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Yosemite National Park, California, United States

Inspiration Point, Yosemite NP

Be inspired to swap the Tunnel View crowds for a serene way to experience Yosemite's signature vista.

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Difficulty: Easy
Length: 2.5 miles / 4.0 km
Duration: 1-3 hours
Overview: If the Tunnel View crowds are getting between you and one of Yosemite's most famous viewpoints, consider the short hike up to Inspiration Point where you can admire this signature Yosemite Valley scene on your lonesome.

Before the 1930s construction of the Wawona Tunnel and the adjacent parking area, this road heading out of Yosemite Valley snaked precariously up and down the hillside. Now overgrown with manzanita and new pines, Inspiration Point is the former parking spot located on the old road.

Note that although this trail does involve around a thousand feet of elevation gain, we regard this as an 'easy' trail thanks to the gradual, switch-backed route and the large easy return leg along the old road.

Elevation gain:
• 1,000ft (from 4,400 - 5,400ft)

Points of Interest


Wawona Tunnel

Wawona Tunnel was blasted out of the rock in the 1930s to provide a direct route out of the valley. Not only does it provide convenience to motorists, but it also leaves behind the old overgrown Inspiration Point, which we can now explore in peace and quiet.

Tunnel View Crowds

If you've seen this view of the valley for yourself then you'll know that you can't blame every car, bus and RV for stopping to admire it. But that certainly does mean a lot of people, which is precisely what we're going to try and get away from.


The trailhead for this short, narrow trail is located in the satellite parking lot, and immediately heads upwards and away from the crowds.

Views of Bridalveil Fall

It can be difficult to get far on this trail since views like this can stop you in your tracks!

[JCT] Inspiration point trail\Old Wawona Rd

The single-track trail you're taking to Inspiration Point intersects with the old overgrown Wawona Road at this point. Pick up the trail on the other side of the road and continue, but make a note of your surroundings because you'll be returning to this point from a different direction.

Inspiration Point

You'll know you've reached your destination when you reach a large flat expanse. This is where the old Inspiration Point lookout used to be located many decades ago. Head to the right and you’ll find many little nooks and viewpoints from which to admire unobstructed views of the valley and Bridalveil Falls without a tour bus in sight (or ear-shot).

Heading Back

The shortest route back to the trail head is to re-trace your steps. However, we prefer a little variety and suggest taking our route to the West, which returns along the grade of the old road and returns to the intersection with the hiking trail. It gets overgrown at times, but shouldn't prove too difficult to negotiate.
Pictures in this guide taken by: Trailspotting

Trailspotting content © Stuart Green 2010 including text, images, videos and route detail.

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