Planned road repairs will put the park’s Glacier Point beyond the reach of vehicles for all of 2021—and possibly longer

Glacier Point
Wayne Deng/EyeEm/Getty Images

If you’ve been meaning to see what lies beyond (and above) the valley in Yosemite National Park, you might want to do it sooner rather than later, because it’s going to get a lot harder to get to the park’s iconic Glacier Point.

Glacier Point is one of the most popular places in the park outside of the valley. It offers the spectacular payoff of views of Half Dome and Yosemite Falls with a minimum of exertion—during the warmer months, it’s normally possible to drive right up to the valley vistas.

But a much-needed road improvement project will close 10 miles of Glacier Point Road between Badger Pass and Glacier Point for virtually all of 2021, with traffic restrictions continuing into 2022. And that’s a best-case scenario—a notice on the National Park Service Website warns that there’s no guarantee the project will finish on time, and that the road could stay closed for an additional year.

The good news? Glacier Point itself won’t be closed, just the road leading up to it. If you’re willing to set out on foot, you can still do that, and with no cars and tour buses delivering loads of day trippers, you’ll have those spectacular views all to yourself, even during the normally busy summer season. Be aware, though, that the vista is located at an elevation of 7,200 feet, and it’s impossible to get there from other parts of the park without serious exertion. Even the seemingly benign Four Mile Trail is a) closer to five miles one-way, and b) takes most of the day. If you were ever to contemplate such a trek, though, summer 2021 may be the time.