Hiking Yosemite in Autumn – Best Time to Visit

Sentinel Dome, Roosevelt Point and Bears!

Hiking Yosemite in late Autumn means golden woods, fiery fall foliage, clear blue skies with crisp temps and for us bear sightings!


This weekend we went on a quick, whirlwind hiking trip. Here are some highlights….

Golden twilight in Yosemite Valley



The Hiking Route

Trail Head At: Sentinel Dome and Taft Point

Length: 6 miles

We began at the Sentinel Dome and Taft Point trail head. We did a counter clockwise loop hiking to Sentinel Dome to breathe in the glorious views of Yosemite Valley, El Capitan and Half Dome. We stopped here for for a quick bite of lunch as well.


We continued along the trail, and just before Roosevelt Point we saw THE BEARS! I was strolling along the path when I saw movement through the firs coming down the mountain. And then I a saw a huge fluffy butt rumbling down the mountain and my mind jolted awake. I said to Brad – that is a damn bear! And then a few moments later I saw that she was followed by her baby! Insert moment of terror followed by a joyful and frantic, albeit silent happy dance. We have been dying to spot a bear in the wild.

We stood stock still, allowing the bears to continue their path down the mountain. They walked across a granite plateau, looped around us and stopped in a meadow right in front of us to graze on berries. The mother bear acknowledged us, and continued. We were in bliss.






Happy dance because we saw BEARS!!!!

We continued on to Roosevelt Point  to check out the spectacular panoramic vistas. We marveled at the sheer cliff faces, towering firs and winding rivers bathed in golden sunlight.



We continued on to Taft Point, which had slack liners and a big swing set up. Jesus. That is not something I ever want to do. One of the slack liners was seated on the line thousands of feet over Yosemite Valley, just chilling. For any fans of Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows duology, I whispered to Brad, that woman is Inej.


After the Hike: The Dawn Wall and Curry Village Pizza

After the hike, we drove through the glorious valley and hiked about a mile to the Dawn Wall, which is a section of El Capitan, because THAT DOCUMENTARY YOU GUYS. If you have not seen it – check it out now. It’s about a superhuman of a man who scales impossible routes up the sheer rock face of El Capitan and it is extraordinary. For dinner, we stopped at Curry Village for pizza and beer (bubbles for me, obvi) and lounged near the fireplace.  


The Dawn Wall – we had to go touch it and imagine the sheer terror of summiting it and sleeping on a portaledge
The Dawn Wall :)
Happy Brad, because I walked with him to the Dawn Wall, even though I REALLY just wanted some pizza and a warm fire place

The Next Day: Hiking Hetch Hetchy

The next morning we drove to Hetch Hetchy for an easy hike with gorgeous views. We took the Wapama Falls route which during the summer season takes you past three gushing waterfalls. There was no water this time of year, so we picked a spot on a plateau for sweeping views and relaxed in the warmth watching the sunlight glint of the water. We plan to return mid July 2020 for a backpacking trip to see all the waterfalls.



More Yosemite Hiking Photos


Next up in our hiking adventures – Point Reyes beach backpacking and hiking Eagle Creek in Lake Tahoe.

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