TRANSPORTATION: The free Shuttle Bus in Yosemite Valley is still down. YARTS from the Bug into the Valley and Amtrak are still up and running.
YOSEMITE DAY PASS RESERVATIONS
You will NOT need day pass reservations to enter Yosemite National Park before May 21st 2021.
You WILL need Day Pass Reservations for vehicles from Recreation.Gov (not set up quite yet) to enter Yosemite National Park this summer season of May 21st through September 23rd 2021.
EIGHTY PERCENT OF THE DAY PASSES HAVE ALREADY BEEN PLACED ONLINE
TWENTY PERCENT OF THE DAY PASSES SELL 7 DAYS AT 8AM IN ADVANCE OF ARRIVAL!
Buy your Entry Fee there too (or have Annual Pass) in advance to make driving in easier!
!! ALTERNATIVE PARK ENTRY !!
Book bus tickets at YARTS.Com and avoid a Day Pass or Entry Fee altogether. Our YARTS/AMTRAK Bus Stop is at the end of our driveway. Walk-on seats tend to be available too.
Book with Incredible Adventures Tours Yosemite Valley Orientation to avoid Day pass and Entry Fee altogether. You will enjoy a guide for sightseeing, but also have time to yourself much of the day for a hike or bike. All for a great value.
FOOD: Get trail lunches from the June Bug Cafe to take with you for the days, there’s always take out for breakfast too at 7AM.
FIRST DAY YOSEMITE VALLEY: Sightseeing, Hiking, Waterfalls, Viewpoints & Overlook Point In Yosemite Valley
Valley Loop Drive for sightseeing: Half day. About 1 hour + bus ride around. Try to make the Tunnel View just a bit south on Highway 41 (or better to avoid the crowds and park along the road on the left hand lot and take the Old Inspiration Trail up and away). You will want to walk and see Bridalveil Falls and Lower Yosemite Falls if you are traveling with children or elderly or pets. Remember you can also stroll at least part of the Valley Loop Trail instead of all of the above!
Upper Yosemite Falls Hike: Park at Camp 4 and take the switch backs up to Columbia Rock for a lunch with a view. Go further to see the impressive spring Upper Yosemite Falls close up.
Vernal Falls and Nevada Falls: You can easily walk from Half Dome Village Parking Lot or Hiker’s Lot beyond it. Take the super wet spring Mist Trail up and the John Muir Trail down. You can take children and dogs just to the bridge on a paved trail for a view of Vernal Falls.
Mirror Lake and Snow Creek Trail: Mirror Lake appears really to be a lake right now and will diminish through the summer. Take the Mirror Lake Loop Trail for a couple of hours under the impressive Half Dome reflection. Consider going up the Snow Creek Falls Trail at the end of the canyon for impressive views of Half Dome and Cloud’s Rest on the way up and at the point near the top of the rim.
SECOND DAY SOUTHERN YOSEMITE: Waterfalls, Sequoia Grove, Hiking, Viewpoints, and Historical Interest. Use this route going out to Los Angeles:
Mariposa Sequoia Grove: We recommend doing this as a day outing. This big Sequoia Grove is worthy of all of your attention with the trophy tree littered Lower Grove and the impressive full Upper Grove with a look out at the top over Wawona and the High Sierra. Since there are no busses this summer you will have to hike in from the parking lot. That adds two miles each way to the trek but you will be rewarded with solitude.
Wawona Covered Bridge & Pioneer Center: The bridge is 150 years old! The assembly of the historical cabins from the first superintendent’s cabin to the Wells Fargo cabin do excite. See the elusive Chilnualna Falls nearby with a three hour hike before mid June.
Sentinel Dome and Taft Point: The best views for such an easy hike! Great place for lunch or sunset dinner. Sometimes bears are around. Stunning views of the High Sierras, Yosemite Valley, Vernal and Nevada Falls, and even the Coast Range on a clear day. Taft has fascinating rock form and a closer up of the depth of Yosemite Valley, so do the loop. Glacier Point can be crowded but is good for families or dogs.
THIRD DAY HIGH SIERRA: Waterfalls, Sequoia Groves and Lakes, Hiking. Use this route going out to Las Vegas or Lake Tahoe/Reno.
Tuolumne Sequoia Grove: This lesser grove is a mile in and a mile out on an old coach road. It may be busy but it’s worth the trek to see the trees.
Olmstead Point and Lake Tenaya: Views from Yosemite Valley’s eastern flank, you can walk down the trail for a quarter mile from Olmstead Point for a quieter view. Lake Tenaya is a jewel for all ages, stop and sunbathe, hike around it or to Cloud’s Rest, , kayak about, or immerse yourself in it’s clear waters!
Tuolumne Meadows: Take a few hikes, Cathedral Lake for beauty, Elizabeth Lake for families, Pothole Dome (the first little parking slot to the left) for children, and Lembert Dome with Dog Lake for fantastic High Sierra views. For summer wildflowers take the time walking up the relatively gentle Lundy canyon along the river for wildflowers and glacial valley views. Take your mountain bike and cycle along the eastern side of Saddlebag Lake.
Eastern Sierras: If you have time, it is worth driving down to Mono Lake for it’s tufa towers and spectacular mountain views. There are tufa walks on the southwest and the northwest ends. Check out the Panum Crater walk, too.
Bristlecone Pines: If you are headed to Vegas be sure to follow the route past the stunning 5000 years old trees.
FOURTH DAY NORTHERN YOSEMITE: Waterfalls, Sequoia Groves and Lake, Hiking. Use this route going out to San Francisco:
Merced Sequoia Grove is further out on Highway 120 toward San Francisco and is a mile and a half each way.
Hetch Hetchy Valley: Hetch Hetchy is a reservoir that serves San Francisco, but the lake and waterfalls against the cliffs are spectacular. Park near and walk across the dam and through the tunnel for the easy trail along the south facing sunny shore to view the three waterfalls! It does get hot in high summer so time it early or late.
FOURTH DAY AROUND MARIPOSA: Merced River, Historical Interest, Hiking, Bicycling and Food.
At The Bug: Take the two hour Bug Loop trail in the daytime. It can be very difficult, slippy, wet, steep and narrow. Look for the green diamond marker directionals on the trees every 20 feet about 7 feet up and at intersections. Red markers are trails back to the lodge. The blue marker is a short cut halving the walk. The swimming hole is getting slower but listen for the water falls and trail that zig zags down to see anyway. If you get lost head back down to the Bear Creek and look up the taller slope at the Lodge. The arrows all start at the Amphitheater.
Merced River Wild and Scenic Area: Find a spot along the River and go swimming! From Briceburg Bridge upstream there is a single track trail for dogs or Mountain Bikes. You can also mountain bike or dirt bike up the Burma Grade going up right there or cycle downstream on the dirt road (5 miles each way) but go at dawn.
Mariposa Old Gold Town & Museums: Shop along the old 1850’s era block and see the Old Jail and the oldest operating western Courthouse. The Mariposa History Museum takes you back to the Gold Rush, whereas the California State Gem and Mineral Museum at the Mariposa Fairgrounds shows what was dug up here and the rest of California. Goings on around weekends at the bars and saloons in town, too. Do some road bicycling on the Old Toll Road from Bear Valley to Hornitos for some fun!