Winter Backpack to Sentinel Dome in Yosemite

Rate this Adventure Yosemite Yosemite Ski & Snowboard Area

Added by

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:

Photography, Snowshoeing, Backpacking, Hiking

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

Hike to Balsam Forebay

Yosemite / Balsam Meadows Sno-Park

Access to the forebay starts at the trail head from the parking lot 6,700 ft up, also from the parking lot there is access to two different sets of boulder patches separate from the ones encountered .

Zack Valle
10 Saves

Camp at Buckeye Flat in Sequoia National Park

Yosemite / Buckeye Flat Campground

Entering Sequoia National Park at the Ash Mountain Entrance near the small city of Three Rivers, follow Highway 198 (Generals Highway) through the park until you see a sign for Buckeye Flat Campgroun.

Nick Garcia
10 Saves

Snowshoe to Cooney Lake

Yosemite / Virginia Lake Trailhead

When it's winter time, one of the best things you can do is experience the snow in the Eastern Sierra! If you've ever been hiking and/or backpacking in the Sierra, you know it's one of the most beaut.

Stephanie Baker
1 Saves