Dewey Point is considered to be one of the best views in Yosemite. It’s a breathtaking precipice, with visibility for miles and providing an almost 360 view of Yosemite Valley including El Capitan, Clouds Rest, Sentinel Dome and more.

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The most common way to get to Dewey Point is via The McGurk Meadow Trail. You can also access it via the Pohono Trail, however it’s much longer. The McGurk Meadow trail is a beautiful picturesque hike with a variety of landscapes and terrain. It winds through a lush meadow full of wildflowers and an expansive forest full of sequoia and pine trees before landing you at the top of Dewey Point.

Overall, the hike is fairly moderate with lots of hills and valleys. Enough to get your blood flowing, but not to completely wipe you out. Also, the trail isn’t terrible crowded, especially by Yosemite standards.

Pro Tip: Aim to get to Dewey Point before noon to get the place all to yourself! The highest traffic at the point is between noon and 4pm.

What Is The Best Time To Visit Dewey Point?

Summer to early Fall. The road to the trailhead is open approximately June to October. If you tried to go before or after that, you’re likely to encounter snow. June and July are ideal as this is when the meadow is the most lush and green and full of wildflowers.

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We did this hike in early July after the very wet winter of 2017 so there was ALOT of water on the trail from the overflowing streams. Escaping the mud was impossible and at one point we had to wade calf-deep through a stream that crossed the trail.

Pro Tip: Consider wearing water shoes instead of hiking boots (this is what we did)! Do your research about Yosemite before going to be better prepared for the amount of water and mud on the trail.

How Long Does It Take To Hike To Dewey Point?

The trail is usually one way in and out. You can hike to Dewey Point in about 3.5-4 hours from the McGurk Meadow trailhead. However, if you want extra credit (or to get away from the dozen or so people at Dewey Point), you can continue on to Crocker and Stanford Points as well, which adds around another 2 hours. Then if you don’t want to go back the way you came, you can continue on and end up at Tunnel View. Just make sure you have someone ready to pick you up and take you back to your car.

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Directions to Dewey Point & the McGurk Meadow Trail Head

To get to Dewey Point, you will be passing through McGurk Meadow. The sign at the trailhead doesn’t mention Dewey Point and is only for McGurk Meadow.

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The trailhead is located on the left, approximately 8 miles (15mins) down Glacier Point Road.

There is no parking lot at the trailhead. However, there is a dirt area where cars can pull off and park on the shoulder of the road. If this is full, there are several spots further down the road where it’s also safe to pull off and park.

If you reach the turnoff for Bridalveil Creek Campground, you’ve gone too far.

From the South Entrance (Fish Camp) of Yosemite

  • After passing the guard shacks at the entrance, turn left onto Wawona Road (Rt 41).
  • Follow this very windy road for approximately 17 miles.
  • Turn right onto Glacier Point Road (pretty much the only real road).
  • Follow for about 8 miles to the trailhead.

From Big Oak Flat Entrance of Yosemite

  • Continue to follow Big Oak Flat road (Rt 120E) for about 17miles.
  • Take a very slight left onto El Portal Road and follow for 1.7miles.
  • Turn slightly right onto Wawona Road (Rt 41) and follow for 9.2 miles
  • Turn left onto Glacier Point Road and follow for about 8 miles to the trailhead.

From the East Entrance (Tioga Pass) of Yosemite

  • Continue to follow Tioga Road (Rt 120W) for about 45miles.
  • Take a very slight left onto Big Oak Flat Road and follow for about 9.5 miles
  • Take a very slight left onto El Portal Road and follow for 1.7miles.
  • Turn slightly right onto Wawona Road (Rt 41) and follow for 9.2 miles
  • Turn left onto Glacier Point Road and follow for about 8 miles to the trailhead.

Yosemite Park Fees

If you plan on visiting a lot of National Parks, I recommend getting an America The Beautiful Park Pass. The pass allows you to enter every National Park in the US for one year for just $80.

  • Individual (on foot, horseback, or bus) – Good for 7 Days: $15
  • Motorcycle – Good for 7 Days: $25
  • Automobile with up to 4 people – Good for 7 Days: $30 April – October, $25 other months
  • Yosemite Automobile Pass – Good for 1 Year: $60

Recommended Hiking Gear

What To Expect Along The Trail

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  • Distance: 7.8 miles round trip
  • Elevation at Dewey Point: 7,200 feet/ 2,200 meters
  • Elevation Gain: 300ft/ 100 meters
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Crowd Factor: Moderate
  • Time: 3.5-5 hours round trip

The most deceptive part of this trail is that the elevation gain overall is only 300feet. While that makes it seem like this hike would be relatively flat, it is actually full of several hills and valleys. So while overall you may only gain 300ft, there are times when you feel like you’re hiking much more uphill than that.

