This hike was all about the views and there were some dandies, not to mention getting in a good workout as I gained 3,415′ to see those magnificent views along the Pohono Trail.
Where: Yosemite National Park
Distance: 8.79 Miles
Difficulty: Moderate to Strenuous
Elevation Range: 4,384′ – 7,087′
Elevation Gain: 3,415′
Date: November 12, 2021
CALTOPO: Pohono Trail from Tunnel View to Stanford and Crocker Points
Dog Hike? No
I parked my vehicle at the upper parking lot at the east end of the Wawona Tunnel and the trailhead started on the east of this parking area. l headed up the rock staircase taking me to the Pohono Trail.
The trail was well signed at the junctions and I followed the signs toward Crocker Point. 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 if you aren’t paying attention but I kept on following the signs. 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, including 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.
In the early morning light, I had sneak peaks of Bridalveil Fall and Half Dome as the trail climbed through the trees.
Most of the deciduous leaves had fallen off of the trees, blanketing the trail.
Soon the trail led out of the trees for a short distance, revealing wonderful views.
The trail was well signed but you needed to pay attention because it was blanketed in so many leaves.
Many trees had fallen on the trail, some really huge ones, but trail crews had done an amazing job of clearing them from the trail. There were a few small recent trees across the trail but nothing I couldn’t step over. Well, maybe one took a smidge more effort.
What a surprised to see these willows literally glowing in the morning light?
I had initially planned on heading to Dewey Point but when I approached Crocker Point (elevation at 7,090′), I guess i got lazy and decided that would be a wonderful place to stop, admire the views and eat an early lunch. 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.
As I sat on my rock, I looked closer that the sheer rockface to my southeast. This gigantic slab looked like pure rock but when I looked closer, trees had somehow gained enough of a root-hold to survive in small cracks. Beautiful!
I also checked out views into the area above Foresta and Devil’s Dancefloor.
It was time to start heading back down, crossing a few very small creeks.
On my way down, I made a quick stop at Stanford Point (elevation 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.
I walked carefully in some of the leafy areas because they could be kind of slippery going downhill.
Almost to the bottom, I noticed one dogwood hanging on to its fall colored leaves.
Then, one last view on the way down.
I like to do this hike after a fresh snowfall has coated the high country because those white mountains really set off the views from the points. This can also be a good snowshoe hike, even if you need to pack or carry your snowshoes up the first part, and you will be rewarded handsomely by the views. Once Badger Pass is open, you can also snowshoe or ski from there to Dewey Point. But no matter how or when you do it, the views from each of these points is so incredibly beautiful. You look straight down into the valleys and far off at the high country. My camera just cannot do it justice.
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.
What is a Doarama? It is a video playback of the GPS track overlaid on a 3 dimensional interactive map. If you “grab” the map, you can tilt it or spin it and look at it from different viewing angles. With the rabbit and turtle buttons, you can also speed it up, slow it down or pause it.
Map and Profile:
CALTOPO has some free options for mapping and here is a link to my hike this week, which you can view or download: CALTOPO: Pohono Trail from Tunnel View to Stanford and Crocker Points
Schaffer, Jeffrey P. Yosemite National Park, A Complete Hiker’s Guide. Berkeley, CA: Wilderness Press, May 2008. Pages 290-292.
Yosemite Valley Place Names
Hartesveldt, Richard J. Yosemite Valley Place Names. 1955
Prior Blogs in this Area: