Winter Backpack to Sentinel Dome in Yosemite

Rate this Adventure Yosemite Yosemite Ski & Snowboard Area

Added by Kyle Frost

This hike/snowshoe offers Incredible views of Yosemite. The crowds thin out, leaving very few people in winter. 

The goal for our weekend was to do some winter camping in the Yosemite backcountry; we decided on Sentinel Dome as our destination. The trail is a cakewalk during the summer, but winter turns it into a 10 mile uphill grind from the car. Most people opt to head for the ski hut at Glacier Point, but Sentinel Dome is less crowded, and in my opinion, more rewarding.

The trailhead begins at the Badger Pass ski area. The Glacier Point Trail is closed to cars beyond that point, and provides an excellent snowshoeing or cross-country skiing track.

It’s approximately 9 miles from the parking lot to the Sentinel Dome trailhead. The road winds through the forest and eventually reveals fantastic views of the Sierras and Mt. Starr-King. When you reach the Sentinel Dome trailhead, you’ll leave the road and trek backcountry for a mile and a half to the summit of Sentinel Dome.

Enjoy the 360 degree panorama sunset. It can get COLD and windy in the winter, so be sure to pack accordingly.

In the morning, get up early to watch the sun crest over the mountains, and then cruise the 10 miles back to Badger pass. If you're not too tired, maybe you'll have time to get a few runs in!

Pack List

  • Tent (3 or 4 season, depending on conditions)
  • Sleeping bag (at least a 15 degree bag recommended)
  • Backpacking stove (be sure to bring extra fuel if you plan on melting snow for water)
  • Snowshoes or cross country skis
  • Winter clothing
  • Water
  • shovel
  • Map
  • You should have experience with winter camping and have some familiarity with backcountry travel, as the trail beyond the Sentinel Dome trailhead will likely be completely covered in snow.
Read More

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Share

Activities:

Backpacking, Hiking, Photography, Snowshoeing

Skill Level:

Intermediate

Season:

Winter

Trail Type:

Out-and-Back

Distance:

18.8 Miles

Elev. Gain:

860 Feet

Features:

Forest
Scenic

Are we missing something?

Suggest an edit

How to Get There

Have you done this adventure? Have something to add? You could be the first to leave a review!

Added by Kyle Frost

Designer and Adventure Photographer based in Boulder, Colorado. Fan of mountains, coffee, beer, and witty banter. Available for commissions and collaborations. I'm @kylefrost pretty much everywhere.

More Adventures Nearby

Rock Climb Penthouse Cracks, Yosemite NP

Yosemite / Yosemite Lodge Parking Area

The Penthouse Cracks in Yosemite Valley are a great introduction to crack climbing, in a safe environment. With fixed protection above the routes, you are able to safely top rope these climbs.

Trevor Cox
6 Saves

Hike Panum Crater Trail

Yosemite / Panum Crater Trail

If you are visiting Mono Lake, the Panum Crater Trail is not to be missed! From 395, take highway 120 east for about 2.5 miles.

Tori Marsh
5 Saves

Hike to McLeod Lake

Yosemite / Mammoth Pass Trailhead

Start your journey at the Mammoth Pass Trailhead at the back of the parking lot for Horseshoe Lake. From the start, the trail ascends steadily through dense pines, and big granite stair steps.

Tori Marsh
10 Saves