Yosemite Selfie

The Pohono Trail Wish…

A more likely candidate than the Cathedral Lakes hike is the Pohono Trail. It starts off from Glacier Point and goes down hill almost the entire way. There are slight elevation gains at Sentinel Dome, some minor gains at Taft Point, and just after McGurk Meadow. But it is a 14 mile jaunt. If you are not averse to overnighting, it would be much more leisurely hike as a backpacking hike, camping, say, at Bridalveil Creek, which is about five miles into the hike. Forget taking the shuttle bus. There might be one at 8:30 AM which won’t arrive at Glacier Point until 10 or 10:30. It is much better to plan your take off at about 7 or 8 AM from Glacier Point. It gives you more of the day[1]. The graph shows the elevation change from Glacier Point to Tunnel View.

pohono-topoHighlights along the trail are Sentinel Dome (1 mile in), Taft Point at about 2.5 miles, McGurk Meadows and Bridalveil Creek Trail is about 5 miles out. Three outlooks are at Dewey Point, Crocker Point and Stanford Point at about 7.75, 8 and 9 miles respectively (assuming you don’t take the McGurk Meadow excursion…add a mile if you do). Old Inspiration Point is just after the 12 mile point and the trail ends at the parking area at Tunnel View at 13 (or 14 miles).

Actually, McGurk Meadow is a diversion taking you south by about a half mile, which you’ll need to return from[2] to get back to the hike. It just occurs to me that McGurk Meadow may be a good breaking off point if you don’t want to backpack or take in a 14 mile forced march. Hike down from Glacier Point, leisurely, then take the diversion to McGurk Meadow, then to Glacier Point Road and call it a day. Then, after a nice relaxing night at your hotel suite, come back the next day and pickup the hike from here, up to McGurk Meadow again and complete the hike.

The overlook at Stanford Point allows you to see from the Tunnel View parking area all the way east to Mt. Hoffman; the geographical center of the park (located about 3 miles northwest of Tenaya Lake!). You will pass the original Inspiration Point and then down to the Tunnel View Parking area.

This is intriguing for me because it promises lots of wild flowers (if done in July) and some terrific vistas from the south rim. I would plan to go with a group. I’d recommend taking two cars; one to take your troop up to Glacier Point and another at the end point (Tunnel View or Glacier Point Road at McGurk Trailhead) to take you back to get the other car.


[1] Until early September, 2015, you can’t drive to Glacier Point unless you get past Badger Pass prior to 10 AM or after 4:30 PM. This is because the route is open only to shuttle traffic during that time. This is related to the restoration going on at Mariposa Grove.

[2] My wife points out that, maybe, I shouldn’t end this phrase with a preposition. So, what then? “…from which you’ll need to return…?” Wasn’t it Winston Churchill, well known speech authority, who was asked what he thought about ending a sentence with a preposition replied, “That is something which UP I will not PUT.”?