Thursday, November 21, 2013

Split long Yosemite loop into two day hikes

Taft Point at the first fissure. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.
If you have elementary-aged school children, the Sentinel Dome and Taft Point Loop at 4.9 miles may be a bit much to handle. In such cases, the trail can be broken into two out-an-back trail segments:
g Taft Point Trail – Starting at the same trailhead as the loop, go left/southeast. In 1 mile, you’ll reach Taft Point. Head back the way you came rather than turning off at the Y intersection for Sentinel Dome. This makes for a 2-mile round trip.
g Sentinel Dome Trail – When the stem trail reaches the loop, go right/northeast for 1.1 miles to the stub trail that heads to the dome’s top. Head back the way you came for a 2.2-mile round trip.

Do the segments on different days; always do the Taft Point Trail first as it will be a slight downer if the Sentinel Dome Trail is done first. If you can only do one trail, head to Sentinel Dome.

Because of the altitude, Sentinel Dome marks a great spot for stargazing if you don’t mind a night hike. Plenty of other hikers bring their telescopes or blankets, so you won’t be alone.

Learn more about national park day hiking trails in my Best Sights to See at America’s National Parks guidebook.