|Part of the
You Can Learn Travel series.
By Ken Brown
Editor, You Can Learn Series
Updated: October 27, 2007
Do You Want to See Half Dome?
You are planning a trip to Yosemite National Park in the near future. All your
friends tell you that you must see Half Dome. If you have never been to
Yosemite your first question is, "What is Half Dome?" Half Dome is a single
piece of Granite with a height of 8,842 feet above sea level. It stands like a
monument rising majestically above the floor of Yosemite Valley.
You quickly agree that you must see this masterpiece natural creation. But
where can you go to get the best views and camera shots? What time of day
produces the most dramatic photos? Can you climb this monster granite mountain?
This article will answer those questions. I thought I would have some fun and
list them in reverse order a la David Letterman.
Number 8 Best Place to View Half Dome - Olmstead Point on Tioga Pass
If you are driving over the mountains between the west side of Yosemite and the
east side of Yosemite you are probably on the road known as Tioga Road.
Stretching over 65 miles from Crane Flat to Tioga Pass entrance, Tioga Road
meanders through the Sierra Nevada Mountain range. You begin at an elevation of
over 6,000 feet and can reach an altitude as high as 10,000 feet as you drive.
So dress warmly it will be significantly cooler as you ascend.
When you reach Olmstead Point pull into the parking lot. There is a huge chunk
of granite with large cracks sliced across it. And scattered all around are
giant boulders that were left by glaciers more than 12,000 years ago. Some of
these boulders, known as erratics, are up to 7 feet tall and they weigh many
tons. If you look from this vantage point down into Tenaya Canyon you see the
back of Half Dome stretching to touch the sky. The picture I have included here
is actually a close up of the dome.
Number 7 Best Place to View Half Dome - Tunnel View
The next best place to view Half Dome is the location known as
Tunnel View. This classic view of Yosemite Valley is a great location
to see all the well known landmarks in Yosemite Valley. You get a great look of
El Capitan, Clouds Rest, Half Dome, Cathedral Rocks and Bridalveil Fall. The
reason it is called tunnel view is because of the long tunnel through the
mountain that was created for traffic. As you come out of the tunnel there is a
parking lot. Be sure to stop and take in this great site.