A hike to Lembert Dome up in Tuolumne Meadows at Yosemite National Park offers a breathtaking, panoramic view of Tuolumne Meadows you won’t want to miss!
My sister and I recently visited Yosemite and spent a couple of hours in Tuolumne Meadows, a beautiful part of the park that’s about an hour or so north of Yosemite Valley (depending on where you are in the valley) and accessible through Tioga Road.
Per the recommendation of a park ranger who lives in the meadows, we planned on completing two hikes in the area: one to Lembert Dome and one to Soda Springs. We didn’t really know what to expect so we swung by the Tuolumne Meadows Visitor Center first to pick up a map with information on day hikes. It was a little confusing because it combined instructions for Lembert Dome with another place called Dog Lake. We decided we’d just look for signs and figure it out along the way.
– Be sure to bring sunscreen and a hat because there’s no shade at the top of the dome.
– Because the dome is at a high altitude (nearly 10,000 feet), it’s important to stay hydrated, so make sure you bring enough water!
According to the sheet from the visitor center, the first 0.75 mile of the trail rises steeply to a signed junction, after which we’d need to turn left to reach the top of Lembert Dome. We hit a sign within the first several minutes and thought it was the signed junction. It pointed left to a parking lot, and because it had come so soon, we figured that wasn’t it and kept trekking forward.
The first 0.75 mile of incline was a challenge my sister and I were unprepared for. It felt like the longest 0.75 miles we’d hiked in recent history, given our limited fitness abilities. So we paced ourselves.
Eventually, after a handful of rest breaks and a food break near a creek, we hit the signed junction! But instead of turning left like the paper said, we actually had to turn right. It was a little frustrating that the directions weren’t clear, but we were happy to see a flat trail ahead that stayed that way for the most part until we got to the dome.
You’ll have to climb these steps to get to up on the dome to see the view. The total elevation gain for this hike is 850 feet.
Getting to the end of the trail was rewarding. The initial incline was challenging, but the view of Tuolumne Meadows from Lembert Dome made all the effort worth it.
We spent close to an hour just taking in the view, the quiet when nobody else was around, and walking across the dome. (I also took some time to journal, because I had – and still have – no idea when I’m going to get to journal 9,400+ feet above sea level again! So why not?) We didn’t feel adventurous enough to go up to the top of the dome like a few people did, although if you feel up to it, it’s something you can do.
On the way back down, my sister and I were lucky enough to spot a deer twice! We stayed as quiet as we could and watched them for a few minutes before wrapping up the hike for the day.
Hiking to Lembert Dome was a beautiful experience. It’s something I’d definitely be up to do again.