Glacier Point Road – Yosemite National Park CA


Glacier Point Road is a 15.7-mile road from Chinquapin Flat to Glacier Point. “The Glacier Point Road provides access to the most famous and popular overlook in Yosemite National Park, Glacier Point. The promontory is located on the south rim of Yosemite Valley, and offers a splendid view of the upper end of the Valley, with Half Dome, Yosemite Falls, Nevada Fall, Vernal Fall, Illouette Fall and the upper Valley meadows all prominently displayed. A toll trail was the first route constructed to the point from Yosemite Valley; a few years later [in the late 1870’s] a primitive saddle road was built from Chinquapin Flat on the Wawona Road. The road was reconstructed along with other principal park roads in the 1930s and remains one of Yosemite’s most popular scenic drives.”

In 1925, care of park roads were handed over to the Bureau of Public Roads and regular maintenance, minor upgrading & oiling were done until the need of an auto road became apparent. Survey’s for the route were done in 1930 and 31 with grading beginning in 1932. “Funding for the road’ s reconstruction was obtained in part through the National Recovery Act. The new road was to have easier grades and a wider track than the earlier carriage road. The section between Chinquapin Flat and Bridalveil Creek would be built to the 16′ Forest Highway Standards, and would be a full 22′ wide (shoulder-to-shoulder) in fills and cuts.” Work was completed in 1935.

“A new bridge for the crossing of Bridalveil Creek was designed by the San Francisco office of the Bureau of Public Roads. The bridge [HAER No. CA-103] was built by contractor Nelson & Wallace of Escalon, California, which submitted the low bid of $10,359.50. The 32′ foot bridge was of steel I-beam construction, and rested on cement rubble masonry abutments. A characteristic example of the NPS •rustic style,•
the small bridge was designed to appear to be of wooden construction. The steel deck was concealed by yellow pine stringers along the sides, and the guard rail was of yellow and lodgepole pine construction. (Sections of tree trunks have replaced the original rail.) Work began on 11 July 1933, and the bridge was completed on 5 October.”

“In 1939 and 1940 the Glacier Point Road was resurfaced with a bituminous treatment and armor coating. The Bureau of Public Roads (which became the Public Roads Administration in 1940) supervised the project. From Chinquapin Flat to Sentinel Dome Saddle, the road was surfaced a full 20′ wide, consisting of an 18′ main roadway with a base surface of up to 6″ thickness and a 2″ top coat. From Sentinel Dome Saddle to Glacier Point, the road was surfaced 18′ wide. This section had a 2″ base coating and an upper coating l” thick. The work was completed in August 1940 at a cost of $153,251.03.
Since 1928, the Wawona and Glacier Point roads were formally under
construction or post-construction administration by the Bureau of Public Roads and the Public Roads Administration. On 16 October 1940, the roads were formally relinquished to the National Park Service.~ The transfer marks the completion of the 12-year reconstruction project for the two roads.”

Source notes

HISTORIC AMERICAN ENGINEERING RECORD GLACIER POINT ROAD Yosemite National Park HAER NO. CA-157 by Richard H. Quin, Historian, 1991

Project originally submitted by Andrew Laverdiere on October 23, 2017.

We welcome contributions of additional information on any New Deal project site.


Location Info

Glacier Point Road
Wawona, CA

Coordinates: 37.666666, -119.616244

Leave a Reply

Before leaving a comment, please note:

  • Comments allow viewers to share information with others or alert us to errors or changes in a New Deal site.
  • We are not involved in the management of New Deal sites and have no information about visits, hours or rentals.
  • This page shows all the information we have for this site; if you have new information or photos to share, click below.


We welcome contributions of additional information on any New Deal project site.

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.