TRANSPORTATION: LEAVE THE BUG BY 8AM OVER THE BUSY HOLIDAYS AND WEEKENDS TO AVOID YOSEMITE VALLEY TRAFFIC. DO NOT GO FURTHER INTO THE VALLEY THAN THE LEFT JUST PAST THE CHAPEL YOU WILL GET HEAVY TRAFFIC. OR TAKE THE YARTS BUSSES LEAVING THE BUG STOP IN THE AM. PARK YOUR CAR AT HALF DOME VILLAGE LOT, HIKER’S LOT AT HAPPY ISLES, YOSEMITE VILLAGE LOT OR YOSEMITE LODGE LOT & TAKE THE VALLEY SHUTTLE TO GET AROUND.
Our excellent June Bug Cafe opens at 7am for breakfast, trail lunches and water to go and dinner is open until 9:30 to 10pm! The spa closes at 10pm as well.
FIRST DAY YOSEMITE VALLEY: Standard Sightseeing With Some Hiking, Waterfalls & Overlook Point In Yosemite Valley
Valley Loop Drive for sightseeing: Half day about 1 hour + bus ride around. We recommend finding a place to park and taking a free Valley Shuttle Bus around Yosemite Valley for your camera to explore. It goes around to the El Capitan Meadow on the Loop now. Get out where you want, another bus is 20 minutes behind. Yosemite Village is inadvisable for car traffic. Try to make the Tunnel View just a bit south by Highway 41 (or better to avoid the crowds park along the road of left hand lot and take the Old Inspiration Trail up and away. You will want to see Bridalveil Falls and Lower Yosemite Falls if you are travelling with children.
Upper Yosemite Falls Trail and Columbia Point Overlook: Park at Camp 4 and start up the switchbacks to Columbia Point for a warm south facing hike. Lunch at the point and continue round to see the upper Yosemite Falls blasting up close! Of course you should do the 2500′ gain to Yosemite Point for a brag.
Vernal Falls and Nevada Falls, and Mirror Lake:
You will have to catch the Valley shuttle for these places. Take the Mist Trail up and get thrillingly wet during this heavy water season. You can take children and dogs just to the bridge on a paved trail for a view of Vernal Falls. Mirror Lake appear really to be a lake right now. Take the Mirror Lake Loop Trail for a couple of hours under the impressive Half Dome reflection. It may be too early since the trail can be flooded on the east side.
SECOND DAY: WHOLE DAY SOUTHERN YOSEMITE: Hiking & Overlook Point, Waterfalls, Sequoia Groves or use this route going out to Los Angeles:
Mariposa Sequoia Grove: The access & interpretive renovated Mariposa Grove is open now off of Highway 41 at the South Entrance to Yosemite until November 30th. Go early using the Highways 140/49/41 through Mariposa and Oakhurst. This big grove got much needed attention to is cavities last year you will be impressed.
Wawona Covered Bridge & Pioneer Center: The bridge is 150 years old! The assemblance of the historical cabins from the first superintendent’s cabin to the Wells Fargo cabin excite. The stagecoach rides start Memorial Day. See the elusive Chilnualna Falls nearby with a two hour hike.
Glacier Point and Sentinel Dome: The road is open now or you can hike up Four Mile Trail from the Valley to see the point. Sentinel Dome probably has a bit of snow, but put on great boots and make this spectacular 360 degree viewpoint on your list.
THIRD DAY NORTH YOSEMITE OR GOING OUT TO SF FROM THE VALLEY: Hiking, Sequoia Grove and Lake walk for full day or use this route of Highway 120 West going to San Francisco via 120.
Tuolumne Grove/Merced Grove: Just a quarter mile behind Crane Flat gas station the Tuolumne Grove is a mile in and out along an old stagecoach road. The Merced Grove is further down 120, it’s great to walk the three miles round trip or XC ski in heavy winter.
Hetch Hetchy: This hike is south facing and warm in winter. The falls are just starting up and the reservoir view in this second Yosemite Valley is stunning. Hike across the dam and up the far side. Great for children.
Yosemite’s High Country: Highway 120 over Tioga to Las Vegas is snowbound we believe until late June from the heavy winters’ snowfall.
HALF DAY or GOING HOME on HIGHWAY 140: Mariposa and Merced River Wild & Scenic Area
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 on the trees every 50 feet about 12 feet up and at intersections. Red markers are trail back to the lodge. The blue marker is a short cut halving the walk. The swimming hole is cold now but listen for the water falls and trail that zig zags down. If you get lost head back down to the Bear Creek and look up the taller slope.
Merced River Wild and Scenic Area: From Briceberg Bridge upstream there is a single track trail for dogs or Mountain Bikes. You can also mountain bike up the Burma Grade going up right there or cycle downstream on the dirt road (5 miles each way). Downstream at the end of the dirt road trek along the river you can walk to a cascade just before the North Fork of the Merced with your dog.
Whitewater Rafting: We have whitewater rafting companies on property now and the season will be wet and wild on the Merced River nearby. Try OARs Whitewater or Zephyr and have a spectacular time!
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!