Secret Yosemite: Sierra Point
Alright, I will admit Sierra Point is apparently not a secret. We saw a dozen other people while on the “Trail” this Sunday… way more then I ever see hiking to Mt Watkins (one of my favorite off trail hikes in the park). My theory: because of the dry winter people are taking to many valley hikes that when they would otherwise be skiing if there was snow, or hiking elsewhere if any of the passes were open.
Personally I did not know about Sierra Point – an overlook less then a mile off trail from the start of the Mist Trail – until this year. It was a popular trail in the 70’s that would allow visitors to view 5 of the parks waterfalls at once. That is correct, should there be enough water present, you can see upper and lower Yosemite falls, Vernal fall, Nevada Fall, and Illiouette fall. I think of it as 4 waterfalls because I clump Upper and Lower Yosemite Fall into one, but still pretty impressive! After
Hiking Sierra Point
Trailhead: from the mist trail you start up the Sierra Point trail by pick you way up the boulder field behind the “Rock Piles” sign.
Distance: Less then a 1.5 miles off trail to the point and back down – gaining an losing a stupid amount of elevation (especially if it don’t find exactly the right path and have to go back and try again!). This is not a trail for the faint of heart or the weak knee-ed. KML from mist trail parking lot.
What sierra point lacks in secretiveness it does make up for in difficulty. Stupidly I did this trail the day after I had fallen on my knee during a trail run. I should have waited until I was 100%, but now I am for real resting the knee for at least a week – think healthy thoughts for it? I wanted this knee to run a marathon in June, and we are running out of time! (get it, running?) …Anyhow, the trip up is steep, but keeping stability on the steep downhill, while managing to not over think the inherent ledge-like setup of the trail is what I found the most difficult.
Also, finding the trail after picking your way up the boulder field can be one heck of an off trail adventure if you are not lucky. I used Calipidder’s GPS track and info to help find the trail, along with an embarrassing amount of trial and error. If you don’t have off trail or route finding experience I wouldn’t recommend hiking Sierra Point unless if you are going with someone who has already been there.
Otherwise, it is a fun little adventure in the valley and the view is pretty sweet. Photos in the gallery bellow.