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Re: reccos on "best" way to hike Sentinel Dome and Taft Pt

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avatar reccos on "best" way to hike Sentinel Dome and Taft Pt
May 06, 2012 10:22PM
Hi everyone, upcoming first trip to Yosemite (end of May) and looking for a bit of guidance on the "best" way to do Sentinel Dome and Taft Point.

Most trail guides I have read say SD and TP are a 2.2 mi roundtrip; this is deceiving because it seems that each one is 2.2 mi r/t from the shared trailhead. So, it would be 4.4 mi to do both as a pair of back-to-back loops both starting at the trailhead. This approach would miss the segment of the Pohono Trail that connects between SD and TP.

I recently read here of the area to park just up GP Road from this trailhead, the dirt lot near the old service road. This puts you much closer to SD and looks like a great time-saver to SD. I had assumed it also would be a time-saver for continuing on to TP, but I mapped the trail and came to 2.9 mi one-way from that dirt parking area to TP (including going up and down SD). So to go to TP this way and then double back would be about 5.3 mi (I subtracted about .5 mi for the return trip because we wouldn't go up and down SD again). In other words this approach seems to be a little longer than looping through the shared trailhead, according to my calculations. Is that right?

A third approach would be to do a 'triangle', starting at either the shared trailhead or the dirt parking area then taking one big loop (SD trail to Pohono to TP then TP trail back to trailhead, or reverse order). I suppose it wouldn't really matter where we started with this approach since we would have to do the full loop to end up back where you started. I don't know how long this approach would be -- it seems it would end up longer than either of the first two approaches but I really don't know.

Distance is not our only consideration – scenery is worth a little extra distance, for example. I believe Pohono has great scenery in many spots but from the trailhead out to TP and much of the trail to SD is forest. Elevation changes would be another consideration.

So two basic questions: first, is my math correct on distances? And second, all in all, what recommendations do you have for a SD/TP hike – where to start and what route to take? Thanks in advance.
Re: reccos on "best" way to hike Sentinel Dome and Taft Pt
May 07, 2012 12:53AM
I would recommend the "V." Start from parking lot w/outhouse, two round-trips. The Pohono trail section between SD and Taft isn't particularly memorable, although I've never crossed Sentinel Creek during the spring run-off season.

If you have time, try to fit in Dewey Point via McGurk Meadow.
avatar Re: reccos on "best" way to hike Sentinel Dome and Taft Pt
May 07, 2012 06:47AM
It's about 5 miles if you just do the loop and out and back to TP from that loop.
In other words park where everyone else parks... hike counterclockwise
up Sentinel ... then take Pohono section north of Sentinel Dome... across Sentinel
Creek to Taft Jct... go out to Taft and then back to your car.
That is my recommendation. Lots and lots of trails are in the forest...
but there are neat rock formations and views to be found and explored.
From Pohono N of Sentinel... I took these just recently:
http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?3,54001,54105#msg-54105

http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?3,53841,53846#msg-53846

and top of Sentinel can be found here:
http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?3,54029

Have fun

O... crossing Sentinel on Pohono should never be much of any issue
since there are numerous logs to choose from...
and it is about 400 ft. elevation gain from the creek up to the jct to Taft



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avatar Re: reccos on "best" way to hike Sentinel Dome and Taft Pt
May 07, 2012 08:32AM
I would hike on foot...but that's just me.

Sorry, couldn't help it...it's Monday!



"It is all very beautiful and magical here - a quality which cannot be described. You have to live it and breath it., let the sun bake it into you" - Ansel Adams
Re: reccos on "best" way to hike Sentinel Dome and Taft Pt
May 08, 2012 07:35AM
Just hike the loop. Math sucks, hiking rules.

Seriously, you get some nice views of the valley hiking from Sentinel to Taft, on the outer part of the loop. We usually go counterclockwise and have a snack here and there.

