Glacier Point Road – Yosemite National Park CA


The federal Bureau of Public Roads (BPR), funded by the Public Works Administration (PWA), built the 15.7 mile Glacier Point Road from Chinquapin Flat on the Wawona Road to Glacier Point, 1933-35. This project was part of a complete overhaul of Yosemite National Park roads carried out under the New Deal in the 1930s.

The Glacier Point Road replaced a primitive saddle road built in the 1870s. Surveys for the route were done in 1930-31 and grading began in 1932. Then, funding for the project became available through the National Industrial Recovery Act, which created the PWA.   

“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.”  (Quin)

The Glacier Point Road included a new bridge across Bridalveil Creek, built in 1933. “[The bridge was] designed by the San Francisco office of the Bureau of Public Roads. The bridge 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.)” (Quin 1991)

Glacier Point Road was resurfaced in 1939-40 under the supervision of the BPR (which became the Public Roads Administration in 1939).   The work was completed in August 1940 at a cost of $153,251.03.

On 16 October 1940, all park roads built by the BRP/PRA were formally transferred to the National Park Service.

Project Details

Federal Cost Local Cost Total Cost Project #'s
$153,251.03 $153,251.03

Source notes

Richard Quin, Glacier Point Road, Yosemite National Park. Historic American Engineering Record, HAER NO. CA-157 , 1991

Project originally submitted by Andrew Laverdiere on October 23, 2017.
Additional contributions by Richard Walker.

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


Location Info

Glacier Point Road
Yosemite National Park, CA 95389

Coordinates: 37.666666, -119.616244

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