Some of Yosemite's best vistas are granted to those who hike the steep, 1.3-mile trail up to this viewpoint. Inspiration Point used to be a spot along an old road into Yosemite Valley. The roadbed still exists, but this hike (the western end of the Pohono Trail) is now the only way to reach the point. The view from the top – a large, open area – isn’t as spectacular as the views on the way up, but it’s a worthy destination nonetheless.
The climb is steep and steady but, thankfully, fairly short. You’ll start by climbing a series of switchbacks from the upper Tunnel View parking lot (which is on Hwy 41 immediately east of the Wawona Tunnel). Almost immediately the view improves, with fewer trees and no bus tourists to battle for camera positions. Short spur trails lead to open viewpoints – all are quiet and perfect for a picnic.
If you’ve got the energy, continue up the trail 2.5 miles further to Stanford Point and then just less than another half mile on to Crocker Point. Both offer epic views. The Inspiration Point trail is often doable in winter. The full 2.6-mile round-trip hike takes 1½ to 2½ hours.