Yosemite Hike: Lembert Dome

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Lembert Dome is a not-too-challenging hill to climb, that provides an excellent 360-degree view of the Tuolumne Meadows area of Yosemite.  Most hikers will have no problem making the climb, so long as you take a few moments every once in a while to catch your breath.  The reward is multiple viewpoints and mountains as far as the eye can see.

Location

Lembert Dome is located along Tioga Road, more or less in the center of Tuolumne Meadows.  It’s just a short distance east from the Tuolumne Meadows visitor center and gas station/convenience store.

There are two trailheads that provide access to Lembert Dome.  The more popular route begins by following the trail to Dog Lake.  A little more than halfway there, the trail to Lembert Dome breaks off to the right.  Alternatively, you could park at the Lyell Canyon Trailhead on Tuolumne Meadows Lodge Road, and take the trail uphill.  This second option is the more direct route, and it’s the route I used.

My Visit

On the previous night, I had watched the sun set from a near-perfect spot on Pothole Dome, just across the meadow from Lembert Dome.

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Looking east, I got to watch Lembert Dome and the mountains behind it fade from one brilliant shade to another. It only made sense that, the next morning, I would hike up Lembert Dome to see the view from the opposite direction.

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I started my hike at the trailhead along Tuolumne Meadows Lodge Road.  This trail requires an immediate effort.  The trail to Lembert Dome climbs straight uphill…

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… to Tioga Road.  Cross the road and pick up the trail…

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… and continue uphill.  At first, you’ll be hiking through trees, and there’s not a lot to see.  But all that changes…

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… when you reach the edge of the forest, and start the climb up the sloping incline of Lembert Dome.  From here on, you’re choosing your own path, any which way feels right, as you climb up to the dome’s highest points.

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There’s a nice saddle, just before you reach the top.  Step over to the edge…

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… and enjoy the view from this point, then swing wide around the side of the peak, to avoid a steep scramble.

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When you get to the top, you probably won’t be alone.  But that’s okay, because there are numerous places that allow you to get away from the crowd…

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… and kick back and relax, with your feet dangling over the edge.

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Gaze out across the meadows, and you’ll be able to spot Pothole Dome from here.  It looks downright puny from this viewpoint, but trust me, it provides a great view, too!

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Looking south, I noticed a slightly different view of Cathedral Peak than what I had seen the previous evening, from Pothole Dome.

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I wasn’t able to see Dog Lake from here, but I think it’s somewhere over in this general direction, to the north.

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Climb back up to the peak…

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…and enjoy the view for a while.

If I had the time, I would have extended the hike on out to Dog Lake.  But, I had a very long day ahead of me, that included a visit to the valley floor and Glacier Point, and then a drive all the way into the San Francisco area for the night.  So, I headed back to the car.  The entire hike took about 90 minutes — which included a decent amount of leisurely sightseeing at the top.

The Bottom Line

Lembert Dome doesn’t necessarily have to be your first priority in Yosemite, but it’s a great trail to start or end your day, with great views and photo opportunities.

Drivelapse Video

Here’s a look at the time-lapse drive over Tioga Pass and through Tuolumne Meadows:

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