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Hiking from Tunnel View to Dewey Point

We sure got in a good workout with the over 3,000′ elevational gain on this hike and saw Yosemite from some famous viewpoints along the way. Stanford Point, Crocker Point and Dewey Point delivered many ooohs and awes.

Where: Yosemite National Park
Distance: 10.40 Miles
Difficulty: Moderate to Strenuous
Elevation Range: 4,384′ – 7,387
Date: January 12, 2018
Maps: El Capitan
Dog Hike? No

We parked our vehicle at the upper parking lot at the east end of the Wawona Tunnel and stashed our goodies in the bear box. What a view we had that morning fro the parking lot of Half Dome and Bridalveil Falls! After taking that view in, we headed up the Pohono Trail that starts to the east of this parking lot.

The trail crosses the old Wawona Stage Road after about a half of a mile and it can be a bit confusing which way to go but the signs were very good at this location on this trip. On a previous trip, we were talking and not paying the attention that we should have and headed down the wrong way for a bit until we realized we had done. Just a heads up.

The old Wawona Road was constructed around 1875 and was a toll road that took passengers from the Wawona Hotel to the Yosemite Valley. After a huge project that took twenty nine months, blasting through over 4,200 feet of granite, the Wawona Tunnel opened in 1933. The Wawona Road was then shortened and redirected through the new tunnel. As I crossed this portion of the old road, I couldn’t help but imagine myself on one of those old stagecoaches heading down this steep road with straight drop-offs.

The trail had a few trees across it but nothing that we couldn’t walk over or around.

We chose to head directly up to Dewey Point, then stop by Crocker and Stanford Points on the way back. There were places along the trail that we had peeks of views up Tenaya Canyon.

We also had a couple of small creeks to get across but they were no problem.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was very disappointing that we only had a couple of very small patches of snow. There should be far more this time of the year.

Steve showed us a small tree that he had rescued a few years ago when it was totally bent over from the snow. Both the tree and Steve looked very happy!

 

I love the approach to Dewey Point, 7,200′ elevation. The high country just seems to unfold quickly before your eyes.

Dewey Point is named after Admiral George Dewey of the Spanish American War. He is best known for his victory at the Battle of Manila Bay during the Spanish-American War. He was also the only person in the history of the United States to have attained the rank of Admiral of the Navy, the most senior rank in the United States Navy.

The Library of Congress has a short biography of him located at the website listed in Sources at the bottom of the blog.

George Dewey was born on December 26, 1837 in Montpelier, Vermont. Upon his graduation from the Naval Academy in 1857, he was commissioned as a lieutenant in 1861. During the Civil War he served with Admiral Farragut during the Battle of New Orleans and as part of the Atlantic blockade. From 1871 until 1896, Dewey held a variety of positions in the Navy. In 1897 he was named commander of the Asiatic Squadron, thanks to the help of strong political allies, including Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Theodore Roosevelt.

Roosevelt’s help was also essential in supplying Dewey with guns, ammunition, and other needed supplies so that his fleet would be prepared if war broke out with Spain. An aggressive commander, Dewey ignored China’s neutrality and took on coal for his fleet at Mirs Bay. He was forced to leave Hong Kong on April 25, but not before the U.S.S. Baltimore had arrived from Honolulu with needed ammunition.

Thus prepared for battle, Dewey launched his attack, through mined waters and firing shore batteries, on Admiral Patricio Montojo’s slow, outmoded, under-supplied Spanish squadron at Cavite in Manila Bay. On May 1, he engaged the Spanish forces and demolished them, inflicting very heavy casualties. His troops occupied the bay and Manila itself alone until General Wesley Merritt’s soldiers arrived in August.

News of the victory in the Battle of Manila Bay reached President McKinley on May 7 and soon Dewey became a national hero. Congress awarded him a promotion to real admiral and handed out citations to members of his fleet. Although he thought about running for president, he settled for writing accounts of his famous victory and publishing his autobiography in 1913.

