Complement your visit to Glacier Point with two trails that, many argue, offer better views. Departing from the same trailhead, it's easy to combine these trails by going out-and-back to each. We recommend starting with Sentinel Dome, which will provide a similar yet distinctive view as Glacier Point, followed by an easy walk to Taft Point and the fissures, giant cracks in the mountain that drop down to the valley floor.
Make sure to bring snacks or a picnic lunch to enjoy at the top of Taft Point, where, according to newspaper records, President William Howard Taft also enjoyed a lunch break during a trip led by John Muir in 1909 (hence the name).
Distance: 4.4 miles roundtrip (total for the two trails)
Time: 3-5 hours
Starting Point: Sentinel Dome Parking Lot
Just a few miles down from Glacier Point is the trailhead for Sentinel Dome and Taft Point. Try to arrive early or later in the day to find a spot in the small parking lot.
The trail out to Sentinel Dome is fairly even and gradually inclines. There are several spots to stop along the way for great shots of the valley, but the best views are at the top of the dome.
At the end of the trail, scramble up the steep side and to the top of Sentinel Dome, with views that rival Glacier Point. To the east, gaze at Nevada Falls, Half Dome (as seen here) and Clouds Rest; to the west view across Merced Canyon; and finally, Yosemite Valley to the north, including Yosemite Falls and El Capitan.
After the switchbacks you will start to see the fissures of Taft Point - deep grooves in the rock. Photos do not do them justice - these steep drop offs are utterly intriguing but also rather dangerous, as most do not have guard rails. Watch your step and continue to the lookout point.
Impressive views of Yosemite Valley and El Capitan await at Taft Point. The terrain levels out at the top, with several areas making it easy to rest and enjoy a snack or picnic lunch, as we did.
On your return trip from Taft Point, don't miss the beauty of the woods surrounding you. There were several of these trees with moss-covered branches, which we found particularly beautiful.
To save this hike and our other recommended hikes in Yosemite National Park, visit our curated list on AllTrails, where you can learn about other trails in the park and create your own lists to reference through their mobile app.