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Yosemite's Half Dome Overlook gets needed facelift

September 30, 2009 |  4:34 pm

Ken and Aiwen Nakamoto of Sunnyvale, Calif. take a picture at the redesigned Half Dome Overlook.

*Updated to reflect that the cost of this project was $800,000

Many Yosemite National Park visitors never realized the view they were missing — the iconic Half Dome framed between the cliffs of Glacier Point and the granite walls of El Capitan — or the availability of a spot to take it in.

That's because the Half Dome Overlook on Big Oak Flat Road was easily missed.

Now, thanks to Yosemite Fund donors, the overlook has been redesigned, allowing better access and adding areas from which to enjoy the awe-inspiring view other than just a parking lot.

Paths have been rehabilitated in areas eroded from years of use and to meet the Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility standards.

There also are new educational exhibits, including the bronze relief of Half Dome pictured in the image at right.

"These improvements enhance the visitor experience," said Yosemite's acting superintendent, Dave Uberuaga. "Now people can enjoy the view and its exhibits in a safe and accessible manner as part of a redesign that also protects the natural environment. All of that makes a great view even better."

The project cost $800,000 and is part of the Yosemite Fund's 15-year effort to improve park overlooks, including those at Glacier Point, Olmsted Point and the approach to Yosemite Falls.

—Kelly Burgess

Photo: Ken and Aiwen Nakamoto of Sunnyvale, Calif., take a picture of themselves at the redesigned Half Dome Overlook.

Credit: Al Golub / Yosemite Fund