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Sightseeing in Yosemite

Visiting Glacier Point

Glacier Point, 3,200 feet above Yosemite Valley, provides some of the most spectacular panoramic views of the area above the valley floor. Stretching out for miles to the north and east you can see out over the forests, meadows and water falls around the Merced River. The view continues past the cliffs and the soaring granite domes that surround the valley and extends across the many higher mountains in the wilderness areas of Yosemite National Park. Vernal and Nevada falls are clearly visible on the east, along the course of Little Yosemite Valley. To the north is the steep canyon of Tenaya Creek. In the middle is the distinctive shape of Half Dome. In the northwest across Yosemite Valley, Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls cascade 2,400 feet down the vertical cliffs and peering down into the Valley far below you can see cars and even people moving along the roads. Try going to Glacier Point late in the evening and stay until after sunset to see the Milky Way spanning the sky above you. Shine your flashlight across to Half Dome or North Dome and delight as the overnight hikers signal back from their rock perches.

Glacier Point is reached by a 16 mile road that goes west from CA 41 at Chinquapin Junction. The road is fully open from June to October. In winter Glacier Point Road is closed from Badger Pass Ski Resort and Glacier Point can only be reached by cross-country skiers. There is also a steep path, The Four Mile Trail, which links Glacier Point with Southside Drive in the valley below.

The road is busy during summer, but there are many trails that provide serenity and wilderness surroundings only a short distance away. The land is richly forested with scattered grassy meadows, small lakes, mountain streams and rocky outcroppings. You can see where areas of woodland were destroyed by fire but the land is quickly recovering.

You can camp at Bridalveil Creek, which has 110 sites, with fire grills, benches and tables. Bridalveil Creek, which runs along the campsite falls spectacularly into Yosemite Valley as Bridalveil Falls and joins the Merced River. Two main trails into the southern wilderness areas also start from here. Several hundred yards into the surrounding, boulder-laden forest there is perfect silence with no sign of civilization, just trees and shadows in all directions. Birds sing, Stellar Jays squawk, squirrels chatter and you may encounter some mule deer. Bears are reported sometimes along these wilderness trails. All in all a great outdoor adventure area.

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