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:
Book for May/June starting April 21st 8am.
Book for July starting April 28th 8am.
Book for August starting May 5th 8am.
Book for September starting May 12th 8am.
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 & 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, 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. Catch it after a snowstorm and cross country ski or snowshoe up. The road is usually closed in the winter or after 6am so 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. The stagecoach rides start Memorial Day. See the elusive Chilnualna Falls nearby with a three hour hike.
THIRD DAY NORTHERN YOSEMITE: Waterfalls, Sequoia Groves and Lake, Hiking. Use this route going out to San Francisco:
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.
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!
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: 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.
Whitewater Rafting along Merced River: There are currently 2 companies ZEPHYR and OARS near our resort along Highway 140. They organize guided whitewater rafting trips along the Merced River. They take walk-ins or you can reserve ahead of time. They usually offer full day and half day trip options to be available.
Hite Cove Wildflower Hike : One of the area’s popular wildflower-spotting hikes. You can see dozens of flower varieties here while Yosemite’s high meadows are still under several feet of snow. You’ll also get to see the union of the south and central forks of the Merced River. The Hite Cove trail is all about the wildflowers, which grow in profusion throughout the first two miles of the trail. Hite Cove itself is an abandoned mining settlement some 4.5 miles (7.2 km) down the trail. The Hite Cove trail rolls through the narrow canyon of the south fork of the Merced River. It starts well above the canyon floor, but descends to the river after roughly a mile and a half (2.5 km).
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!