Don't let the squirrels get too close - keep 'em wild!
Re: reccos on "best" way to hike Sentinel Dome and Taft Pt
May 08, 2012 12:05PM
Yup, I'm with the "V" gang as well...do the big loop (TH->Sentinel->Pohono-to-Taft->TH). There are some nice views to be had along that stretch of Pohono, especially around the spot where Sentinel Creek turns in to Sentinel Falls. Don't know how long you've been lurking but you can get a LOT of great advice around here but do be sure to let us know what your level of experience is and whether any of it is at altitude. By all means, push yourself...the payoffs are well worth the effort (most of us in this forum would probably tell you that that's more true in this park than anywhere else) but don't push so hard that all you take back is memories of horrible pain! One of the many beauties of Yosemite is the incredible range of hikes available...from completely flat, short strolls from the parking lot to multi-day tracks through the wilderness with altitude gains measured in thousands of feet (sometimes SEVERAL thousand feet!). Enjoy!
avatar Re: reccos on "best" way to hike Sentinel Dome and Taft Pt
May 08, 2012 12:27PM
Thanks everyone, great replies so far. I had a feeling that the segment of Pohono between SD and TP would offer good scenery and such, while I read that the trailhead-to-TP in particular is forested and less "interesting" (I know, depends on your definition of "interesting", but...).

Yes I have been lurking here already, this is a great forum, seems many "insiders" who know each other well so I hope you don't mind my popping in with a my question =). BTW did search here before posting my Q but didn't find the info I'm seeking. I have it now though!

@AmostThere: yes math does suck, actually my interest is in allotting time, not tracking distance per se.

Experience: it will be myself (almost age 52) and 11-year old daughter. Not much "true" hiking experience, though I am athletic and in very good shape (both cardio and strength) and my daughter -- well, she has the energy of an 11-year old. We did a short steep hike this past weekend near home (breaking in the new boots!) and no issues. No experience hiking at altitude, and this SD/TP hike will be our first above 7,000 (we are doing Panorama to Mist, downhill, the next day). Dealing with altitude I just figured we would go at whatever pace we can and rest often, so to me it's really just a matter of budgeting time to go slow if needed.

FYI we will have 4 days in Yosemite and plan to do the easy hikes/strolls to the waterfall bases in the Valley (Bridalveil and Lower Yos Fall), part of Upper Yos Fall to Columbia Rock (probably a little further actually), Mariposa Grove, a few other easy ones (Cooks Meadow perhaps), that's the first 3 days and then on 4th day will drive out Tioga Pass Rd and stop to explore Tenaya Lake and TM (probably hike Pothole there). Prior to Yosemite we will be in SF, Monterey, and Big Sur and will do some hiking there too (but obviously at low altitude).

Thanks again all, very helpful info and I'm very appreciative you've taken the time to help. Certainly any further comments appreciated!
Re: reccos on "best" way to hike Sentinel Dome and Taft Pt
May 08, 2012 12:41PM
I agree, doing it as a loop is better than two out and back hikes. However, the RIGHT way is clockwise; Taft Point, Pohono, Sentinel Dome. winking smiley
avatar Re: reccos on "best" way to hike Sentinel Dome and Taft Pt
May 08, 2012 01:09PM
Thanks. Yes I was thinking clockwise because this will be a late afternoon hike (afterwards hanging out at GP for picnic dinner, sunset, stargazing), and I don't think we want to be coming back from TP to the trailhead through the forest if it's starting to get dark so thinking to start rather than end that way....

Otherwise why would clockwise vs. counter matter? Folks obviously have preferences.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/08/2012 01:10PM by JRinGeorgia.
avatar Re: reccos on "best" way to hike Sentinel Dome and Taft Pt
May 08, 2012 01:46PM
I said counter b/c LEFT is BEST.
tongue sticking out smiley

Seriously if you go the other way... then you have a much larger climb all the way down from Sentinel Creek to tippy top of Sentinel Dome.
I've hiked with the wifey in the dark from Sentinel to Taft TH (we dooz the V once)... so it's a good point you make.

Conclusion: Have fun and go whichever way you like. It really doesn't matter. Sunset atop Sentinel with a full moon is really nice.
Sunset atop Sentinel without a full moon is nice. smiling smiley



Picasa Pictures
avatar Re: reccos on "best" way to hike Sentinel Dome and Taft Pt
May 08, 2012 02:47PM
Quote
JRinGeorgia

Thanks. Yes I was thinking clockwise because this will be a late afternoon hike (afterwards hanging out at GP for picnic dinner, sunset, stargazing), and I don't think we want to be coming back from TP to the trailhead through the forest if it's starting to get dark so thinking to start rather than end that way....


