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Old Wawona Road



1.7 mile 2.7 kilometer point to point
77% Runnable


Ascent: 870' 265 m
Descent: 0' 0 m
High: 4,922' 1,500 m
Low: 4,052' 1,235 m


Avg Grade: 10% (6°)
Max Grade: 23% (13°)


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Trail shared by Megan W

Get the famous 'down the valley' Yosemite picture from a better & less crowded spot than Tunnel View

Megan W

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This trail is also known by a few other names - Artist Point Trail or Stagecoach Trail. The trail itself is not one of the superlative Yosemite classics, but the whole reason to do it is for the viewpoint. The park service is not really maintaining this former road, so expect to climb over a few downed trees. As described here, this route starts near the Bridalveil Fall parking lot and heads west towards Artist Point. (An alternate way to skin this cat is to park at the hectic Tunnel View area and climb the first half mile of the steep and rocky Pohono Trail before turning east on the Old Wawona Road to get to Artist Point.

From the Bridalveil Fall parking lot, travel west on the current (new) Wawona Road also called Highway 41. After about 0.3 miles, you'll see a dirt road head off to the left. This is the start of the Old Wawona Road trail. There may be room for a car or two on the sides of the road here. Contour steadily up the hillside through shady forest. This road was built for stagecoaches and was a toll road originally. After crossing Meadow Brook and Artist Creek, you'll arrive at a rocky outcropping. This is Artist Point which is also marked by a USGS benchmark. The Old Wawona Road trail ends another 1/2 mile uphill where it intersects with the Pohono Trail.

The vista from Artist Point is thought to be better than the one at Tunnel View because you see more of Cloud's Rest and other things not visible at all from Tunnel View: Royal Arch, Bridalveil Meadow, North Dome, Ribbon Falls, and the Merced River. From Artist Point you won't catch quite as much of Half Dome and Sentinel Rock, but this is outweighed by the other benefits. Another plus is that you can set up a tripod here and hang out, waiting for the sunset to hit El Capitan or for the fog and light to be just right. You'd be elbowed out of the way or trampled if you tried this at Tunnel View!

Artist Point was where Thomas Ayers stood in 1855 to draw the first picture of Yosemite Valley by a professional artist. It helped popularize Yosemite with the public and lead to its preservation as a national park. People now think that the picture was created closer to Inspiration Point instead of Artist Point (based on what is and isn't visible in his drawing).

Flora & Fauna

Some poison oak has been reported here but it is easy to avoid. Be aware of bears.

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Land Manager: NPS - Yosemite

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33 Views Last Month
1,348 Since May 14, 2016



Yosemite Valley
Aug 25, 2015 near Yosemit…, CA
The panoramas from Pohono Trail are pretty nice...
May 7, 2015 near Yosemit…, CA
Artist Point Winter Sunset
Aug 16, 2017 near Yosemit…, CA
Tunnel View
May 7, 2015 near Yosemit…, CA


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