Today visitors stopping at Olmsted Point, Tunnel View, Glacier Point or Half Dome View are experiencing some of the most beautiful, environmentally sensitive and visitor friendly scenic viewing areas in the world.
Glacier Point 1997
An early and ambitious Conservancy venture was the Glacier Point rehabilitation project. This point offers one of the most spectacular vistas in Yosemite - looking into the Valley and showcasing the grandeur of Half Dome.
The work included major upgrades to public facilities, including a new amphitheater, wheelchair accessible trails, new restrooms; new interpretive exhibit located in the historic Geology Hut and a concession building which also provides basic winter accommodation for cross country skiers.
There was also extensive habitat rehabilitation that included re-seeding of surrounding areas. With visitors now using clearly marked paths these seedlings have grown into beautiful groundcover.
The amphitheater now plays host to many educational programs, one of which explores our night sky.
Olmsted Point 2006
Olmsted Point on Tioga Road at 8,400’ provides visitors with picture postcard views of Tenaya Lake, Cloud’s Rest and Half Dome. As with other viewing area projects that followed, Olmstead Point now showcases:
• Reconstructed retaining wall, providing multiple viewpoints and granite seatwalls
• Lower stone ledges between seatwalls to allow unimpeded views
• Restoration of adjacent stone trail that descends to a majestic overlook
• Filtration system for the parking lot water runoff
• Addition of accessible parking spaces
• New interpretive panels to educate on Olmsted Point’s geological and historical significance; to identify its vistas and to provide trail information
Half Dome View 2009
Half Dome View is the first pull-off opportunity that visitors driving eastward on Big Oak Flat Road, Hwy. 120, have to view Yosemite Valley and Half Dome.
Visitors are routinely awestruck by this iconic view of Half Dome enclosed by magnificent El Capitan to the left and Glacier Point cliff with Sentinel Rock and Dome to the right. This site attracts thousands of people who visit briefly on their way to the Valley each year.
Setting World-Class Standards
Like other popular viewing areas in Yosemite, Half Dome View is now an example of the best in visitor services and environmental protection. The newly restored viewing areas keep visitors off sensitive habitat, traffic circulation is improved through revised parking and new exhibits share the wonders of the park with visitors.
Gone are traffic gridlocks, unwanted paths as people sought a better view and uneven surfaces that prevented disabled access to the view point.
Tunnel View 2008
No other view in the park more clearly represents the essence of Yosemite than this one, it is one of the most recognized and photographed scenes in any national park in the country. Every year millions of visitors stop here to take in the grandeur of El Capitan, Bridalveil Falls, and Yosemite Valley as they unfold below the outlook at Wawona Tunnel on Highway 41.
Historic Character Maintained
This historic scenic viewing area was built in 1932 in the ‘rustic design style’ characteristic of park structures at the time. With no significant work done since 1932 Tunnel View was showing signs of disrepair.
Surrounding areas were being trampled as visitors crowded the existing platform and traffic conditions had become dangerous.
Today Tunnel View, like Half Dome View and Olmsted Point, represents the best in visitor experience and habitat protection.
The new design:
• Accommodates today’s visitor levels
• Is disabled accessible • Minimizes traffic congestion • Protects surrounding habitat
• Reflects the original architectural character, ensuring its historic value and significance
Also, a new trailhead was established for Inspiration Point and Valley Rim, replacing previous trails which were hard to find, poorly constructed and heavily eroded.