To anyone who has never hiked, or hasn’t hiked in a while, and is considering the North Dome Trail in Yosemite National Park…Nike it up, just do it!
Imagine: waking up even before the birds (brings the “early bird gets the worm” a whole new meaning) and getting to the trail before it is packed with tourists, families, and the whole nine. You arrive to see the start of the trail, and begin ascending into elevation one step at a time, crossing over creeks, redwood trees, deer, and darty chipmunks.
Eventually, you see signs that lead toward the trails as they split and provide varying options. After getting lost for a mile, you get back on track and the blue sky welcomes you to (1) day light, but also (2) reassurance that you’re getting close. You continue hiking up rocky terrain to cliff tops that you think eventually will drop off but never do. This is the trail’s true beauty being that it provides such a sense of mystery and curiousity that seem endless. Eventually you’re re-united with the right trail and there you see it… the iconic half dome, the staple of Yosemite National Park.
Now, I won’t lie it wasn’t the easiest of trails to find, because as you can imagine as you’re sneaking up rocky terrain every direction looks like a trail, but it is so worth it. We clocked our mileage when we returned to the car our hike ended up being 12-miles, just to put into perspective how far off we truly were–or could be looked as, how much more ambitious we were than the destined 8.8 mile trail.
Yes, 8 miles sounds a lot to someone who hasn’t trained for hiking, or used to elevation, or appreciated all Yosemite has to offer, but let’s be honest… when are we truly a 100% ready for anything? When my dad made this trail suggestion at first it sounded ambitious, and a bit grueling, but as soon as Matt and I heard what the reward was (the North Dome) we couldn’t turn it down.
The trail is best accessed from Porcupine Flat, which ends up being right in the middle Tioga Road. The estimated time is 4-6 hours. If you want to make most of this experience, bring a packed lunch with you so you can appreciate the view with food!