North Dome Trail via Tioga Road

HARD 57 reviews
#16 of 167 trails in

North Dome Trail via Tioga Road is a 9.3 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Mariposa, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is best used from April until October.

DISTANCE
9.3 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1699 feet
ROUTE TYPE
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.

backpacking
1 month ago

Started on tioga road at the porcupine trailhead descended down then was flat for a good mile or so then slight 2 or 300 foot climb up a switchback visited Indian rock and camped right above north dome for the night incredible sunset next day descended down to the dome and hung out for a while great view but was even better from our campsite because half dome to the left. Coming back up was a good little ass kicker then headed back down to the valley from a trailhead that kicked my butt longest mile or 2 I ever hiked coming back down by mirror lake .. I think it was called the snow creek trail ... altogether felt like we hike 10-12 Miles that day I was absolutely exhausted when I made it back to my cabin

hiking
2 months ago

This was a challenging hike for sure--after you've put down 6 miles or so, the last three are tough! but, view on the dome is amazing, and lots of times you'll have the place to yourself. definitely recommend going to indian arch rock, i think it's called.

hiking
3 months ago

Be prepared for the reality that the first granite expanse you encounter is not north Dome! You have to continue for about 3/4 mile down into a 200' deep saddle and the climb up the south face of North Dome proper. I heard a lot people express dissapointment when they thought they had arrived on North Dome only to realize they still had a butt kicking 3/4 hike a ahead :) still it's an absolutely amazing jaunt.

hiking
4 months ago

This is a great hike. And it's easy compared to other popular Yosemite hikes. We just had a lot of forest fire smoke, so the views were less than great, and the views are sort of the point on this one.

I would love to follow this trail down to Upper falls and El Cap someday.

hiking
4 months ago

The fourth day of Yosemite hiking: We hiked from Tioga Road to North Dome. On the way to North Dome, we took a side trip to Natural Arch of Indian Rock.

hiking
5 months ago

Great hike. Not too hard besides the heat... we did a loop back following the Yosemite Valley trail and then back to Tioga road.

5 months ago

I can’t wait to go back.. this time with camping gear for the north dome.

hiking
5 months ago

First off I got harassed by a marmot on Indian rock, so watch out for that. Absolutely gorgeous views the entire way, especially at North Dome which gives you an unsurpassed view of Half Dome. Extending the trail out to Yosemite Point is recommended. Although the upper falls are cool to see, going down to them from Yosemite point and then back up adds minimally to the experience while requiring a decent effort. 4 liters was just barely enough for me, but if you have purification there's numerous places to fill up and can go with even less.

hiking
5 months ago

This is a great alternative to half dome with incredible up-close views of half dome at the end. The way to north dome is a descent from the trailhead, so save your energy for the climb back up. The toughest part was the dome itself, its steeper than the rest of the trail. Warms up very quickly on the dome as the day progresses and gets very hot while climbing back up the dome. But there is plenty of shade on all other parts of the trail. There was just a little bit of snow at about mile 1 (right after the creek crossing), but the rest of the trail is dry. A beautiful hike that's not very challenging but has rewarding views!

hiking
6 months ago

Very nice hike and a great alternative if you can't get a permit for Half Dome. It's not as hard or as long, but still a good distance and effort.

backpacking
9 months ago

What can I say? This is truly a breathtaking trip. It'll steal your breath with the amazing sites. It'll also require a bit of breath and good old fashioned hard work to climb the falls. Spend the first night on the river above the falls: there's a great campsite with fire ring and tree coverage just about 300 feet from the river. Water is easily accessible from there for drinking, cooking, etc.

Once you get about +\- 2 hours from North Dome water gets scarce. There's none on North Dome at all. Bring it in from the closest clean creek you can find. It's totally worth it. The view, oh the view. We saw some many meteors. So near to see a campfire or two across the valley on half dome. Be on the watch for a mountain lion. We didn't have any trouble but one came close in the late evening.

Enjoy!

Friday, October 07, 2016

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.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Beautiful and well worth the steep parts!

hiking
Friday, April 15, 2016

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
Thursday, October 01, 2015

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

hiking
Tuesday, August 05, 2014

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
Tuesday, July 29, 2014

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
Sunday, July 27, 2014

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.

Friday, June 27, 2014

okay hike, extremely easy!

hiking
Monday, November 08, 2010

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.

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