Hike to Mt. Watkins from Tioga Road
Rate this Adventure Yosemite › Mt. Watkins Trailhead, Yosemite NP
Added by Shane Wolf
This is an incredible hike that you are guaranteed to see some of the best views of Half Dome and not be burdened by hundreds of tourists. This hike takes a little extra work to find and drive to, which makes it less appealing to the masses. However, when you find it, you are rewarded with life changing views.
Starting at about 8,000 feet on Tioga Road just before you reach Olmstead Point you will see a pullout on the side of the road. This is where you can park for this hike. You will walk past a gate and up towards an old rock quarry, which the trail passes just to the left of it. From there you will easily be able to follow the trail towards Mt. Watkins. About 2 miles in you pass a massive boulder and will turn left shortly after that and go down for a short while. The trail also has orange markers in the trees, as this is a cross country ski route during winter time.
You continue on the trail through the thick forest until you start going up hill towards the peak of Mt. Watkins. At this point the area will start to open up and you will feel like you are on top of the moon. Shortly the view of Half Dome will emerge in front of you in the distance, and Clouds Rest is to the East. Continue walking towards Half Dome until you get to the edge of Mt. Watkins and you can take a seat on a rock, have a sandwich and enjoy the view of a lifetime.
This is a nice day hike but I would recommend spending time out there since the views are incredible.
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
ReviewsLeave a Review
Have you done this adventure? Have something to add? You could be the first to leave a review!
More Adventures Nearby
Backpack to Vogelsang and Merced Lake High Sierra Camps
Yosemite / Lyell Canyon Trailhead
If you love the idea of backpacking to remote mountain destinations, but shudder at the thought of carrying a heavy pack and digging a hole to poop in, the High Sierra Camps are a great option.
Backpack Gem Lake Loop in Emigrant Wilderness
Yosemite / Crabtree Trailhead
The Gem Lake Loop is located in Emigrant Wilderness, which borders Stanislaus National Forest and Yosemite National Park, and offers incredible views, smaller crowds, and diverse terrain.