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Porcupine Creek Trail to Indian Ridge Natural Arch to North Dome

MODERATE 169 reviews
#16 of 231 trails in

Porcupine Creek Trail to Indian Ridge Natural Arch to North Dome is a 10.4 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Buena Vista, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, trail running, and nature trips and is best used from May until October.

DISTANCE
10.4 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2,089 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

backpacking

camping

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

bird watching

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

no dogs

Trail starts downhill from the Porcupine Creek Trailhead for the first 1.5 miles then forks to the left and climbs Indian Ridge. At the top of the ridge is the 0.3 mile side trail to Indian Rock. After the Indian Rock junction the trail follows Indian Ridge down to the summit of North Dome.

hiking
2 months ago

Nice day, awesome place, good hike we only did about half way but we love it!!!

4 months ago

Amazing hike! A must do!

hiking
6 months ago

Nice hike, a little Smokey from a controlled burn nearby but a beautiful day. Great views of Half Dome, the valley and surrounding mountain ranges. Indian rock was worth the short hike and also had some nice views from the arch. The hike is moderate to hard for beginners and very easy for the young lady that jogged by us not once, but three times while on the trail, amazingly fit...

hiking
6 months ago

Bring at least a liter of water per person! This is not an easy hike and it took us about 5 hours to complete including a lunch break. Crossed paths with many hikers who either didn’t have water or brought a single 500 ml bottle. The first 2/3 of the hike is through a nice shady woodland, but the real payoff is emerging from the woods and seeing the Valley below you. I did lose the trail at one point trying to get to the Dome, but retrace your steps to the sign and there will be a few switchbacks along the rock wall that get you down to the path that leads to North Dome. The views are mesmerizing from North Dome—bring lunch and plan for at least 30 minutes there.

7 months ago

Getting to the initial dome is a breeze with some minor switchbacks. The end of the hike is what makes this a bit strenuous, there’s some rock scrambling and the path isn’t totally clear, it’s worth the extra effort past the initial dome. The way back uphill is tedious but once you’re past that, you can easily run downhill. Would love to go back to camp at the dome itself, highly recommend!

7 months ago

This was our best hike in Yosemite, for the non climbers it’s as rewarding as it gets. For people leaving reviews saying it is very easy, I am guessing they are either extremely fit or didn’t do the whole trail. Many people we saw on the way in stopped at the initial dome/clearing and went back. It is not extremely clear and no sign denotes north dome that I saw, but make sure to keep going to the actual end dome. It is deceptive after you get to the initial dome, from there you need to hike down to a little valley, and then ultimately go up again to get to the actual north dome. Going back up is what made the hike somewhat hard and definitely not a stroll in the park like some people have posted. Again if you just did the initial dome, yes it is easy.

hiking
7 months ago

On a very busy Saturday this was still very quiet - and amazing views from North Dome. As others suggested, definitely worth going up to the arch. Limited parking at 10:45

hiking
7 months ago

I loved this hike because there were no people! It took me four hours round trip from porcupine creek parking lot and I saw maybe 5 people at some point. Great views. I was exhausted at the end but this is not a hard hike. Went on 10/1/18.

hiking
8 months ago

Views of Half Dome, Clouds Rest, and the valley are spectacular on top of North Dome. Long ways in getting there though, dry and dusty terrain, some long stretches without cover.

hiking
8 months ago

Best view when arriving the North Dome. Definitely worth it!

backpacking
8 months ago

Hiked out to North Dome and spent the night on the saddle between North Dome and Indian Ridge. The hike out is fairly easy with a little bit of technically route finding on the last mile if you veer off trail and walk straight down Indian Ridge. There was a very small water source about 2 miles into the hike and that was it. Quiet gorgeous night with an amazing full moon rise right over Half Dome. The hike out the next day was intense for the first mile because we had to get back up to the top of Indian Ridge, a 700+ feet elevation gain. The rest of the trip was easy but the last mile to the car felt like forever.

hiking
9 months ago

The elevation kicked my butt, yet the views were astonishing! Ended up stopping at Basket Dome and heading back, with a brief detour at Indian Rock. Be warned that there is some light scrambling to make your way down to North Dome itself. Keep an eye out so that you stay on the trail, unlike us! If you tackle this in the summer, bring lots of water, bug spray, and poles if you have them.

9 months ago

Second time and still my favorite trail

hiking
10 months ago

The next time I'm introducing an out-of-towner to Yosemite, this is the hike we'll do. The view from North Dome of Half Dome and the valley is stunning.