Admiral George Dewey (Autobiography of George Dewey, Admiral of the Navy (1916))

We noticed something very sad as soon as we reached Dewy Point. There is an iconic tree that has helped frame so many pictures over the years and we were very sad to see that it had died. It had rooted long ago in the granite slab of a rock, had been hit by lightning but was still seemed to be doing well last year when we visited it. This tree was an old friend.

The view from Dewey Point is gorgeous. You can look up Tenaya Canyon and see the snow coated higher country such as Clouds Rest and way up toward Tenaya Peak and beyond.

On our way back, we stopped by Crocker Point, official elevation at 7090′. Yosemite Valley Place Names by Richard J. Hartesveldt says that although there are two Crockers for whom the point could have been named, it is probably for Charles Crocker of the Central Railroad, since the point west of it is named Stanford Point, after Crocker’s associate, Leland Stanford.

Photo by Gail Gilbert

Can you spot Bridalveil Falls?

We arrived at the rim near Stanford Point, the official elevation stated as 5,246. Yosemite Valley Place Names by Richard J. Hartesveld said that it was probably named for Leland Stanford of the Central Pacific Railroad fame and later the governor of California. A place called “Standpoint of Silence” is shown on early maps in the same locality and may be the same point.

Photo by Gail Gilbert

We continued on down the trail, back the way that we had come up. We didn’t stop by Old Inspiration Point because it is a bit overgrown and we were ready to get back down the trail. A little bit before we reached the Tunnel View Parking lot, we were treated to another amazing view.

We had another great hike in Yosemite, having our time at Stanford, Crocker and Dewey Points all to ourselves. We did see a few hikers and backpackers coming in as we were heading back.

We elected to not wear ice traction devices on this hike but we packed them. I want to share with you what I use in case it might be helpful for your travels in icy areas. My favorites are Kahtoola Microspikes, which I have been using for a few years. They are easy to slip on and really bite into the ice. Along with using poles, it helps keep you upright better than if you didn’t have them on. One of the downsides of them is you don’t want to wear them on rocks or dirt as they will wear down the pointy teeth. There are also other types of traction devices out there that may work well for you. They don’t weigh much and are easy to keep in your pack.

Dog Hike? No

Dogs are not allowed on the Tunnel View Trail.

Where Pets Are Not Allowed

  • On trails, including the trail to Vernal Fall (however, pets are allowed on the Wawona Meadow Loop)
  • On unplowed roads covered in snow
  • In undeveloped and wilderness areas
  • In public buildings
  • On shuttle buses
  • In lodging areas
  • In all walk-in and group campgrounds/campsites, including Camp 4
  • In any other areas, as signed

These regulations protect both pets and wildlife from disease and each other. The National Park Service has prohibited pets on trails for many years. In particular, some pets chase wildlife, pollute water sources, and can become defensive and dangerous in unfamiliar surroundings. Pet owners have the burden to assure their pet does not damage the park values for others in those areas where pets are allowed.

Yosemite Hospitality operates a dog kennel in Yosemite Valley from approximately late May through early September. Written proof of immunizations (rabies, distemper, parvo, and Bordetella) must be provided. Dogs must be at least 20 pounds (smaller dogs may be considered if you provide a small kennel). You can get more information about the kennel by calling 209/372-8326.

Map and Profile:
Tunnel View to Dewey Point Doarama

Tunnel View to Dewey Point Topographic Map

Tunnel View to Dewey Point Profile

Sources:

http://www.undiscovered-yosemite.com/wawona-road.html
Schaffer, Jeffrey P. Yosemite National Park, A Complete Hiker’s Guide. Berkeley, CA: Wilderness Press, May 2008. Pages 290-292.
Yosemite Valley Place Names
Wikipedia George Dewey
http://www.ohranger.com/yosemite/poi/stanford-point
Autobiography of George Dewey 1916
Admiral George Dewey Library of Congress
http://www.yosemite.ca.us/library/yosemite_valley_place_names/#s
Hartesveldt, Richard J. Yosemite Valley Place Names. 1955
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Dewey
http://kahtoola.com/product/microspikes/

Prior Blogs in this Area:

Tunnel View To Dewey Point Hike January 8, 2014

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