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Porcupine Creek - North Dome

Intermediate

Trail

8.7 mile 13.9 kilometer loop
91% Runnable
Intermediate

Elevation

Ascent: 1,206' 367 m
Descent: -1,207' -368 m
High: 8,084' 2,464 m
Low: 7,437' 2,267 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 5% (3°)
Max Grade: 41% (22°)

Dogs

No Dogs
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Trail shared by David Hitchcock

Travel from Porcupine Creek on Tioga Road to North Dome, with stunning views of Half Dome.

David Hitchcock

Features Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Tioga Road east of Crane Flat and west of Tioga Pass Entrance station is closed in the winter and spring until the road is cleared of snow. You can check road conditions atnps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/… or by dialing 1-209-372-0200, dialing extensions 1/1.

Overview

This trail provides the easiest route to North Dome, which offers outstanding views of Yosemite Valley, Half Dome, Clouds Rest, and Glacier Point. Since it's the easiest and shortest route to the North Rim, it's one of the most popular routes up there.

Need to Know

Take the Indian Rock Trail spur either on your way to or back from North Dome to view the only granite Arch in Yosemite, and the whole High Sierras. Offers great views of the surrounding area.

The area around North Dome is very exposed with few trees, so make sure you have plenty of water and sunscreen.

There is a rock hop at Porcupine Creek 0.7 miles into the route, that may need to be crossed via a log upstream if the creek is high.

Runner Notes

The trails used here are fairly wide and clear, so running should be fairly easy until you almost get to North Dome. After that point, the trail drops rapidly over granite, which can be slippery.

Description

From the trailhead at Porcupine Flat, head downhill and meet the old road following it to Porcupine Creek at 0.7 miles. You continue through a red fir and lodgepole pine forest that climbs slightly for over a mile until you arrive at a series of trail junctions. Keep straight though the first junction, and then at another fork, keep left toward North Dome. The trail moves steadily uphill either through forest or over open rock until you reach Indian Ridge. Here, you encounter the spur trail to Indian Arch, which is worth the trip either now or on your way back from Half Dome.

The trail continues south along Indian Ridge before it drops sharply to the left where it picks up a ridgeline. You now start to encounter stupendous views of El Capitan, Half Dome, Clouds Rest, the Three Brothers, and Mount Starr King. You'll descend over slick granite rock at this point until you hit a junction at 3.9 miles.

The trail goes to the left and south, and while you feel like you are on the wrong trail or moving away from North Dome, you are on the trail. You pass Basket Dome on your way up to a saddle, and then work your way up the crown of North Dome. When you reach the summit, you'll be rewarded for your work by some of the finest views in Yosemite. Merced Canyon, Yosemite Valley, Illiouette Gorge, and Tenaya Canyon all meet below North Dome. Half Dome, Clouds Rest, Quarter Domes, Glacier Point, Mount Starr King, and the stars of the valley are all in view at this point.

Once you have enjoyed the views and explored the area, return to the trailhead via the way you came.

Flora & Fauna

Deer, bear, chipmunks, squirrels, and porcupines can be seen in this area.

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History & Background

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Contacts

Land Manager: NPS - Yosemite

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Trail Ratings

  4.7 from 21 votes

#316

Overall
  4.7 from 21 votes
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Run Rankings

#53

in California

#316

Overall
90 Views Last Month
8,579 Since Jan 27, 2016
Intermediate

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Photos

Views galore en route to North Dome.
Jan 28, 2016 near Yosemit…, CA
Descending Indian Ridge to North Dome.
Jan 27, 2016 near Yosemit…, CA
Beautiful wildflowers along North Dome Trail.
Jan 28, 2016 near Yosemit…, CA
Trail running by some fallen trees.
Jan 27, 2016 near Yosemit…, CA
Trail as it approaches Indian Ridge and the trees begin to thin.
Jan 27, 2016 near Yosemit…, CA
Trail across Indian Ridge as you descend toward North Dome.  Cairns mark the way, as you can see it is an exposed decent.
Jan 27, 2016 near Yosemit…, CA

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