overview


Sure, this isn't really a mountain, but it would be a shame for it not to be included here for you to try this wonderful hike. Sentinel dome is one of the many domes or exposed granite features of Yosemite Park.

The panaromic view from Sentinel dome is in my opinion the best in Yosemite, period. Clouds Rest has a wonderful view, but it is on the "end" of the valley, whereas Sentinel dome is right in the middle of the valley on the South wall and has unobstructed 360 degree views of everything in sight.

The hike itself is easy, only a couple of miles from the trailhead off of Glacier Point Road. It follows a wooded path that leads to the base of the dome with another 50 yard easy scramble up the gentler face and you're there. The top is barren as with most Yosemite domes, but there are a few noteworthy features.

One is an ancient Jeffrey Pine tree that has been long dead but remains twisted and tortured by the elements (fire, rain, snow, wind). It is an amazing and unusual site on the dome.

There is also a round stone compass on the top of the dome in the ground that is etched with all of the surrounding features and peaks from this vantage point.

A good topo map of the area can be seen here - topo map

Climbing Info


Usual Yosemite rules apply to camping, fees, permits, etc. As with most of Yosemite, during winter (November-May) travelling can be challenging and conditions may require technical gear (crampons, ice axe, etc.) that is not needed other times of the year.

Getting There


From Yosemite Valley, take Highway 41 (Wawona) and climb out of the valley for about 9 miles to Glacier Point Road, turn left and drive on for 13 miles and then you will see the Sentinel Dome trailhead on the left side of the road.

Red Tape


Entrance fee:
$20 per vehicle, good for seven days.

Black bear restrictions:
If you drive a private car into the park, you must adhere to strict regulations on the storage of food, because black bears in the park have grown accustomed to "liberating" stored food from vehicles, at any time of the day or night. If a bear breaks into your car to steal food (even candy-bar wrappers constitute "food"), you are liable for $500 or more in fines.

Overnight road closure:
Although the official Tioga Road winter closure (between Crane Flat and Tioga Pass) is in effect only between mid-November and late-May, the park service prohibits overnight parking anywhere on Tioga Road after October 15. The area is open to dayhiking until the official road closure, but I guess the park service fears that a storm can unexpectedly close the road at any time, and leave you and your car stranded!

If you plan on crossing Tioga Road in late fall (before it closes) or in late spring (after it opens), carry tire chains in your vehicle.

Sad News - The Pine is gone...


http://www.nps.gov/yose/news/2003/tree0818.htm

Yosemite National Park News Release
August 18, 2003
For Immediate Release

Famous Jeffrey Pine Falls on Sentinel Dome-Yosemite National Park

Carleton Watkins photographed it in 1867. Ansel Adams photographed it. It is among the most photographed trees in the park--the subject of numerous postcards over the years-- and a beloved icon to millions of visitors to Yosemite.

Sometime in the last week, it fell to the ground. The Jeffrey pine, perched on the summit of Sentinel Dome, was a dramatic image of which few could not stop and snap a picture.

The pine died in the severe drought of 1976-77, although people attempted to save it by bringing buckets of water to it.

The National Park Service does not know what final stress caused the tree to fall, but severe storms in the Sierra Nevada in early August may have contributed.

The tree's life, death, and fall are part of a natural process. However, many will miss the Jeffrey pine that stood and welcomed them to the summit of Sentinel Dome.

Additions and CorrectionsPost an Addition or Correction

Viewing: 1-5 of 5

Shawn

Shawn - Oct 24, 2004 1:56 am - Hasn't voted

Untitled Comment

Thank you, I've edited the page with this info. I found out about this on my last trip to Yosemite this year. I actually read about it in a new book that has been published in the last year.





It's a sad event, but a natural one that reminds all of us that we need to enjoy every minute and every thing in its time as change is the only constant.

mpbro

mpbro - Feb 12, 2002 8:37 pm - Voted 10/10

Untitled Comment

In the winter, access becomes more challenging. The Glacier Point Road is closed at Badger Pass Ski Resort in the winter (November-May on most years), roughly eight miles from Glacier Point. This approach is ideal for beginner/intermediate cross country skiers, as the road has ski tracks all the way to Glacier Point. This option is probably the "standard route" during the winter. It climbs less than 1000 feet and it is (hopefully) impossible to get lost.





(At least) two options are feasible from Yosemite Valley to Glacier POint/Sentinel Dome. Option 1: The Four Mile Trail climbs the 3200 feet from the Valley to Glacier Point. The trail is officially "closed" at some point, but it is hard to know exactly what this means. In November, I hiked the Four Mile Trail and hit some "interesting" ice. I'd stop short of saying that you'd need crampons; more useful would be the little traction devices which are sold at REI (among other places). Trailhead for this trail is marked from the southern Yosemite Valley road. Option 2: From Happy Isles, you can take the Mist Trail past Vernal and Nevada Falls, then go onto the Panorama Trail, which doubles back to the west, across Illiloutte Creek, and up to Glacier Point/Sentinel Dome. This is definitely the longer of the two, although a loop (up Panorama/down Four Mile, or vice versa) can be very satisfying if you use the YARTS shuttle or can hitch a ride.

Reiksgib

Reiksgib - Feb 12, 2004 12:29 am - Hasn't voted

Untitled Comment

http://www.nps.gov/yose/news/2003/tree0818.htm





Yosemite National Park News Release


August 18, 2003


For Immediate Release





Famous Jeffrey Pine Falls on Sentinel Dome-Yosemite National Park





Carleton Watkins photographed it in 1867. Ansel Adams photographed it. It is among the most photographed trees in the park--the subject of numerous postcards over the years-- and a beloved icon to millions of visitors to Yosemite.





Sometime in the last week, it fell to the ground. The Jeffrey pine, perched on the summit of Sentinel Dome, was a dramatic image of which few could not stop and snap a picture.





The pine died in the severe drought of 1976-77, although people attempted to save it by bringing buckets of water to it.





The National Park Service does not know what final stress caused the tree to fall, but severe storms in the Sierra Nevada in early August may have contributed.





The tree's life, death, and fall are part of a natural process. However, many will miss the Jeffrey pine that stood and welcomed them to the summit of Sentinel Dome.








Reiksgib

Reiksgib - Feb 12, 2004 12:31 am - Hasn't voted

Untitled Comment

Famous Jeffery Pine

Shawn

Shawn - Oct 24, 2004 1:56 am - Hasn't voted

Untitled Comment

Thank you, I've edited the page with this info. I found out about this on my last trip to Yosemite this year. I actually read about it in a new book that has been published in the last year.





It's a sad event, but a natural one that reminds all of us that we need to enjoy every minute and every thing in its time as change is the only constant.

Viewing: 1-5 of 5