I had never hiked to the top of the Devil’s Dance Floor. I had tried but failed last year but we succeeded this year! We headed off trail and reached the top, a huge granite flat rock that looks like an aircraft carrier deck with views of Foresta, Bridalveil Fall and beyond!
Where: Yosemite National Park
Distance: 8.80 Miles
Elevation Range: 6,316′ – 6,810′
Date: June 14, 2018
Map: El Capitan and Hetch Hetchy Quads
Dog Hike? No
There are several ways to hike up to the top of the Devil’s Dance Floor. Last year, we attempted to get there from the south side, bush whacking our way until we ran out of time. This time we took a different approach. We drove east on Tioga Road, past the road to the Tamarack Campground about 6 1/2 miles, to a small pullout with bear boxes on the right (south) side of the road. The trail started there and headed south. Across the road is where the trail heads to Aspen Valley. You could also drive into the Tamarack Campground when it is open and start from there. We stashed our after hike goodies in the bear box and headed down the trail.
As soon as we started hiking, we could spot Devil’s Dance Floor way in the distance, a huge granite area that was in stark contrast with the forested area on our horizon.
As we walked down the trail through meadows and along a small creek, we expected to see bears. We saw fresh tracks and sign that came up the trail that morning but we didn’t spot any on our hike. I would bet that they spotted us though.
We expected some wildflowers along our trail in the more moist areas but the stonecrop was really putting on a show up in the granite cracks and crevices.
The trail soon followed Tamarack Creek down, then into the Tamarack Flat Campground.
This is probably a good time to talk about the many butterflies that we saw on this hike. From the beginning of the trailhead, the butterflies were out and when we reached the campground, they blanketed the restroom walls and gathered in the road. They even landed on us and wouldn’t fly off.
We started our approach to Devil’s Dance Floor from the north but soon discovered that a group was occupying the area where we had planned to walk through and we backtracked a little to give them space. We walked cross country over slash, crossing the creek a couple of times, then restarted our approach. I kept a close eye out for rattlesnakes but didn’t see any. Again, I bet some were watching us. We lucked out and hit a use trail that we followed up. We were up on the granite in no time but not quite to the top yet. We took our time in some spots on the granite where the loose decomposed granite made it a bit slippery.
I was really surprised how big and flat the top was. I just wasn’t expected it to be that huge and it really did remind me of an aircraft carrier deck. Once I got home I measured it on the topog map and the highest flat area is about .6 miles long.
As you would expect, the views did not disappoint.
It was time for lunch and we found the perfect spot. My hiking buddies took advantage of the flat rock to relax.
When it was time to head down, we pretty much followed the same way that we had come up.
If you decide to try this hike after the Tamarack Flat Campground is open, you can park at the campground, taking off about 1 1/2 miles each way. But then you will also have more people from the campground visiting this amazing place, so there are always trade offs.
Dog Hike? No
Dogs are not allowed on any of this 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.
Doarama, Map and Profile: