North Dome in Yosemite National Park is one of the most underrated views in all of Yosemite. The views of Half Dome smack hikers right in their face, the sheer cliffs and views into the valley are unmatched by nearly every other spot in the park, and the crowds are relatively small on this large dome viewpoint. Here’s everything you should know about this awesome hike.
Difficulty – Intermediate
Distance –8.72 Miles Round Trip (14.03 km)
Height – 7,467 feet (2275.94 m)
Elevation gain –1,995 Feet (608.08 m)
Duration – 5-6 hours round trip
Hike Class: Class 2
Trailhead Location – Porcupine Creek Trailhead (8,117)
Dogs – Not allowed
Need To Know Information
- A permit is required to enter Yosemite at many parts of the year: https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/permitsandreservations.htmhttps://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/arp/recarea/?recid=8080
- Additional permits are not required to hike this trail unless hikers are spending the night at tent sites above, or are hiking to half dome.
- You can hike to North Dome year round, but there are road closures to take into account that would require hikers to hike from the Valley in winter, making this a long hike. Routes are described below. The road closure information can be found here.
The main route to North Dome is from Tioga Road, which is closed in winter often until late May or June. This route is significantly shorter than the alternative necessary when the road is closed.
North Dome From Tioga Road
Distance: 8.72 Miles Round Trip (14.03 km)
Elevation Gain: 1,995 Feet (608.08 m)
Starting at the Porcupine Creek Trailhead, hikers begin several hundred feet higher than North Dome, so they begin descending for about a mile before gradually ascending a little before a mile into the hike. Hikers turn left to head towards Indian Arch and Indian rock (a cool detour) but follow signs towards North Dome. Hikers will reach a trail junction above North Dome with the end of the hike in sight. From here they will drop a steep portion of trail down to the dome outcrop with incredible views. This drop is about 750 feet.
Hikers are rewarded with pretty incredible views just about the entire hike, but the majority of the elevation gain is on the way back to Tioga road. (About 640 feet of incline to North Dome total, and about 1,355 feet of total incline on the way back.)
North Dome From Yosemite Falls Trailhead
Distance: 14.88 Miles Round Trip (23.95 km)
Elevation Gain: 7,565 Feet (2305.81 m)
This is not the recommended route due to the very long hike required for a single day. That being said, it can be done, or this is an amazingly awesome starting point, or end point for an overnight trip (if you get wilderness permits).
This is probably the most efficient way to get to North Dome if Tioga Road is closed.
Hiking in Winter
Refer to trail closures and winter hiking info here.
Nearby lodging and campground information can be found here.
And getting backcountry/wilderness camping permit info can be found here.
Here is a detailed weather forecast for the area:
Yosemite Valley, CA
Partly cloudy, with a low around 40. Northeast wind around 5 mph.
Rain likely after 10am. Mostly sunny. High near 60, with temperatures falling to around 50 in the afternoon. South wind 5 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New rainfall amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch possible.
Rain likely before 4am, then a slight chance of rain and snow. Mostly cloudy. Low around 29, with temperatures rising to around 32 overnight. Wind chill values as low as 29. West southwest wind 5 to 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New rainfall amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch possible.
A chance of rain and snow. Partly sunny, with a high near 49. Wind chill values as low as 26. South wind 5 to 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%. New rainfall amounts less than a tenth of an inch possible.
A chance of rain and snow before 10pm. Partly cloudy, with a low around 21. West northwest wind around 5 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%. New rainfall amounts less than a tenth of an inch possible.
Sunny, with a high near 52. North wind around 5 mph.
Mostly clear, with a low around 26. East northeast wind around 5 mph.
Directions to Mist Trail Trailhead:
Directions to Yosemite Falls Trailhead:
Max DesMarais is the founder of hikingandfishing.com. He has a passion for the outdoors and making outdoor education and adventure more accessible. Max is a published author for various outdoor adventure, travel, and marketing websites. He is an experienced hiker, backpacker, fly fisherman, trail runner, and spends his free time in the outdoors. These adventures allow him to test gear, learn new skills, and experience new places so that he can educate others. Max grew up hiking all around New Hampshire and New England. He became obsessed with the New Hampshire mountains, and the NH 48, where he guided hikes and trail runs in the White Mountains. Since moving out west, Max has continued his frequent adventures in the mountains, always testing gear, learning skills, gaining experience, and building his endurance for outdoor sports. You can read more about his experience here: hikingandfishing/about