One thing though, if you're doing the trails for the first-time in a clockwise direction, when coming back from Sentinel Dome to the Taft Point/Sentinel Dome parking lot, you might miss the right-turn turnoff from the old road to the trail that leads back to the parking lot and you might actually end up at the dirt lot by Glacier Point Road by mistake. A good number of trail newbies have made that error, especially after sunset in the dark.

On the other hand, going counter-clockwise, my main concern about leaving Taft Point in the dark would be accidentally falling down into one of the fissures. That could be fatal. But once past the fissures and back on the trail, using a headlamp and/or flashlight, it really isn't that difficult to stay on that trail. That trail is pretty well marked and worn down by all the foot traffic. I doubt that you would get lost on it in the dark as long as you brought along some artificial illumination (headlamps and/or flashlights).

.
Re: reccos on "best" way to hike Sentinel Dome and Taft Pt
May 08, 2012 05:26PM
Quote
JRinGeorgia
we are doing Panorama to Mist, downhill, the next day). Dealing with altitude I just figured we would go at whatever pace we can and rest often, so to me it's really just a matter of budgeting time to go slow if needed.
If you haven't already figured this out, do be aware that, after you get to Illilouette Creek along the Panorama, you have to climb back up about 700 ft...that caught us by surprise the first time we did it...again, well worth the effort but allow time for that.

Have a FABULOUS trip and bring LOTS of memory cards & batteries for your camera(s)...it's very hard to take less-than-beautiful photos in Yosemite. I think you've got a nice balance of locations for a first time visit. When you're in Mariposa Grove, be sure to go the extra distance to the Upper Grove...except for when the tram comes through, it will be a lot less crowded up there (actually, after you pass the Grizzly Giant tree, the crowds tend to thin out pretty rapidly).

I'm always excited for people getting to see Yosemite for the first time...it was literally a life-altering experience for me. Be sure to check in with us and let us know how it went after you're back.
avatar Re: reccos on "best" way to hike Sentinel Dome and Taft Pt
May 08, 2012 05:55PM
Quote
DavidK42

When you're in Mariposa Grove, be sure to go the extra distance to the Upper Grove...except for when the tram comes through, it will be a lot less crowded up there (actually, after you pass the Grizzly Giant tree, the crowds tend to thin out pretty rapidly).

A nice alternative for those who don't what to hoof it up to the upper Mariposa Grove but still would like to hike through it would be to pay for the Tram tour and then tell the driver you would like to get off at the top of the loop at the fallen Wawona Tunnel Tree and then hike back down to the Lower Grove and the parking lot. That's a standard option some people take when taking the tram tour. You get only half of the tour, but then you get to leisurely hike back – downhill – to your car.

.
avatar Re: reccos on "best" way to hike Sentinel Dome and Taft Pt
May 08, 2012 02:52PM
Quote
DavidK42
Yup, I'm with the "V" gang as well...do the big loop (TH->Sentinel->Pohono-to-Taft->TH). There are some nice views to be had along that stretch of Pohono, especially around the spot where Sentinel Creek turns in to Sentinel Falls.

The V is TH->Taft->TH->Sentinel->TH... skipping the Pohono section N of Sentinel

(So I presume you are with the "Loopy" gang)
smiling smiley



Picasa Pictures
Re: reccos on "best" way to hike Sentinel Dome and Taft Pt
May 08, 2012 07:14PM
If you do your Columbia Rock hike first, the Sentinel Dome and Taft Point hikes will seem easy no matter which way you go, even if you do them as separate legs. The upper Falls trail doesn't fool around, starting immediately with steep switchbacks (in the shade mostly, though). I think because of this, a high percentage of people go no farther than Columbia Rock.

Since you said you "might go a little farther", you really should give it a try, at least to where you have a good view of upper Yosemite Fall. After you leave Columbia Rock you'll probably be very tempted to turn back...it's steep, in the sun, and with the same view you've already seen. If you bear with it for just a short distance, it levels out and even gets downhill, gets some shade and water to splash in your face, and leads to a great view of the upper fall. The "snow cone" at the base is pretty much gone now, but still some nice midday rainbows to add to the view. You can continue until you're right alongside the upper fall if you want, but after that it's sort of a long steep haul to the top, out of view of the fall, so if you're going to turn around, either of those are a good spot.

After you pass Columbia rock and it levels out and goes down, when you first see the upper fall appearing through the bushes, start watching to the right, and you'll see a trail heading down (there's a false trail just before it, so it's easy to spot) and you'll get a rare view of the middle cascades and over the top of lower Yosemite Fall and down to the tiny folks on the footbridge. That little spur trail is very short and very worth doing, and there's even a rail at the overlook.

