Hike to Mt. Watkins from Tioga Road

Mt. Watkins Trailhead, Yosemite NP - Search Nearby - Added by Shane Wolf

This is an incredible hike that you are guaranteed to see some of the best views of Half Dome and not be burdened by hundreds of tourists. This hike takes a little extra work to find and drive to, which makes it less appealing to the masses. However, when you find it, you are rewarded with life changing views.

Starting at about 8,000 feet on Tioga Road just before you reach Olmstead Point you will see a pullout on the side of the road. This is where you can park for this hike. You will walk past a gate and up towards an old rock quarry, which the trail passes just to the left of it. From there you will easily be able to follow the trail towards Mt. Watkins. About 2 miles in you pass a massive boulder and will turn left shortly after that and go down for a short while. The trail also has orange markers in the trees, as this is a cross country ski route during winter time.

You continue on the trail through the thick forest until you start going up hill towards the peak of Mt. Watkins. At this point the area will start to open up and you will feel like you are on top of the moon. Shortly the view of Half Dome will emerge in front of you in the distance, and Clouds Rest is to the East. Continue walking towards Half Dome until you get to the edge of Mt. Watkins and you can take a seat on a rock, have a sandwich and enjoy the view of a lifetime.

Distance

6 Miles RT

Elevation Gain

500 ft Gain

Type

Out-and-Back

Activities

Photography, Hiking

Forest
Scenic
Wildlife

Nearby Lodging

From $386/night

The Majestic Yosemite Hotel

Yosemite Valley, California

From $108/night

Housekeeping Camp

Yosemite Valley, California

From $90/night

Half Dome Village

Yosemite Valley, California

From $219/night

Yosemite Valley Lodge

9006 Yosemite Lodge Drive

Community Photos

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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