Winter Backpack to Sentinel Dome in Yosemite

18.8 Miles Round Trip - 860 ft gain - Out-and-Back Trail

Yosemite Ski & Snowboard Area - Search Nearby - Added by Kyle Frost

This hike/snowshoe offers Incredible views of Yosemite. The crowds thin out, leaving very few people in winter. 

The goal for our weekend was to do some winter camping in the Yosemite backcountry; we decided on Sentinel Dome as our destination. The trail is a cakewalk during the summer, but winter turns it into a 10 mile uphill grind from the car. Most people opt to head for the ski hut at Glacier Point, but Sentinel Dome is less crowded, and in my opinion, more rewarding.

The trailhead begins at the Badger Pass ski area. The Glacier Point Trail is closed to cars beyond that point, and provides an excellent snowshoeing or cross-country skiing track.

It’s approximately 9 miles from the parking lot to the Sentinel Dome trailhead. The road winds through the forest and eventually reveals fantastic views of the Sierras and Mt. Starr-King. When you reach the Sentinel Dome trailhead, you’ll leave the road and trek backcountry for a mile and a half to the summit of Sentinel Dome.

Enjoy the 360 degree panorama sunset. It can get COLD and windy in the winter, so be sure to pack accordingly.

In the morning, get up early to watch the sun crest over the mountains, and then cruise the 10 miles back to Badger pass. If you're not too tired, maybe you'll have time to get a few runs in!




18.8 Miles
860 ft elevation gain
Out-and-Back Trail

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Cross country ski to Sentinel Dome

Great article! I would just add that you can also cross country ski to Sentinel Dome or to Glacier Point. I got there in 3.5 hours on Saturday, including stopping to talk with may skiers and people on snow shoes You can go on your own or with friends, or you can join the Yosemite Winter Cross Country Club which has overnight trips to Glacier Point, Ostrander Lake, Tuolumne Meadow Turnaround or the Trans-Sierra. More information about the cross country section is available at