I've never personally been that excited about the Sentinel Dome hike, but Taft point has great views also, and the fissures just before you get there are pretty amazing. You don't want to be at Taft Point when it's getting dark, (those fissures are hard to see until you're almost on them). However, once you get a little way to the wooded area, it's easy, so even if it's near dark when you leave, that part of the trail is easy after you leave the fissures area.

Have fun, you picked some good choices, though the upper falls trail is strenuous, at least I think so. The Taft-Sentinel one is good no matter how you do it, so don't be too concerned about which direction you do it, or where you park. Add that to the pano trail (don't underestimate, it's fairly long and if you take the mist trail down from Nevada/Vernal, has a lot of steps. I'd put the Sentinel Dome/Taft Pt. hike in the middle of the other two, because it will give you a chance to take things a bit easy between the upper falls and the Pano hikes.



Gary
Yosemite Photo Galleries: http://www.pbase.com/roberthouse/yo
avatar Re: reccos on "best" way to hike Sentinel Dome and Taft Pt
May 09, 2012 12:13PM
Thanks again everyone, I am a "planner" and like to know lots of details about places I visit, I feel doing so helps maximize the whole experience, and you all are giving me lots of great tips and advice that will help me in that process. Actually many of the tips you are offering I already have come across, but no worries from this end -- I would much rather hear a good tip twice than not at all!

@chick-on: I did not consider the uphill slog from Sentinel Creek to top of the dome, a tip I have not heard before but makes perfect sense, excellent insight.

@plawrence: also had not heard that the trail could be hard to follow where it meets the service road, another great planning tip. FYI our plan is not to be out on this trail after dark, we want to be done and at Glacier Point for sunset, but I was thinking that even in the hour or two before sunset that the forested parts of the trail (TP to TH) could be darker. We will have headlamps (and the rest of 10 essentials) in our packs nonetheless.

@DavidK42: yes I did already know that Pano isn't all downhill from GP, it's down to Illilouette then up, and about 700 ft elevation gain is what I've heard before, and then it's pretty much all downhill from there. Glad to have that confirmed, thanks. I don't think that will be too much of an issue for us -- yes it's about 9 miles back to the Valley floor, we plan to catch the 8:30a one-way shuttle to GP to start the hike around 10a, and I've left the entire day just for that Pano/Mist hike. Even if we average 1 mph we should be done around dinner time. I already bought a new memory card (had only 1GB, got a 4GB as well) and plan to download pics every night to start with completely empty cards each day. As for Mariposa Grove, we may or may not go all the way to the upper grove and the overlook to Wawona Meadow -- personally I'm all in, but I envision my daughter will reach a "tree saturation point" and we may just do the lower grove and wander into the first part of the upper, we'll play that by ear. And I absolutely will report back after the trip -- your well wishes are very appreciated, it's always good to see the "veterans" encouraging the "rookies." Your excitement only adds to ours. Back to plawrence, I have seen that some people do the Mariposa Grove shuttle one-way up and then hike down, however I'm already stretching the budget and that ride seems pricey.

@SierraFan: yes when I said a little past Columbia Rock I meant up to the point where we get UYF in all its glory. Actually got that tip from one of the videos on YNP's website (I assume all you guys have seen those). Great tip about the "spur" to trail the middle falls overlook. I know this will be a strenuous climb, but I think we will be OK. For perspective, our "practice hike" this past weekend was up and down a waterfall that is about 600 ft elevation gain, it's so steep that the "trail" is literally a man-made staircase, but admittedly not at elevation (FYI I'm referring to Amicalola Falls in Georgia, supposedly tallest waterfall east of the Mississippi). We handled that just fine.

Some of you have offered advice about which days to do things with which other things. FWIW here is a quick sketch of our Yosemite itinerary:

Day 1: the day before we will be driving Big Sur and then heading to Merced for the night, so Day 1 in Yosemite starts in Merced. We'll head out early, when we get to YNP the plan is:
Bridalveil Fall
UYF Trail to Columbia Rock
afternoon horse/mule ride to Mirror Lake
late afternoon/evening is open, maybe rent bikes or do LYF or Cooks Meadow
night in Oakhurst (yes I know, not great, but for a variety of reasons that's where we will be)

Day 2:
Mariposa Grove
quick stop in Wawona (frankly I'm not "wowed" by what I've read is there, but worth an hour I suppose)
Tunnel View stop
raft/float the Merced in the Valley
drive up GP Rd
SD+TP hike
GP for sunset and after-dark stargazing

Day 3: Pano/Mist Trail. That's the day, unless we make good time in which case we'll do something additional quick and easy in the Valley that late afternoon/evening.

