Chances are you’ve heard of Glacier Point. It’s one of the most photographed vistas and better known viewpoints in the country. President Teddy Roosevelt and John Muir had a famous photograph made from the point on the President’s trip to Yosemite in 1903. This trip resulted in Yosemite Valley being incorporated from state control into the National Park system and receiving greater protection.
Glacier Point was also the site of the world-famous Yosemite Firefall. The proprietors of the Glacier Point Hotel would dump a stream of burning embers over the 3,000 foot precipice on a recurring schedule to mimic a waterfall and impress the Yosemite visitors. The practice was stopped in 1968 by the NPS, which declared it against their policy of promoting and protecting natural park features.
Located along the southern rim of Yosemite Valley overlooking some of the most iconic natural landmarks in the world (such as Half Dome), Glacier Point is a Yosemite stop that must be seen to be appreciated. When Glacier Point Road is open, typically from May through October, be prepared as the renowned vista can attract quite a crowd. There is plenty of room for all, but if you are hoping to find a quieter experience at Glacier Point, consider visiting for sunrise or visiting in the shoulder or offseason via the Four Mile Trail up from the valley floor when the road is closed.
The panorama lives up to the hype, sweeping from Yosemite Falls along the northeast to the Giant Staircase in the Merced River Canyon, including the best seat in the house for taking in the shapely monolith of Half Dome and the rugged terrain of Tenaya Canyon below. Peaks of the Cathedral Range and Clarks Range are also visible.
With paved, level trails, Glacier Point is ADA-accessible. There is also a snack and souvenir hut open during the peak summer months. In addition to being a destination in itself, Glacier Point is the trailhead for the Panorama Trail and the Four Mile Trail as well as for the Pohono Trail, which connects to Sentinel Dome and Taft Point to the west.