Inspiration Point - Yosemite - Hiking California

 

Inspiration Point is an awesome viewpoint in Yosemite National Park, California.

 

 

The early morning drive from Mariposa is a scenic, twisting, rollercoaster ride on good highway through brilliantly colored, desert canyons.  The ride passes through Midpines, Briceburg and El Portal on the drive adjacent to the Merced River.  At the detour on Hwy 140, around the rock slide, the stop and wait is adjacent to ancient rocks at roadside as the sun is beginning to creep down the nearby canyon wall.

 

Inspiration Point - Pohono Trail - Yosemite National Park, California, USA Inspiration Point - Pohono Trail - Yosemite National Park, California, USA

 

Rather than enter Yosemite Valley, crossing the Merced River on Pohono Bridge loops back past Bridalveil Fall and up Wawona Road to the Inspiration Point trail-head at the upper parking level of Tunnel View on the east end of Wawona Tunnel.  The trail-head is signed and begins at a set of stone steps, then gains elevation aggressively on switchbacks.

 

Inspiration Point - Pohono Trail - Yosemite National Park, California, USA One of the interpretive signs at the Wawona Tunnel Discovery View - Yosemite National Park

 

The hike on Pohono Trail from Discovery View at Wawona Tunnel climbs 1,000 ft (304.8 m) over 1¹⁄₃ miles (2.1 KM) to Inspiration Point, a rocky outcropping at 5,395 ft (1644 m). 

The hiking trail  is a portion of the Old Wawona Road, a centuries-old Indian Route  used by horse, wagon and stagecoach between 1875 and 1933 before the Wawona Tunnel opened.  The climb is consistent through forest and massive glacial erratic boulders, typical of Yosemite terrain.

 

Inspiration Point - Pohono Trail - Yosemite National Park, California, USA Stone steps at Discovery View, Wawona Tunnel, start the Pohono Trail to Inspiration Point

 

Inspiration Point - Pohono Trail - Yosemite National Park, California, USA The Pohono Trail to Inspiration Pont climbs aggressively on switchbacks through forest on stony trail.

 

Inspiration Point - Pohono Trail - Yosemite National Park, California, USA The Pohono Trail passes through massive glacial-deposited boulders typical of Yosemite National Park

 

Crossing the Old Wawona Road which travels east to Artist Point near Artist Creek on the way down to Yosemite Valley is when a thick, metal, wire-wound cable is encountered for the first time.  The continue ascent on tight switchbacksleads up the steep side of Wawona Mountain above Wawona Tunnel for a view east from Inspiration Point along Yosemite Valley 1,000 ft (305 m) above Tunnel/Discovery View.  It is interesting to note Artist Point is above Tunnel View and below Old Inspiration Point for a similar view of Yosemite Valley from different elevations.

 

Inspiration Point - Pohono Trail - Yosemite National Park, California, USA

 

There are trail junctions at the top where the Pohono Trail travels west along the top of the south wall above Yosemite Valley for phenomenal views along the way at Stanford Point, Crocker Point, Dewey Point to Glacier Point, Taft Point and beyond.  It is intuitively mandatory to take time for relaxation at the awe-inspiring view from Inspiration Point to the east over Yosemite Valley.

 

Inspiration Point - Pohono Trail - Yosemite National Park, California, USA Inspiration Point overlooking Yosemite Valley in Yosemite National Park, California, USA

 

Inspiration Point - Pohono Trail - Yosemite National Park, California, USA Inspiration Point - Pohono Trail - Yosemite National Park, California, USA

 

There is evidence of old infrastructure near Inspiration Point from the very beginnings of Yosemite National Park when the Pohono Trail was used by horses and wagons.  The mostly hidden, large, steel cable stretches across the summit of Inspiration Point and surfaces periodically.

Does anyone know what this heavy cable was used for?

 

Inspiration Point - Pohono Trail - Yosemite National Park, California, USA Inspiration Point - Pohono Trail - Yosemite National Park, California, USA

 

Descent is via the same way taken in.  There are spectacular views over Yosemite Valley along the trail as the reverse hike on switchbacks descends through mixed forest and massive boulders.

 

Inspiration Point - Pohono Trail - Yosemite National Park, California, USA Inspiration Point - Pohono Trail - Yosemite National Park, California, USA

 

The hike to Inspiration Point has historical depth and, like most trails in Yosemite National Park, can be extended to many alternative destinations.  The number of options here is typically substantial. 

One of the great frustrations in Yosemite National Park is that, within a limited time frame, so many options and opportunities will be left behind.  The adventure in Yosemite National Park will end soon, knowing there are hundreds of kilometers of spectacular trail which we could not hike on this mission due to restrictions of time. 

At this point in life, it is also a reminder that life is finite and becoming much more limited.  So little time and so much to do.

 

 

 

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Comments

I understand, for us, the destination is the never-ending journey. Occasionally there is a pause to reflect, but then there is always the mystery of what lies around the next corner. After many years the draw becomes the promise of even further enlightenment long after it seems that could no longer be possible. It is a magical journey which I am privileged to have accidentally discovered along with the inner child ability to continue. In the beginning, I had no clue about what I would be blessed to experience. Sometimes, I shake my head in wonder. I am not sure if everyone can experience this phenomenal journey the same way I have, but I believe there are many who would benefit from trying. There is no doubt in my mind that you understand, D. It reads very clearly in your writing. Thank you for commenting. It is always good to here from you. I hope to receive a knowledgeable, definitive response or reference about the specific use of that Wawona Mountain cable. It is about 4 inches (10.2 cm) in diameter and could definitely carry great weight.

One of many places named as such for wonderful vistas and reasons. Those are my thoughts too about that cable. I enjoyed your last few thoughts here in your post as well, which I share very much in, and have also appreciated your musings shared through your comments with me as well Barry. Thankyou. D

Inspiration Point provides an awesome view of Yosemite Valley and a few of the primary features of Yosemite National Park. Your suggestion of use in a mining operation is certainly a possibility. My best guess would be the heavy, steel cable was used for transportation of construction material from Pohono Trail at the top for use in building the long and impressive Wawona Tunnel through the mountain. It is just a guess. Another possibility is a cable car system to transport tourists to and from the valley. Yosemite National Park was substantially more commercialized at the beginning of its history and it is rewarding to see it returning to the natural wonder it is. There is probably a plaque somewhere which tells exactly what the cable was used for, but we did not find it and I have been unable to find any reference to the cable on the Internet. Thanks for your comment, Bill. Hopefully, someone out there will know the correct answer.

Beautiful spot. I'm wondering if the steel cable was used in prospective mining opportunities. That's a tough one. It would be nice to know.

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