This is another one of Yosemite’s great hiking spots, but it is also among the most difficult. Without a doubt, the scenery along this trail is absolutely fantastic, with views of Tunnel View, Glacier, Dewey, Taft, Crocker, Stanford, and Inspiration points, Sentinel Dome, and the gorgeous Yosemite Valley all along the entirety of its length. Plus, because of its height, you’ll also have a bird’s eye view of Half Dome, the Vernal, Yosemite, and Bridalveil falls, and a host of other incredible landmarks that are among Yosemite’s “must see” canon. You get to see all of this on one (albeit long) hike, so it’s definitely worth the walk!
Unfortunately—or fortunately, depending on how you look at it—this is an extremely difficult hike that most will have some trouble completing. No matter where you start your hike, you will have a strenuous climb for at least a mile, as well as a couple of miles of climbing from Bridalveil Creek to Taft Point. Add in the fact that it’s a 5-10 hour hike—13 miles one way—and it’s easy to see why this hike is not for the faint of heart.
Another reason this hike can be a bit dicey is because of its elevation. At the trailhead, it is only 4,400 feet; however, you climb a total of 3,400 to 3,700 feet depending on whether or not you hike Sentinel Dome. This height increase can be quite strenuous for some people, so this hike should be done with caution.
Fortunately, because of the long hike, you won’t have to deal with as many people along the hike itself. But, the hike’s endpoints will be quite busy, especially if you go during the busy season (Spring and late summer). Other than that, though, you will be mainly alone as you complete this hike.