Day 4: Tioga Pass Rd most of the day, stops at Olmstead and Tenaya then 3-4 hours at TM, exit east gate late afternoon to go to Mono Lake for sunset walk.

As for timing, we arrive Tue 5/29 (the day after Memorial Day) and leave Fri 6/1 so all mid-week, hoping to miss the big crowds. Added bonus (I hope): this will be just a few days before full moon, and moonrise times look good (late afternoon).

There is so much I want to do there, and yet I feel that as it is we will experience more than most visitors do. I am seriously contemplating (fantasizing?) a solo return trip to do Half Dome, North Dome, Cloud's Rest, and so much more of the high country. Doesn't cost anything to dream!

Again, my sincerest thanks for the time you all have taken to help us.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/09/2012 12:18PM by JRinGeorgia.
Re: reccos on "best" way to hike Sentinel Dome and Taft Pt
May 09, 2012 12:44PM
JR, just want to say that I am in the same boat as you! My brother and I will be making our "first" trip to the Valley the week after you. We actually both made our first trip up to Yosemite last year in Tuolumne Meadows (on Labor Day weekend) and drove down to the valley and GP one of the afternoons but did not do any hiking in the valley.

I too am looking forward to our upcoming trip and have many of the same plans as you have (Mist Trail, Yosemite Falls, Sentinel Dome, 4 Mile) and the info in this thread is helping me determine our planning as well. So thanks for this and have a great trip.
avatar Re: reccos on "best" way to hike Sentinel Dome and Taft Pt
May 09, 2012 01:45PM
Quote
JRinGeorgia

Some of you have offered advice about which days to do things with which other things. FWIW here is a quick sketch of our Yosemite itinerary:

Day 1: the day before we will be driving Big Sur and then heading to Merced for the night, so Day 1 in Yosemite starts in Merced. We'll head out early, when we get to YNP the plan is:
Bridalveil Fall
UYF Trail to Columbia Rock
afternoon horse/mule ride to Mirror Lake
late afternoon/evening is open, maybe rent bikes or do LYF or Cooks Meadow
night in Oakhurst (yes I know, not great, but for a variety of reasons that's where we will be)


If you're a member of Costco, Costco sell gasoline at their Merced store. It's usually the cheapest place to purchase gas in Merced with a credit card (AMEX) though there are some other independents that their cash-only price matches Costco's price.


Quote
JRinGeorgia
Day 2:

Day 3: Pano/Mist Trail. That's the day, unless we make good time in which case we'll do something additional quick and easy in the Valley that late afternoon/evening.


If you arrive back early from you'll all-day hike, a nice place to unwind, relax and veg. out with children is the Yosemite Lodge Pool. If free to use for Yosemite Lodge overnight guests but they only charge a small fee for anyone else to use the pool facility. (And there's a great view of Upper Yosemite Fall from the pool deck smiling smiley ). Also there's a nice ice cream stand next to the pool. But check what the current pool hours are before you head out to it. They usually close down the pool early in the evening.


Quote
JRinGeorgia
Day 4: Tioga Pass Rd most of the day, stops at Olmstead and Tenaya then 3-4 hours at TM, exit east gate late afternoon to go to Mono Lake for sunset walk.


If you're going to be around Mono Lake for dinner time, be sure to check out the Whoa Nellie Deli at the Mobil Gas Station. It's going to be under new ownership this year, but hopefully the food is still as great as before (they're supposed to be keeping the same menu and recipes).

.
avatar Re: reccos on "best" way to hike Sentinel Dome and Taft Pt
May 09, 2012 07:25PM
@LBFam: glad this was helpful to you too, have a great time.

@plawrence: More excellent tips! And I'm really laughing -- would you believe that I already had searched for Costo stores along our travel route and had this one written into the margin of our itinerary. I told you I'm a planner :-) But I had done that thinking about trail mix and such, never thought about gas that's a great idea. In our case, however, I think we will be getting there after they close and leaving the next morning before they open. But if there's a way we can get trail mix and/or gas there, we will.

