North Dome Trail via Yosemite Falls

HARD 18 reviews
#17 of 142 trails in

North Dome Trail via Yosemite Falls is a 9.3 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Yosemite National Park, CA that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is accessible from April until October.

9.3 miles 2028 feet Out & Back

birding

hiking

nature trips

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

no dogs

A great day hike to the best viewpoint in Yosemite or a perfect overnighter on a granite dome. This is a great hike right off the Tioga Road in Yosemite that takes you through some great meadows, past a rare granite arch called Indian Arch, and onto the granite of North Dome. North Dome is on the North Rim of Yosemite Valley right across from Half Dome, making the North Dome view spectacular. North Dome juts out into Yosemite Valley, giving you a sweeping panorama of the Valley to the West, Half Dome to the South, and Clouds Rest and the Yosemite high country stretching out to the East. There are a couple great camp sites right near the dome giving great access for sunrise and sunset viewing and pictures. The trail actually decreases in elevation from the road to North Dome, but only by about 800 ft. A few ups and downs along the trail make the trail a moderate hike, but not strenuous by any means. On the way back, the last mile up to the road seems a lot longer than it did on the way down.

19 days ago

1 month ago

The view of Half Dome was unlike anything I've seen. Incredible view of the valley and great view of Half Dome. Stop by Indian Arch if you have enough time; I didn't think it would be as cool as it was. The hike itself was steep and difficult at times, but if you are in good shape it's manageable.

3 months ago

Beautiful and well worth the steep parts!

backpacking
3 months ago

4 months ago

4 months ago

hiking
6 months ago

hiking
7 months ago

At the start (7000+ft of elevation) you get to feel it in your lungs if you haven't hung around to get acclimated. But the trail begins fairly level, shady for about half the distance and towards the dome, a gradual descent as you begin to stare at the face of Half Dome. Bring some binoculars and watch those lucky climbers pull their way up the cables!

hiking
1 year ago

It's a view you have to see. Amazing! Depending on when you go bring lot's of water and watch your step.

1 year ago

hiking
2 years ago

The view here is amazing to say the least, no water out there, lots of rocks and wind. Hiked up from Yosemite Falls, good elevation gains in altitude up past treeline. Side trip to Indian Arch Rock is great place and views of valley are great.

hiking
2 years ago

Some reviews rate this as moderate and I can understand that but if your not in great physical shape and not acclimated to 8000 feet then this hike can be difficult. I'm in fairly good shape (66) and the return back to the trailhead was difficult for me. I carried a full camelback and 2 extra liters of water, used all of it. Thin air really took it out of me. Great hike though. I'd do it again.

hiking
2 years ago

Moderate hike but can sometimes be strenuous. Altitude and uphill sections can be demanding. Take lots of water ! Trekking poles a big plus going down loose and slippery granite areas, especially just before the last leg. Be in good cardio shape for this one.

2 years ago

okay hike, extremely easy!

hiking
5 years ago

8.8 Total Round Trip Miles from Porcupine Creek Trailhead off Hwy 120/Tioga Road. Beautiful shaded hike from the Trailhead for about 3.5 miles, then a little more strenuous from there out to the summit of North Dome. Scenery in the last mile is Yosemite Breathtaking, as is the Grand View of Half Dome and all of Yosemite Valley from the summit. After spending almost an hour on the summit relaxing and having lunch, the trek back was strenuous enough, until the last 3 miles again through the shady forest. I'm leading a group of age 30-60 ladies this weekend and, under the circumstances of our diversity in both age and fitness level, I think the hike will be wonderful for all !

hiking
5 years ago

hiking
6 years ago

What can be said other than WOW! I did not hike this from Yosemite Falls. I hiked it from the Porcupine Creek trailhead on Tioga Road.

The first 3.5 miles or so is a simple walk in the Yosemite woods, which is beautiful in and of itself, but then suddenly you reach a clearing at the top of the hill and there is Half Dome staring at you through the trees. From there the trail scurries down some granite for another mile and you reach the plateau that is North Dome, some 7500 ft above Yosemite Valley.

The views here are unmatched. If you get far enough out along North Dome you can see Half Dome in her entirety, from the base of the valley to the top, and you are seeing it from a unique angle. Just stoic and iconic. On a clear day like the day I hiked here, you can look to the right and see the entire Yosemite Valley below - the Merced River, El Cap, Nevada Falls. To the left is the immensity of Tenaya Canyon and Clouds Rest. The scale of the Valley is in full display and it was actually a little disorienting at first. Bring some food, plenty of water, a camera, and give yourself time to enjoy the moment. Once you are hanging out on North Dome it will be hard to pry yourself away. On the way back I also took the 0.6 mile detour and checked out Indian Rock, a unique granite structure with a 15ft tall archway. Worth the time to check it out and it provides you one last glimpse of Half Dome before you descend onto the backside of the hill.


In my opinion North Dome is a "Cant Miss" hike in Yosemite. Its only moderately difficult - you lose about 560 ft getting there and are hiking at a higher altitude than most of us are used to. There are a few sections right near the dome that are a bit steep and rocky but nothing sketchy. For what you are going to experience when you arrive, it is a small effort for a maximum Yosemite moment!

I was lucky enough to hike on a warm November day and was all alone the entire time, never seeing another hiker the whole day. I enjoyed the solitude but I imagine that on most days you will have a bit of company, especially once you arrive on ND.

I also had the unique experience of hiking this trail for the first time a few weeks ago with my girlfriend on a cloudy and misty day. We got to the dome but could not see anything except the granite below our feet. No Half Dome, no valley...nothing but clouds. To return on a clear sunny day and realize what surrounded us that we were not seeing that day made me laugh out loud.

hiking
6 years ago

Great 8 mile hike to do. Easy yet rewarding with an excellent view of Half Dome. The majority of the trail is an easy elevation gain and decline. However, there is one point on the hike, roughly the last mile or half mile where you'd have to descend along rocks which may take some more time to accomplish. But overall, great hike, bring water, sun block and a lunch.