Park visitors congregate at Glacier Point to enjoy the setting sun on Half Dome. Photo by Kwong Yee Cheng.
Not many people know who John Conway was but if you’ve ever enjoyed the view from Glacier Point, the top of Half Dome, the Mist Trail or the Four Mile Trail he’s the man you should thank.
“Glacier Point was from the earliest days recognized as a most desirable vantage point, yet from the Valley it was at first accessible only to those nimble tourists capable of scrambling up the ledge and through the steep chimney below the point. In 1871 there came to Yosemite one who was destined to do much toward making accessible points on the Valley’s rim. This man was John Conway, and several of the most used trails in the park serve as monuments to his energy and ability. His first task was to build the trail from Snow’s to Little Yosemite. That finished, he undertook the same year the construction of the “Four Mile Trail” to Glacier Point. This work was done for McCauley, who later took over Peregoy’s Glacier Point stopping place and built the Glacier Point Mountain House. The “Four Mile Trail” was completed in 1872. In 1873 Conway built the Eagle Peak Trail and operated it as a toll trail until it was purchased by the State.” ~ from Early Years in Yosemite by Carl P. Russell