Turtleback Dome and the perfect Yosemite vista

At any given moment, you’ll find the highest concentration in Yosemite of tour buses (and their occupants) at Tunnel View (sometimes known as Discovery View), which is where the Wawona Tunnel on Highway 41 enters the valley.  The reason of course is that the view there is spectacular and one of the iconic views in the park. (See for example this excellent HDR photo.) But is it the perfect vista?

I recently saw a photo (actually, it may have been this webcam) of the view from Turtleback Dome, which is about 3.5 km up the road (back through the Wawona Tunnel) from Tunnel View.  At least, that’s where you park your car – the dome itself is another 800 metres or so hike up an old road.  (There’s more info on getting there in this photo.net discussion.) Because the tour buses don’t stop there, and you have to walk a distance from the road, it’s not as popular as Tunnel View.  But is the view better?

I don’t know.  I haven’t been there myself yet, although I hope to correct that in about two weeks.  But judging from the webcam photo, you get to see more of Half Dome from Turtleback Dome than you do from Tunnel View.  Even though it’s not as well-aligned with the valley itself, it’s about 240 metres higher in elevation, which makes up for it a bit.

The bottom line is that I’ll have to see for myself.  I’m aiming to go there in the late afternoon, possibly staying for sunset, at the end of my first full day in Yosemite.  I’ll be sure to take some photos, which may even prove that Turtleback Dome provides the perfect Yosemite vista.

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