Lookout Point Trail
ElevationAscent: 496' 151 m
Descent: -2' -1 m
High: 5,291' 1,613 m
Low: 4,798' 1,462 m
GradeAvg Grade: 7% (4°)
Max Grade: 26% (15°)
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“A narrow climb to Lookout Point, where views of Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, Wapama Falls, and the surrounding hills await.”— David Hitchcock
The trailhead is accessed by taking the Mather Ranger Station Trail for about .2 miles from the Hetch Hetchy Entrance station. This trail weaves into the National Forest before coming to an intersection with trails that lead to Camp Mather to the right. If you continue straight, the trail leads to Mather Ranger Station; if you go to the left, you find the Lookout Point Trail. As the trail leaves the intersection, it begins to work its way back toward Hetch Hetchy Road and approaches the Yosemite NP boundary. The road is never far from the trail.
The trail passes through a narrow gate and you re-enter Yosemite. The trail is very narrow and rocky through this section and can be overgrown in sections as it is not heavily traveled. It requires you to watch your footing as there are loose rocks along the trail. Approaching the road around .3 miles, the trail cuts back to the right before it begins to climb up the gully. Most of this area was burned in a fire in 1996, but the trees are starting to recover. In the spring, water may be flowing in a small creek that descends through the gully, but is dry later in the summer and fall. At the top of the gully, the trail begins to level out as it makes its way toward a fork. If you continue to the right, the trail leads toward Hetch Hetchy Reservoir while the Lookout Trail breaks off to the left at the fork.
The trail follows a narrow path along a seasonal pond before climbing up the rocky hillside to the summit. Swinging around the hill, the trail disappears but you can easily run up the rocks to the summit. Jeffrey pines can be seen as you approach the summit, where a 360-degree view of the area awaits you. In the distance, you can see the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir and the waterfalls that flow into the reservoir. You can see the Tuolumne River canyon and the damage that the Rim Fire (2013) caused. While not as awe-inspiring as other vistas in Yosemite, it is less crowded and provides great views of the area. Once you have taken in the view, you can head back to your car or go back to the fork and continue on toward the reservoir.
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Land Manager: NPS - Yosemite