Yosemite is full of COUNTLESS beautiful views, no matter where you are and no matter what time of day. But, if you’re looking for the best place to watch sunset in Yosemite, I’ve got you covered.
The Best Sunset Spot in Yosemite National Park is at Sentinel Dome
Why is Sentinel Dome the Best Place to Watch Sunset in Yosemite?
Not only was sunset at Sentinel Dome my favorite sunset of my trip to Yosemite, it honestly may be my favorite sunsets ever? At least top 3, no doubt. And that’s high praise because I’m a big fan of sunsets and sunrises around the world. Almost anywhere I travel I am seeking out sunsets and/or sunrises (I mean, Great Sand Dunes, Phi Phi Islands, Badlands… and so much more). But, let’s get back to business. And that business is where to watch sunset in Yosemite.
I can hear you asking me, “Amanda, why is sunset at Sentinel Dome the best place for sunset in Yosemite?” and let me tell you why. It’s because Sentinel Dome is appropriately named; it’s a dome. So you hike up to the top of it and you have a 360° view of the magic that is Yosemite. It is absolute magic, and you’ll want to stay for the whole time to watch everything change colors. Pictures can’t even do it justice because it’s absolutely stunning, and at every turn is a new view. It is a photographer’s dream and you’ve got to see it for yourself.
About the Hike to Sentinel Dome
Fortunately for you, it’s an easy hike to get to the best place for sunset in Yosemite. The hike to Sentinel Dome is not difficult at all unless you’re like me and basically had to run it to catch sunset in time. The trail is pretty easy to follow and the only part that is even slightly strenuous is when you arrive to the base of the dome and have to climb to the top. It is WITHOUT A DOUBT worth the minor physical exertion at the end.
When I was there, there weren’t that many people on the dome watching sunset, so there’s plenty of room to explore and enjoy without feeling claustrophobic.
Tips for the Best Sunset Spot in Yosemite National Park
About the Trail
- Park at the Taft Point/Sentinel Dome trailhead
- Follow the Sentinel Dome Trail; it is not open year round since it’s on Glacier Road so check the website for road closure details
- It’s a total of 2 miles out and back, so give yourself a half hour or so each direction just to be safe
- Find a hiking buddy; some people got lost because they separated from their hiking partners in the dark on the way down and you don’t want that
What to Bring
It is a dark hike back down, so it’s super important to be prepared for that.
- There is no cell service, so consider paying for AllTrails Pro so you can download the map to use offline
- Bring a headlamp or flashlight to hike back after sunset because it will be dark (here’s a headlamp that is very similar to one I have but the exact model isn’t on Amazon)
So there you go, the all about the best place to watch sunset in Yosemite. As always, feel free to holler with any questions. And definitely check out my Yosemite stories on Insta for lots of on-the-ground looks.
5 thoughts on “The Best Place to Watch Sunset in Yosemite”
Wow this looks like an unreal spot to watch the sunset! I cannot wait to make it to Sentinel Dome, I pinned this so I can come back later. Thanks for the fantastic tips!
You’re so welcome! It was one of the coolest sunsets I’ve ever experienced. Pictures will never do it justice, but just… wow.
I would also highly recommend camping at the base of Pinnacle’s for sunset, especially in the Fall because the sun sets in-between the valley. I would love to send you the photo I captured!