Possibly THE most beautiful place for sunset in Yosemite. The sun illuminates the smooth granite on El Cap and casts a long shadow over Yosemite Valley. The contrast and colors created during golden hour and the fact that I’m perched on a cliff made me feel quite literally on top of the world. There are few places where I feel frozen in time, and Taft Point is definitely one of them.
The trailhead to Taft Point is near the end of the windy Glacier Point Road and is shared with the trail to Sentinel Dome. Turning right leads to Sentinel Dome while left leads to Taft Point. Both hikes are about 2-miles roundtrip with minimal elevation gain so it’s easily doable in one go. I budgeted enough time to hike to Sentinel Dome first before watching the sunset at Taft Point.
The hike to Sentinel Dome is mostly flat until the last segment where you hike up the actual dome. This offered one of the best views of Half Dome and Clouds Rest on one side and El Capitan on the other. From this angle, it is clear where the names Half Dome and Clouds Rest come from, especially when clusters of cloud passed and hovered over Clouds Rest.
From Sentinel Dome, we hiked past the trailhead and continued through heavily wooded areas to Taft Point. We emerged from the trees to a small clearing at first, and as we continued down the path it opened up to an incredible panoramic view of Yosemite Valley and El Cap. It was unbelievable how massive the Yosemite cliffs are, especially when compared to the scale of a human standing at the edge.
I explored the different parts around Taft Point before finally settling on a spot to watch the sunset. We picked an overlook that inclined towards the valley with an unobstructed view of the sunset and El Cap.
As the sun descended over the valley, we watched the sky turn from a hazy blue color to an orange hue to a purple tint until the sun finally set. It was such a peaceful sight and made everything in the world feel at ease.