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What time do you need to be at Glacier Point for Sunset?

Nashville
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What time do you need to be at Glacier Point for Sunset?

When we were at the Grand Canyon, it was fascinating to see the shadows dance across the canyon around both sunrise and sunset. I would imagine that the same is true at Yosemite.

What time do you need to get to Glacier Point (or Sentinel Dome) to watch the shadows move across the Valley walls. We will be there on June 12 and 13. Sunset will be at 8:22 both nights. If we were there by 6:30, would that be early enough to "enjoy the show"?

San Antonio, Texas
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1. Re: What time do you need to be at Glacier Point for Sunset?

Your best bet would be to check the Sentinel Dome webcam a couple days before you leave and just check the shot at given times to see how the shadows move at what time of day that time of year.

pixelcaster.com/yosemite/webcams/sentinel.jpg

San Antonio, Texas
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2. Re: What time do you need to be at Glacier Point for Sunset?

The image appears to refresh exactly every 2 minutes, so you could write a script to download the image every 120 seconds. Not sure how to do this in Windows, but in Linux (prob Mac also) you could do the script

for i in $(seq 1 1 100)

do wget "pixelcaster.com/yosemite/webcams/sentinel.jpg" -O "$i.jpg"

sleep 120

done

That would get about 3 1/3 hrs worth of images so you can put it in a slideshow and view the shadows.

Edited: 15 May 2012, 03:22
San Diego...
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3. Re: What time do you need to be at Glacier Point for Sunset?

There are usually a lot of photographers who get there way before sunset, to "stake out" a vantage point, usually looking at Half Dome. They're trying to get that classic sunset view of Half Dome bathed in the orange sunlight of the setting sun, while everything else around it fades into deep shades of blue and indigo. For example, imagesinthebackcountry.com/images/landscape/… or yosemitehikes.com/images/glacer-point-camera…

So some of the prime locations at Glacier Point will be occupied, though it's a big place and you should be able to find your own spot. Sentinel Dome has an even more expansive view, basically a 360-degree view, and it's a bit closer to Yosemtie Falls. The hike to the top of Sentinel Dome may take you 1 hour from the parking lot.

If you stay up at the top of Sentinel Dome for the sunset, it will get dark on your way back to your car, so you will need a flashlight for each person. If you were to stay up on top of Sentinel Dome for stargazing after dark (and it is a choice location for that due to its elevation and unobstructed view of the sky) be prepared for much cooler temperatures at night, with a blanket and pillow for each person.

I would also recommend a quick stop at Washburn Point, just before Glacier Point, which is less crowded, and has a different view, facing more to the east, with a distant view of the remote Clark Range of the park and a view down to Illiouette Falls, which is not visible from Glacier Point.

So your plan could be Washburn Point, then Glacier Point, then Sentinel Dome, but to do all three I would leave Yosemite Valley by 4:00 or possibly 5:00 at the latest. Bring a picnic dinner to eat at the top of Sentinel Dome as you watch the sunset.

Edited: 15 May 2012, 03:48
Nashville
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4. Re: What time do you need to be at Glacier Point for Sunset?

Thanks for the advice. We will be at Yosemite West, so we will plan to leave there around 5 and head up to Glacier Point. I would love to climb Sentinel Dome late in the day. We have small, but powerful flashlights for both of us, in case we stay until dark.

Would it be worth it to visit Glacier Point two nights and do the star gazing tour from the top on one of those nights? Or should we do all of that one night and watch sunset from either the Valley or Tunnel View the other night?

Edited: 15 May 2012, 04:00
San Diego...
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5. Re: What time do you need to be at Glacier Point for Sunset?

I think that would depend on your overall plan, as there is a lot to see in the park besides Glacier Point. You could plan the whole afternoon and evening at Glacier Point and/or Sentinel Dome. Drive up the road in the afternoon, stop at Washburn Point briefly, then visit Glacier Point, then Sentinel Dome for the actual sunset. You could leave Glacier Point and drive back down the road a short distance, and come to the parking lot for Sentinel Dome and Taft Point.

Taft Point and Sentinel Dome are 2 short hikes that start from the same parking lot. You could take the hike up to Sentinel Dome and watch the sunset from there, and if you wanted to, remain up there after dark for stargazing. I think your choice of whether to stay up there will depend on how you feel, if you're too tired or you still feel like it, plus the weather, if it happens to be cloudy you won't see many stars so obviously you would leave. But if it's a clear night you will have a great view of the stars from Sentinel Dome. Just keep in mind it will be colder up there at night, even if the day was hot.

I guess you can make that decision "on the spot" depending on conditions and on your condition. I don't know how long you will be in the park in total or what your other plans are. But I would be inclined to suggest that you make the trip up Glacier Point Road only once during your trip to the park, and spend the other days seeing other things, including Yosemite Valley of course, and a day (or at least part of a day) driving Tioga Road in the park and seeing the sights along it. Other possibilities include the Mariposa Grove and the Hetch Hetchy area. And you can try watching the sunset from other locations, as you mentioned, Tunnel View being one of them.

I don't know if you have any other threads going in this Yosemite forum about this trip, but if not, you can post your full plan for your time in the park here, and let the members and destination experts for Yosemite comment on it.

Weatherford, Texas...
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6. Re: What time do you need to be at Glacier Point for Sunset?

ALso http://halfdome.net/ is a time lapse of the web cams from days/years past. Find the date that you are planning on going. Viola (sp)

7. Re: What time do you need to be at Glacier Point for Sunset?

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