Signs that you wish were at the viewing points around the valley to tell you why so much sweat and toil were spent on building a trail there.
Half Dome elevation 8842
Named by Champion Spencer of the Mariposa Battalion in 1851. It was called “Rock of Ages” by Wm. Abrams in 1849, who said it looked like a sliced loaf of bread. Native name: Tissaack, or Cleft Rock. It was also briefly known as South Dome, which was also a name that Sentinel Dome had for a brief time and causes some confusion when reading the accounts of the early pioneers. On October 12, 1875 George Anderson, a Scotsman, climbed it by wedging single nails into cracks, pulling himself up, and attaching a line. The dome has also been known as “Goddess of Liberty,” “Mt. Abraham Lincoln,” and “Spirit of the Valley.” The front half looks sliced due to exfoliation in a zone of vertical joints.
George Anderson may have built most of the current trail up to the wall of Vernal Fall. The rest was probably built by Conway. In the beginning, in 1857, wooden ladders were placed at the upper part of the trail to help hikers get up to Vernal Fall. Wooden steps replaced them. A stone walkway appeared in 1897. Although it’s an old name, it didn’t appear on maps until 1958.
Leland Stanford, one of the “Big Four” who built the Central Pacific Railroad that spanned the United States, was governor of California, and founder of Stanford University. This name was in use by 1907.
The point was named by RB Marshall, of the USGS, before 1918, for Pres. William Taft. Taft visited the park in 1909.
Yosemite Falls Trail
John Conway built it over the period of 1873 to 1877. It was a toll road until 1885, when it was sold to the state for $1500. The native way of getting to the top of the north rim was to climb up Indian Canyon. Rock falls over the decades have made Indian Canyon a difficult hike.