The first mile of the hike is mostly downhill (and then up on the way back!) until you reach the meadow. The path is well shaded through a forest and just before the meadow you’ll encounter an odd log cabin-esk structure on the left.

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The meadow is really beautiful and well worth stopping to enjoy. There is a footbridge at the entrance that goes over a small stream as you cross the meadow. It was full of water during our hike and the area past it was also very muddy. This is also where the mosquitos became rather intense.

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Pro Tip: Wear Lots of Bug Spray! There are tons of hungry mosquitos from the meadow almost all the way to the point.

The path then continues along the edge of the meadow where you’ll pass lots of colorful wildflowers. As the path goes back into the forest you’ll encounter lots of “skunk cabbage-esk” plants. Being from the East Coast, I don’t know what these plants actually are other than they look like a very tall skunk cabbage stalk, but luckily don’t have the same smell. (If you know what these are, please let me know in the comments!)

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After about another mile you’ll interest with the Pohono Trail. Dewey Point is to the left with signs clearly marked. To the right is Taft Point, Sentinel Dome, and Glacier Point (though hiking to these points from this location would be a very long walk).

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The majority of the rest of the trail is forest full of towering trees I assume to be mostly sequoias and pine trees. A few times along the path you can stop and breath in the wonderful smell of pine. There were a surprising number of trees that had fallen across the path. In fact, the park service was out chain sawing several of them to open up the trail.

There are lots of ups and downs and the trail was muddy again in several places. At one point we had to wade calf-deep through an overflowing stream to continue along the path.

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The last half mile or so the trail descends and the forest begins to thin (causing less shade) and the dirt path turns to rock. There are more pine trees than sequoias which also includes lots of giant pine cones.

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Dewey Point which has several large boulders near the edge of the precipice that allows brave hikers to get astounding views of the valley floor and surrounding mountains as well as a distant view of a few waterfalls.

Crocker Point & Stanford Point (For Extra Credit)

If the dozen or so people that are hanging out at Dewey Point are too much of a crowd for you, then I suggest you also check out Crocker Point and Stanford Point. These points are accessible via a clearly marked trail (with trail marker) that continues to the left of the ridgeline at Dewey Point.

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The landscape views from these points are similar to Dewey Point, however from Crocker Point you are able to clearly see Bridalveil Falls that you don’t see from Dewey Point. Also, the further out you go, the less people there!

Crocker Point

  • Distance: 1.4 miles round trip from Dewey Point; 9.2 miles round trip from McGurk Meadow trailhead
  • Elevation at Crocker Point: 7,100 feet/ 2,160 meters
  • Elevation Gain: -100ft/ -40 meters from Dewey Point; 200ft/ 60 meters from trailhead
  • Difficulty: Moderate

The trail to Crocker Point from Dewey Point is almost entirely downhill. It’s not a steep grade and the path is mostly packed dirt and rock.

Stanford Point

  • Distance: 2.7 miles round trip from Dewey Point; 10.5 miles round trip from McGurk Meadow trailhead
  • Elevation at Stanford Point: 6,659 feet/ 2,030 meters
  • Elevation Gain: -541ft/ -170 meters from Dewey Point; -441ft/ -130 meters from Crocker Point; -241ft/ -70 meters from trailhead
  • Difficulty: Moderate

The path from Crocker Point to Sanford Point is steeper than the previous one, descending another 400 feet (as opposed to the 100 feet from Dewey to Crocker). This means going back up to Dewey Point is going to be 500feet straight up hill.

If you’re allergic to uphills and the idea of reclimbing those 500 feet doesn’t enthuse you, you can try to get someone to pick you up at the Tunnel View, which is where this trail ultimately ends.

Backpacking and Camping at Dewey Point

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If you want to give backpacking to Dewey Point and then camping at the point or the surrounding areas a try, first you need to secure a wilderness permit. Permits are available 24 weeks in advance. This is what we wanted to do, however since it was 4th of July weekend, we were unable to get a wilderness permit in time.

Download this form

Before filling it out, check trailhead availability here to know what is available. If the McGurk Meadow trailhead is fully booked, but you still want to camp at Dewey Point, the Pohono Trail will also give you access to the point, so you can try that as an alternate trailhead.

Dewey Point will be your night location and the trailhead will be McGurk Meadow (or Pohono Trail if necessary).

Fax the form to: 209-372-0739

This is the fastest way to get approval or not.

The next best option is (if you have all of your information and credit card handy) to call: 209-372-0740.

McGurk Meadow to Dewey Point Hiking Vlog

And incase you were wondering what the balloons were for:
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What are some of your favorite Yosemite Hikes? Let me know in the comments!
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