Taft Point and Sentinel Dome, two of Yosemite's south rim highlights, are relatively close together as the crow flies. Taft Point offers dramatic exposure and one of the best vistas over the western Yosemite Valley, while Sentinel Dome’s symmetrical granite summit provides the south rim’s top panorama. To visit both, which is highly recommended, one can either backtrack via there-and back-trails or, as a more scenic but slightly longer option, create a Sentinel Dome – Taft Point Loop. Just shy of 5 miles, the loop connects these two notable landmarks by a stretch of trail that parallels the edge of the south rim and intermittently opens up to Yosemite Valley views along the way.
From the trailhead, head east toward Sentinel Dome in a clockwise direction. In less than mile, a spur trail that is marked by a sign leads to Sentinel Dome’s summit. Take the trail enjoy the vista, then return to the summit spur junction and head left. Continue west past a weather station and along the south rim toward Taft Point, 2.4 miles down the trail. En route you’ll pass some beautiful overlooks that open up onto Yosemite Valley 3,000 feet below.
Head right at the next junction, following signs for Taft Point. Heading left returns you to the trailhead. Test your fear of heights as you near Taft Point’s precipice or by peering through The Fissures, which are deep, narrow gashes that extend down through the granite edge and provide a direct view to the floor over a thousand feet below. To return to the trailhead, retrace your steps to the previous junction and continue straight, following signs back to trailhead parking.
The trailhead for Taft Point and Sentinel Dome is located on the north side of Glacier Point Road, 2 miles before the road ends at Glacier Point.