That pool sounds like a great idea after that hike. Only complication is "pool stuff", I would have to carry the bathing suits and flip-flops for 9 miles, which frankly doesn't sound like a big deal to me, but I would want to look into whether the hotel can provide towels or if I'd have to carry those too.

And I'd already heard lots of good things about Whoa Nellie and it's already in our plans for that night. And yes I even had read, on this forum, about the change-over there (see, I told you I've been lurking)...

Back on gas prices, are you aware that you can search in mapquest (for example "gas prices: merced ca" within mapquest) and up pops a list of prices in the area plotted on a map? I just learned of this, although it doesn't show Costco. Hmmm.
avatar Re: reccos on "best" way to hike Sentinel Dome and Taft Pt
May 09, 2012 07:32PM
Quote
JRinGeorgia

That pool sounds like a great idea after that hike. Only complication is "pool stuff", I would have to carry the bathing suits and flip-flops for 9 miles, which frankly doesn't sound like a big deal to me, but I would want to look into whether the hotel can provide towels or if I'd have to carry those too.


The Lodge has clean towels for anyone to use at the pool. My only concern would be the pool hours. Depending how long it takes for you to hike the Panorama Trail, the pool might be already closed down for the day by the time you arrive there. Hence, call ahead to check its hours of operation.
.
avatar Re: reccos on "best" way to hike Sentinel Dome and Taft Pt
May 09, 2012 07:38PM
One observation on the plan...day 2 looks likely to be extremely crowded. Wawona...by itself not so interesting, but the lower-most falls on Chilnualna Creek is probably a 5 minute hike up the trail. Tunnel View is a quick stop, of course, but Inspiration Point (see posts elsewhere, including Chick-On's lunch stop last weekend in preference to Curry Village Pizza) would be a 1.5 mile hike (each way) from tunnel view and is quite nice. Not sure how long the rafting would take, but when I read your itinerary I was imagining this in the afternoon, _followed_ by Glacier Point Road. You're planning to hike Sentinel Dome, which is quite nice, but there's at least two points on the road between there and Glacier Point that are also pretty impressive.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/09/2012 07:39PM by ttilley.
Re: reccos on "best" way to hike Sentinel Dome and Taft Pt
May 09, 2012 07:47PM
Maybe slow down a bit: to smell the flowers / enjoy the view / rest with your feet in the river for a while.
avatar Re: reccos on "best" way to hike Sentinel Dome and Taft Pt
May 09, 2012 10:03PM
Quote
KatyAnderson
Maybe slow down a bit: to smell the flowers / enjoy the view / rest with your feet in the river for a while.

Bingo.

I agree with Meester ttilly also.. day 2 is pretty rushed it seems. Why not spend 1/2 day at Mariposa and 1/2
day Glacier Pt. rd... it's all in that direction.
Take your time at the grove and 110% go to the upper grove as others have mentioned. It is worth the effort.
Go all the way to Wawona Pt. if you can.



Picasa Pictures
avatar Re: reccos on "best" way to hike Sentinel Dome and Taft Pt
May 10, 2012 07:32AM
Thanks for the feedback. Hmmm, day 2 doesn't seem as rushed to me, but maybe I need to reconsider. As to why not spend more time in Mariposa Grove, my thinking is that because we then will miss something else we want to do. Only so much time, have to make trade-offs. I also think my daughter could saturate on the trees, and right as the elevation starts to climb. Which is another thought about the upper grove, I am mindful that later that day we want to do SD+TP, and our first time ever at that altitude, so I want to be sure to save our strength.

The plan that day is to start early from Oakhurst, get to Mariposa Grove around 7:45am and leave around 9:30, whatever of the grove we can see in that timeframe. Purposely want to get there early to park at the grove.
Get to Wawona around 9:45 and leave 10:30. (though the suggestion to take the short walk to lower Chilnualna Creek falls is tempting me to stretch this).
Get to Tunnel view around 11 and leave 11:30.
An open 4-hour block approx 11:30-3:30 for rafting on Merced and/or something else (and picnic lunch). This is our "slow-down" time, just sit and soak in the scenery and atmosphere, plenty of toe-dipping, get out on a beach if we want, etc.
3:45-5:00 drive up GP Rd (stop at Washburn Pt).
5:00-7:30p hike SD and TP, though this probably isn't enough time for the full loop (which is why I was asking in the first place about that distance).
7:45-10:00p hang out at GP for picnic dinner, sunset, and stargazing (more "slow down" time).

