Porcupine Creek Trail to Indian Ridge Natural Arch to North Dome

MODERATE 140 reviews
#17 of 234 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
4 days ago

Great one night reco. We went to the wilderness station looking for a day-of permit. This trail was the suggestion. We stayed on porcupine trail past the north dome fork, after another 1.5 miles the trail splits right to Yosemite falls, and left to north dome. If you go left toward north dome for about .4 miles, there are some great campsites a few hundred feet off the trail on a ridge with great views, open space. Walk past the first campsite to get some better ones. We set up camp and went to north dome for sunset, and spent a night before packing out in morning. Easy and enjoyable one nighter.

hiking
8 days ago

This is a beautiful hike with amazing views! I would say moderately challenging on way back as uphill. Mosquitos were not too bad but be prepared. Mid July is when we went. Perfect day hike.

Amazing views of Half Dome from North Dome! Great hike. Highly recommend.

hiking
17 days ago

This trail deserves a 5 star in our book! If you can't hike the half dome for any reason, then this trail is the next best thing. It offers multiple trails that lead to Yosemite falls, Yosemite valley, and Mirror lake. There is a trail that leads to the indian arch rock, we did half that trail spending a little time looking at the half dome from there. Finally getting to the end of north dome, The view is absolutely stunning and worth every penny.

hiking
3 months ago

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

6 months ago

Amazing hike! A must do!

hiking
8 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
8 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.

10/22/18 Fairly uneventful until you reach the clearing around the 3.5 mile mark...then it’s amazing. I didn’t hike all the way out to the dome, due to it being late in the day, but the views from the first overlook (which is higher) are still worth the walk in the woods. It’s a neat profile of Half Dome that I’ve never seen, it gives you a scale of how large it really is. Lucked into a full moon rising over Clouds Rest too!

9 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!

9 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
9 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
9 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
9 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
10 months ago

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

backpacking
10 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
10 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.

11 months ago

Second time and still my favorite trail

hiking
Friday, July 13, 2018

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.

Friday, July 13, 2018

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
Monday, July 09, 2018

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.

Friday, July 06, 2018

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

hiking
Friday, June 29, 2018

Well maintained trail with great view at the end.

hiking
Sunday, June 24, 2018

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
Tuesday, June 19, 2018

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
Sunday, June 17, 2018

So nice !!

hiking
Sunday, June 17, 2018

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!

Saturday, June 16, 2018

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

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