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Glacier Point

Across the valley from Yosemite Falls you can see the rock that is Glacier Point. The road to Glacier Point takes off about four miles from the tunnel view along the southern route into the Valley. Parts of it are very twisty and I can see why it's often closed during the winter and when ice forms so I can forgive the prior closures on prior visits.

The trip, however, is well worth the drive. Along the way you come to an overlook of the Sierras (and parts of Yosemite). It's called Washburn Point. Do stop there. The view of the Sierras is spectacular and this is one of the best points to also get pictures of Vernal and Nevada Falls which will be just below you.

A panorama of the Clark Range of the Sierras is seen from Washburn Point...

Clark Range

Glacier Point

Swing the camera to the left of the above picture and you can see Half Dome and below that Vernal and Nevada Falls...

Vernal and Nevada Falls

Vernal Falls
Vernal Falls
Nevada Falls
Nevada Falls

When you finally get to the parking area at the top of Glacier Point there is still about a quarter mile paved trail to the overview point. Once there, however, you can see from Yosemite Falls all the way around to the upper Valley floor, Half Dome, and Vernal and Nevada Falls. It's a remarkable view and well worth the trip.

Valley from Glacier Point

Upper Valley and Half Dome

Fake firefall

No discussion of Glacier Point is complete without talking about the Firefall. This was a nightly event for close to 100 years. It stopped in 1968 due to the damage being done by people crowding onto the meadows trying to see the fall. Tree bark would be lit at the top of Glacier Point and at 9pm in the evening the glowing embers would be pushed over the edge in a spectacular fall of fire. The "picture" here is a digital recreation taking the Glacier Point picture above, darkening it, and overlaying on it my digital version of the Firefall.

In the 1940s, when I was a child, the family would vacation in Yosemite and I got to light the Firefall four different times. Here is where it all happened...

Firefall Location

There used to be a hotel at Glacier Point but, in a twist of fate, it burned down in 1969, a year after the firefall stopped. All that is there now is a concession stand so don't expect gourmet meals up on the Point unless you bring them with you.

By comparison, here is a picture from my Father's negative collection taken in the 1930s at what I thought was the same point. Note the safety railing which was a bit less at that time. I've been informed by a reader that this picture was not, however, taken from Glacier Point but that it is a picture from Wawona Point, the highest point of the trails in the Mariposa Grove, at 6810 ft. The view shows the south fork of the Merced River. The road to this point is now closed to cars. To get there take the tram in the Mariposa Grove and get off at the Galen Clark tree. Hike from there. [Thank you Judy]


That's it for the main tour of the Valley and surrounds. Now, let's look aroud at some odds and ends...

Yosemite Home | Mariposa Grove | Yosemite Valley | Valley Continued | Glacier Point | Odds and Ends | Ahwahnee Hotel | Outside the Park

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