Saturday, January 30, 2021

You Can See Yosemite Valley from the Tuolumne River! In a Manner of Speaking...

Those of you who know the layout of Yosemite National Park will also know that the title of today's post must come with some kind of caveat because any hiker or cartographer knows that the Tuolumne River in Yosemite National Park flows through a vast gorge the depth of the Grand Canyon (it's even called the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne River). You just can't see the one valley from the other.

But...the Tuolumne River also flows across the flat plains of the Great Valley of California, and if we count "Yosemite Valley" as being also some of the significant peaks and cliffs that ring Yosemite Valley like Half Dome, El Capitan, and Sentinel Dome, you can in fact see the valley from the Tuolumne River.

This is not one of my occasional posts about the better-known spot for viewing Half Dome from Hall and Keyes Roads near Turlock. I get in enough internet trouble over that one, but it is indeed possible to see the very top of Half Dome and El Capitan from my daily walking trail along the Tuolumne River in Waterford. But the additional caveat is that it has to be a really clear day, and we have precious few of those over the course of year. Sometimes weeks can pass between sightings of any mountains at all. But following our huge storm this week, the air was crystal clear today.

The additional caveat is that you need binoculars or a good zoom lens to see the domes and cliffs. With the naked eye, the mountains are difficult to distinguish from one another. But on those rare clear days, and with the right equipment, and knowing where to look, you can indeed see some of Yosemite Valley's most famous landmarks. In a way of course it is frustrating. I'd rather be there than here, but chances will start increasing as the pandemic finally begins to subside.

If you are wondering about the cranes in the foreground, our 1964 vintage bridge is being replaced by a safer, wider bridge. The anchoring columns of the present bridge are unstable during floods; all bridges are perfectly safe, the engineers say, right up until they are not.

In any case, if you couldn't make out the various domes and cliffs and peaks in the opening picture, they are labeled below. 

If you live in the Central Valley (we call it the Great Valley) and wonder if you can see any particular Sierra peaks, check out and find the dropdown command for "simulated view". You can adjust the map for a view from anywhere covered by the program. Below is an example of the view I used to label the peaks shown in this post.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I share these with my mom. She gets so frustrated looking at maps in disbelief. I try to explain I can't see the San Gabriel mountains from fullerton but I can if I drive to Anaheim, where the local hills aren't blocking the view anymore. Can't teach an old dog new tricks. She likes your other blogs though.