Monday, July 8, 2013
North Dome, Yosemite Nat'l Park: 06/25/2013
With its unsurpassed view of Half Dome from directly across Tenaya Canyon, North Dome is the perfect complement to hiking Half Dome. This moderately strenuous hike (between 8.8 and 10 miles round trip, depending on whether you believe the map, the guidebook or the trail signs) had long been on my Yosemite must-do list, yet our hike on Tuesday was something of a gamble as a departing storm had yet to fully clear.
Blue Ledges in the Adirondacks - you hike down to your destination, then back up to the trailhead on the way out. That kind of reverse vertical always feels odd to me on a hike, but today it worked in our favor as we dropped below the cloud deck. The first few miles of the trail are forested, but views begin to open up as it traverses Indian Ridge.
At the south end of Indian Ridge the trail drops six or seven hundred feet before climbing up to North Dome's open, rounded summit. The views along that final mile and a half are spectacular in all directions, but it's the head-on view of Half Dome's north face that really grabs your attention. Clouds Rest rises above Tenaya Canyon to the east, and Yosemite Valley is spread out below. As we hiked, Half Dome was in and out of the clouds. Clouds Rest's summit, being a thousand feet higher, never fully cleared.
I'm always thinking about potential future hikes - next time it would be cool to continue from North Dome down to the valley via Yosemite Falls. If you like hiking downhill, this one's for you: the route drops more than four thousand vertical feet over 8+ miles from the trailhead on Tioga Pass road to Yosemite Valley. Next time.