EARLY SUMMER ITINERARY
CAR NOTES: LEAVE THE BUG BY 8AM ON SUMMER WEEKENDS OR AFTER 3PM. During the weekdays in summer the Park Service still recommends leaving the Bug by 9AM OR TAKE THE YARTS BUS IN FROM THE BUG AT 6:06AM, 6:36AM, 7:25AM, 8:07AM & 9:04AM. Our June Bug Cafe opens at 6:30am in summer for breakfast, trail lunches and water to go! If you arrive after 9AM look at the Highway 140 part of this Itinerary or relax in the Spa or Cafe
PARK YOUR CAR AT ONE OF THESE LOTS BELOW IMMEDIATELY. Also there is a great east end hikers parking lot 200 meters past Half Dome Village not marked here.
FIRST DAY YOSEMITE VALLEY: Standard Sightseeing With Some Hiking, Waterfalls & Overlook Point
Valley Loop Drive for sightseeing: Half day about 1 hour bus ride around. We recommend finding a place to park immediately and taking a free Valley Shuttle Bus around Yosemite Valley for your camera to explore. It goes around the entire Valley Loop now. Get out where you want, another bus is 20 minutes behind. Try to shop outside of Yosemite Valley before your trip into the Park because Yosemite Village is a time wasting car traffic mess.
Stop at points of interest like Tunnel View with your car on the way to Glacier Point or Pioneer Village/Covered Bridge at Wawona on Highway 41 or on the great Half Dome views off of Highway 120 going towards Tuolumne/Merced Sequoia Groves or Hetch Hetchy. There is a dog kennel in Yosemite Valley.
Vernal Falls Mist Trail & Overlook and John Muir Trail Loop: Get off at Happy Isles Trailhead for this excellent falls hike. It is paved until halfway at a view bridge for young children, dogs or strollers. After that plan on getting very wet up the refreshing Mist Trail granite step to the overlook above the Falls. Take the relaxing John Muir Trail back down. You can go all the way to the Nevada Falls further up the John Muir Trail for a day hike. 3 miles R/T 1000 foot gain 2-4 Hours. Almost double for Nevada Falls. Take a lunch and 2 liters water.
Alternative Overlook Point or Big Day Hike? Mirror Lake Loop & Snow Creek Trail. Once past Mirror Lake go as far you you can go up Snow Creek Trail at the far end of Tenaya Valley loop. At top of Valley Rim where the trail flattens, skip over trees on your right for a commanding view of Half Dome and Cloud’s Rest. No reason to go further. 4-5 Miles R/T with loop, Just under 2000 foot elevation gain at 3-5 hours R/T depending upon how far you go. Take a lunch and 2 liters water. Dogs can go on Mirror Lake loop part of trail.
SECOND TO FOURTH DAY MIX AND MATCH GET OUT OF THE VALLEY: Hiking , Sequoia Tree Grove, Overlook Point & Sightseeing.
GOING NORTH ON HIGHWAY 120
Sequoia Tree Groves: The Merced and Tuolumne Groves are open off of Highway 120 just 30 minutes north of Yosemite Valley. The Tuolumne Grove is busier and larger. It has small elevation loss/gain on an old roadbed at about a mile in/out. The Merced Grove is a bit further in distance, quieter and smaller. Both are worth your time. Sorry, the Mariposa Grove on the south entrance are closed for facilities renovation and trail restoration until autumn. The Tuolumne Grove has great interpretation and is okay for strollers, children, and dogs! Take a liter of water.
Alternative Overlook Point or Big Day Hike? Hetch Hetchy: Not as busy as Yosemite Valley, just take the day and walk over the dam, through the tunnel and along the south facing side for beautiful lakeside views and late running waterfalls this year. Flat, turn back as time permits or go all the way to Rancheria Falls for a full day. 1.4 hours from the Bug, take a lunch and 2 liters water.
HIGHWAY 120 GOING EAST OVER TIOGA PASS MAY BE OPEN JULY 4th WEEKEND
GOING SOUTH ON HIGHWAY 41
Sentinel Dome for overlook point: Onroute to Glacier Point stop instead at Badger Pass Ski Area parking lot and take the Glacier Point Shuttle bus to the Sentinel Dome trailhead for a great 360 degree view of much of the Park and of Yosemite Valley. A mile in and a mile out not much gain. The cheapest but best view! It is fantastic! Add an hour and 500 foot drop to the Taft Point to elongate to great hike. Take a liter and a half and lunch (or dinner for sunset) Bring hiking boots for at least partial snow into June.
Pioneer Village at Wawona: An assembly of historical Yosemite buildings at the Wawona Covered Bridge and carriage barns. Free Stage Coach rides are the best ever! Highway 41 is good if you are going south and want a looksee enroute back to the Bug which is 1.5 hours past Wawona through Highway 49. Wawona Meadow Loop is great for dogs. At the other end of Wawona Meadow is the hidden Chilnualna Falls with a 2300 ft gain at 7 miles R/T. Take a lunch and two liters water.
Also think about the Sugar Pine Railway or the Yosemite Trails horse rides just past the south entrance. Remember the Mariposa Sequoia Grove is closed for renovation until October 2017.
GOING WEST ON HIGHWAY 140
El Portal Railroad Park & Merced River Wild and Scenic Area & the Bug: Beaches and swimming anywhere or across the silver suspension Briceberg Bridge and further downstream! The Bug’s Hornets Nest swimming hole is good probably for June but the Bug Loop Trail is good anytimes for the hardy. Mountain Bike in the morning along north upstream side of the Bridge.
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. Music on the Green every Saturday eve.
Out further and just off Highway 140 is the historic 49’er town of Hornitos where Ghiradelli Chocolates were first made and outlaws ruled. The old Plaza Bar on the small square is a classic stop for a beer!
Bear Valley north of Mariposa has some Gold Rush buildings. Also north on Highway 49 stop at Coulterville for some great gold rush era buildings, John Muir and Coulterville Museum! Go home via Highway 132 or go further up Highway 49 for Gold Towns or Caverns!