All times approximate, but you get the idea. I definitely see it as a long day, but not necessarily hurried but again I welcome your thoughts. I may not have allocated enough time for SD+TP, we may just have to play that by ear and end up doing only SD. Looks like the loop is 4.5-5 miles, originally I thought starting from service road lot and then back-tracking the Pohono would be shorter, but looks like not.

As for day 1 horse/mule ride (not sure which animal is used), we don't get to choose the trail, they have a 2-hour to Mirror Lake at set times or longer ones to other specific places, and they want you there an hour before. You make a great point about saving the flat trail for walking, but I don't see that option. Personally I'm not all that interested in this, but I'm planning the trip for my 11-year old daughter too and she'll love it.

The horse/mule and the rafting are both in there with my daughter in mind, purposely planned as fun and unique activities in the middle of the day. I need to break up those days for her from just all hiking, but there's too much to see and we are too energetic to sit in one place for very long. I see both of these as "slow down" time in our itinerary. Maybe not enough?
avatar Re: reccos on "best" way to hike Sentinel Dome and Taft Pt
May 10, 2012 07:55AM
Myself I forgot about the daughter. oopsie

If rushed then skip Sentinel Dome portion and just do the out and back to Taft.
(I guess if REALLY rushed then ok... Sentinel via the service road)

You will get the same view as Sentinel more or less with Taft + Glacier Pt.

Have fun



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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/10/2012 07:56AM by chick-on.
Re: reccos on "best" way to hike Sentinel Dome and Taft Pt
May 10, 2012 06:49AM
Quote
JRinGeorgia


Day 1: the day before we will be driving Big Sur and then heading to Merced for the night, so Day 1 in Yosemite starts in Merced. We'll head out early, when we get to YNP the plan is:
Bridalveil Fall
UYF Trail to Columbia Rock
afternoon horse/mule ride to Mirror Lake
late afternoon/evening is open, maybe rent bikes or do LYF or Cooks Meadow
night in Oakhurst (yes I know, not great, but for a variety of reasons that's where we will be)

I dunno, but if I were paying all that money on a horse/mule, I would want it to do a lot more work than Mirror "Lake" - I'd have it take me up something and save that trail for an evening stroll.

Otherwise it sounds like a pretty great trip. Have fun!
avatar Re: reccos on "best" way to hike Sentinel Dome and Taft Pt
May 10, 2012 07:20AM
JR,
When you are on the Panorama trail make sure you stop at the former lookout
overlooking Illiouette Fall. It on the last long traverse as you are heading
back south towards Ill Creek. There used to be a railing there... it's only
a small bit off the trail and you will probably see a abuse trail there.
You'll get this view:




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avatar Re: reccos on "best" way to hike Sentinel Dome and Taft Pt
May 10, 2012 08:07AM
Wow. Definitely will do that, thanks for the tip!

Quote
chick-on
you will probably see a abuse trail there.
Sorry, what? Is this how I will see where to turn off the trail for it?
avatar Re: reccos on "best" way to hike Sentinel Dome and Taft Pt
May 10, 2012 01:42PM
Quote
JRinGeorgia
Wow. Definitely will do that, thanks for the tip!

Quote
chick-on
you will probably see a abuse trail there.
Sorry, what? Is this how I will see where to turn off the trail for it?

It is near the last switchback. Just keep your eyes open... Here's a map:


You may want to check out Panorama Pt. It's a bit more difficult to find though.
There is a benchmarker out there ... you may see Pan Pt. marked as where I drew an X.
That's just not right.
Anyway, have fun!

(o... I mentioned that "lookout" b/c I can guarantee you that the vast majority just zip on by unknowingly)



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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/10/2012 01:43PM by chick-on.
avatar Re: reccos on "best" way to hike Sentinel Dome and Taft Pt
May 10, 2012 03:37PM
Quote
chick-on

It is near the last switchback. Just keep your eyes open... Here's a map:


You may want to check out Panorama Pt. It's a bit more difficult to find though.
There is a benchmarker out there ... you may see Pan Pt. marked as where I drew an X.
That's just not right.
Anyway, have fun!

