TRANSPORTATION: Remember you need to have a Covid-19 related Park Entrance Permit from Recreation.gov and you must enter upon it’s first day to validate it. Also you can get YARTS bus tickets at YARTS.com to get into Yosemite Valley without the Park Entrance Permit from our bus stop. Remember that most busses hold employee and local seats that are usually available without a ticket. The free Yosemite Valley Shuttle Bus is currently not operating because of Covid-19.
Our excellent June Bug Cafe opens at 7.00am for breakfast, trail lunches and water to go and dinner is open from 6.00 to 9.00pm!
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. Try to make the Tunnel View just a bit south on Highway 41 (or better to avoid the crowds park along the road on the 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 or elderly or pets. Remember you can also stroll at least part of the Valley Loop Trail instead of all of the above!
Four Mile Trail: Park nearby this hike’s trailhead just before Sentinel Meadow, and start up the switchbacks to Glacier Point for a cooler north facing half day+ 3200 ft gain hike. Lunch below the top due to crowds up there. You can continue on the Panoramic Trail to Nevada and Vernal Falls and down to the Valley on a loop but start before dawn and take a lot of water.
Vernal Falls and Nevada Falls: You will have to catch the Valley shuttle for these places but can easily walk from Half Dome Village Parking Lot or Hiker’s Lot. Take the 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: 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 assembly of the historical cabins from the first superintendent’s cabin to the Wells Fargo cabin do 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, park near the trailhead and make sure this spectacular 360 degree viewpoint is on your list. Do Taft Point nearby and make a stunning loop of it.
THIRD DAY: TIOGA PASS ROAD AND TUOLUMNE MEADOWS: Hiking, Sequoia Grove, Viewpoint and Lake walk for full day or use this route of Highway 120 West going to Las Vegas or Lake Tahoe:
Tuolumne Grove/Merced Grove: Just a quarter mile behind Crane Flat gas station on the Tioga Road/120 East, the Tuolumne Grove is a mile walk in and out along an old stagecoach road. The Merced Grove is further down 120 West, it’s great to walk the quieter three miles round trip .
Porcupine Flat Trailhead: Worth getting a ride to the trailhead and walking to and down Yosemite Falls for a downhill hike 4000 ft loss half day+. If you decide to do Indian Peak and the super impressive North Dome views, camp overnight or leave before dawn at the trailhead and have plenty of food and water.
May Lake and Mt Hoffman: May Lake is about a 3 mile trek 300 ft gain round trip and mostly road, great for hardy families! Going further up to the top of Mt Hoffman is absolutely worth the trip. Up and back full day or through route using Ten Lakes with an overnight exiting further down the highway. Hoffman is a favourite along with Cloud’s Rest and Lembert Dome.
Olmstead Point, Lake Tenaya and Cloud’s Rest: Easy and quick. There’s a short trail at Olmstead if you have some time. Otherwise stand there and take in the spectacular views of the east side of Half Dome. Just down the highway you are at Mirror Lake for a cool dip and a picnic. There’s a beach at the north end too. The loop trail around the lake is a very nice diversion. The Sunrise Lake Trailhead to Cloud’s Rest is one of the best, but leave before dawn and investigate the hike before you go. Best if an overnight.
Tuolumne Meadows, Lembert Dome, Pothole Dome and Lyell Canyon: The Meadows are always worth a bit of meditation. The Pothole Dome is great views for families whereas the Lembert Dome is a destination loop hike with spectacular elevated views you need half+ of the day for. Lyell Canyon is a great stroll up a glaciated valley along the Tuolumne River, just turn back when you feel like it.
Saddlebag Lake and Mono Lake: Saddlebag has a nice loop around around it at 10k ft you can walk or mountain bike around. If you are driving to Tahoe or Vegas stop at Mono Lake tufa towers and volcanic crater walks on the south end!
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 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: From Briceberg 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. Whitewater Rafting: We have whitewater rafting companies on property now and the season will be wet and wild on the Merced River into August. 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!
HALF DAY or GOING HOME on HIGHWAY 120: Hetch HetchyAt the Dam: Cross the dam and walk the trail on the north side of the lake for excellent views. There are falls that run all winter and worth the time to see each one. Turn around when you like but the hardcore hikers should go as far as Rancheria Creek Falls.