10 months ago

Great Walk. Nothing too strenuous. Just a few steep sections. Try and get it done early in the day to beat the heat. The views from North Dome are amazing. Plenty of wildflowers along the path.

hiking
10 months ago

Left Tuolomne campground at about 10am on Saturday after July 4th and got to the trailhead around 10:40. Descent is relatively easy and stable for the first 3 miles or so, pretty flat/downhill. Ascent to Indian Rock is strenuous but comes relatively early in the hike and is a good warmup. Descent from Indian Rock to North Dome trailhead is steep-ish, but you won’t notice because you’ll be looking at Half Dome the whole time. Amazing views. Once you get to North Dome trailhead you will see signs for North Dome. Make sure you follow the trail to the left if you are looking at Half Dome. My girlfriend and I turned right and tried bouldering down until we realized that we were about to become splats on the valley floor. Hike to North Dome from the sign is relatively easy. Have lunch and take pictures at North Dome, as the views are likely the best you’ll ever see. Our hike back was really tough. Make sure you bring enough water. We probably had 1.5 liters and it was nowhere near enough. At least 3 liters for 2 people, preferably 2 liters per person. It was also unusually hot for the elevation (80 degrees Fahrenheit). Round trip time including 35 minute break: 4.5 hours. Would highly recommend, but not an easy or moderate hike by any means. Make sure you are in shape and well hydrated. You are losing and climbing ~2,000ft in elevation.

10 months ago

Incline up the ridge to Indian Rock for days but one of the coolest arches ever with views of half dome.

hiking
10 months ago

Well maintained trail with great view at the end.

hiking
11 months ago

Did this two and a half weeks ago. Scenic trail and killer views from North Dome. We’re a couple - one pretty unfit at time of hike (had to drag self up the last bit!!), one moderately fit (no worries - only got a slight puff on). Recommend checking out Indian Rock - short detour (NB - alltrails way point for this wasn’t super accurate when we did it - detour is well marked on trail though so just wait until you see it or ask someone).

hiking
11 months ago

Hiked this last week and it was amazing! Great views of the whole park.. it’s the easiest hike I’ve done in Yosemite with a great payoff when it comes to views.. spent about an hour at the top just taking in all the views it has to offer.

hiking
11 months ago

So nice !!

hiking
11 months ago

I highly recommend this trail! The views on this trail are incredible, and the hike itself really isn’t to bad. Over all this is a great trail for all levels!

11 months ago

Hiked this in 2015. It was beautiful and my favorite hike we did in Yosemite...away from the crowds!

hiking
11 months ago

This trail gave breathtaking panoramics that I've never seen from any other spot in Yosemite. Just as the description states, you can see everything but the mountain you are on.I would not consider this a hard hike, but moderate. Most of the hike is easy, but there is little stretch of a switchback or two, and the first granite face that you go down on your way to it seems much more steep on your way back up which qualifies as a moderate trek in my book, only due to the incline that you make on the return to the car. Parking was limited, and a lot of vehicles were along the road. There was a great place off to the right that offered some great view, about 2 miles in to the trail. Definitely recommend this hike. It was cooler being high up, and there was a very strong breeze/wind making it very cold once actually out on the dome. I'd recommend to take a wind breaker and maybe even some pants if you plan to hang out there.

backpacking
11 months ago

We started at the Porcupine Creek trail head and headed into the Yosemite wilderness for a few nights of backpacking. North Dome had amazing views and was very memorable. Lots of people on the trail but it wasn't too crowded at all. On a clear day you can see much of the valley, some waterfalls and get an epic picture with Half Dome in the background. It's a long hike, lots of ups and downs. Make sure to see the Natural Arch! After North Dome and making a complete loop with the natural arch, and back down the hills toward Lehamite creek, we camped another night then followed the trail to Yosemite Point (amazing), Upper Yosemite Falls and Yosemite Creek area. Make sure to bring lots of water and sunscreen! We hung out on the top of north dome for at least an hour - eating lunch, taking pictures and just gazing at the gorgeous views.

hiking
11 months ago

This trail is a lot of fun. It can be a little hard to find the trail when you get to the rocky section towards the end, so be attentive. We missed out on the view at the end due to heavy fog but the hike out was amazing nonetheless.

11 months ago

Great hike!! The way back was A LOT harder! Fantastic view of half dome and clouds rest.

hiking
Friday, February 02, 2018

All good when you first start out and the top of North Dome was stunning. Coming back was kind of tough on the knees. I was sore for days after but worth it.

backpacking
Wednesday, November 08, 2017

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
Saturday, September 16, 2017

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.

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