(o... I mentioned that "lookout" b/c I can guarantee you that the vast majority just zip on by unknowingly)


Yeah, Panaroma Point is easier to miss.

Way back when, on my first hike on the Panorama trail I easily spotted the small spur to the Illiloutte Fall lookout but blew by the actual Panorama Point since at that time I was using only the map inside the guide that the Park Service hands out at the entrance stations. I latter learned that those maps can be notoriously inaccurate where they place certain points or even trails.

.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/10/2012 03:43PM by plawrence.
avatar Re: reccos on "best" way to hike Sentinel Dome and Taft Pt
May 10, 2012 03:39PM
And like the map I included... may contain spell-on errors..
Sigh...
Illilouette
argh!



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avatar Re: reccos on "best" way to hike Sentinel Dome and Taft Pt
May 10, 2012 03:45PM
There are too many freaking L's and I's in that name! wink
avatar Re: reccos on "best" way to hike Sentinel Dome and Taft Pt
May 10, 2012 05:36PM
I believe that the "Sentinel Dome Service Road TH" has a post to mark it as "G10"
"G9" is right before it and would be used for the Illilouette Ridge hike.
avatar Re: reccos on "best" way to hike Sentinel Dome and Taft Pt
May 10, 2012 05:41PM
Quote
qumqats
I believe that the "Sentinel Dome Service Road TH" has a post to mark it as "G10"
"G9" is right before it and would be used for the Illilouette Ridge hike.

I don't think so. G9 is on the map above right by the R under Service.
I certainly didn't see or have ever seen G10 a bit further up. I'm fairly certain
G10 would be Washburn and then G11 Glacier Pt. itself.



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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/10/2012 05:42PM by chick-on.
avatar Re: reccos on "best" way to hike Sentinel Dome and Taft Pt
May 10, 2012 05:56PM
Quote
chick-on
Quote
qumqats
I believe that the "Sentinel Dome Service Road TH" has a post to mark it as "G10"
"G9" is right before it and would be used for the Illilouette Ridge hike.

I don't think so. G9 is on the map above right by the R under Service.
I certainly didn't see or have ever seen G10 a bit further up. I'm fairly certain
G10 would be Washburn and then G11 Glacier Pt. itself.

I walked right by the G9 marker post this past weekend coming down from Illilouette Ridge, so I know it's there.

I thought I saw a G10 at the Service Road turnout as I was driving back and forth, although this would seem to indicate otherwise.
G10 — Washburn Point
Would someone please take a look next time you drive by and report here?
I know the Service Road turnout is the next one past the G9 turnout as you're driving towards Glacier Point. It's just a couple of turns past it.
avatar Re: reccos on "best" way to hike Sentinel Dome and Taft Pt
May 10, 2012 07:09PM
I didn't mean "I don't think so" to G9. It was G10.
And I just said that because I didn't want someone looking for G10
sign... and then driving by the service road and saying "well... that's not
it b/c there is no G10"...

I actually had a photo already of both places (linked to in that roadside set) (I completely gave up on that endeavor though since
it seem not a soul cared) (so why waste time looking thru a zillion faux toes)
G9:


G10:


But ya... G9... Illilouette Ridge:
http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?3,30398,32327#msg-32327

And your TR:
http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?3,48859

ADVthaAnksNCEYoUvElCoMe tongue sticking out smiley



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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/10/2012 07:14PM by chick-on.
Re: reccos on "best" way to hike Sentinel Dome and Taft Pt
May 10, 2012 06:06PM
Quote
chick-on
Quote
qumqats
I believe that the "Sentinel Dome Service Road TH" has a post to mark it as "G10"
"G9" is right before it and would be used for the Illilouette Ridge hike.

I don't think so. G9 is on the map above right by the R under Service.
I certainly didn't see or have ever seen G10 a bit further up. I'm fairly certain
G10 would be Washburn and then G11 Glacier Pt. itself.

I got my Road Guide out of the car.

Unless they have moved the signs since my copy of the Guide was published:

G8 - "Sentinel Dome is seen directly ahead over this post......drive 0.1 mile to the parking area........."

G9 - (0.6 miles from G8) " At this point the road becomes narrower and steeper....." this should be where Chick-on said, near the R under service

G10 - (1 mile from G9) Washburn Point

G11 - ( 0.8 miles from G10) Glacier Point



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/10/2012 06:07PM by parklover.
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