What can I say? This is truly a breathtaking trip. It'll steal your breath with the amazing sites. It'll also require a bit of breath and good old fashioned hard work to climb the falls. Spend the first night on the river above the falls: there's a great campsite with fire ring and tree coverage just about 300 feet from the river. Water is easily accessible from there for drinking, cooking, etc. What can be said other than WOW! I did not hike this from Yosemite Falls. I hiked it from the Porcupine Creek trailhead on Tioga Road. The first 3.5 miles or so is a simple walk in the Yosemite woods, which is beautiful in and of itself, but then suddenly you reach a clearing at the top of the hill and there is Half Dome staring at you through the trees. From there the trail scurries down some granite for another mile and you reach the plateau that is North Dome, some 7500 ft above Yosemite Valley. The views here are unmatched. If you get far enough out along North Dome you can see Half Dome in her entirety, from the base of the valley to the top, and you are seeing it from a unique angle. Just stoic and iconic. On a clear day like the day I hiked here, you can look to the right and see the entire Yosemite Valley below - the Merced River, El Cap, Nevada Falls. To the left is the immensity of Tenaya Canyon and Clouds Rest. The scale of the Valley is in full display and it was actually a little disorienting at first. Bring some food, plenty of water, a camera, and give yourself time to enjoy the moment. Once you are hanging out on North Dome it will be hard to pry yourself away. On the way back I also took the 0.6 mile detour and checked out Indian Rock, a unique granite structure with a 15ft tall archway. Worth the time to check it out and it provides you one last glimpse of Half Dome before you descend onto the backside of the hill. In my opinion North Dome is a "Cant Miss" hike in Yosemite. Its only moderately difficult - you lose about 560 ft getting there and are hiking at a higher altitude than most of us are used to. There are a few sections right near the dome that are a bit steep and rocky but nothing sketchy. For what you are going to experience when you arrive, it is a small effort for a maximum Yosemite moment!
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