Seasonal Itinerary

Summer is here!

SPRING ITINERARY

TRANSPORTATION: Vehicle Access Reservations to Yosemite National Park will be required on weekends and holidays from Mid-April through October in 2024 and weekdays July and part of August, plus the Entrance Fee. Park and use the free shuttles on the entire Yosemite Valley loop drive.  YARTS can be taken in for $24 inclusive of the Entrance Fee and Vehicle Reservation at the bus stop at the end of our driveway.

TRAIL LUNCH: Our excellent June Bug Cafe opens at 7-10am am for breakfast, trail lunches and water to go and dinner is 5:30pm to 9pm.

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 once the snow melts back). You will want to 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!

Vernal 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 (Which is the last car accessible dirt 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. It may be awhile until the Mist Trail going to the top of Vernal Falls and beyond to Nevada Falls is clear of snow.

Mirror Lake: Mirror Lake appears really to be a lake right now and will diminish through the summer. The Mirror Lake Loop Trail is super nice, but it may be flooded at the far end and back throughout this spring.

Four Mile Trail, Upper Yosemite Falls Trail, Snowcreek Trail and Nevada Falls Trails are all great summer trails to Yosemite Valley’s Rim.  They are all excellent trails to get a overlook view in the valley and you can go as far as you want and come down when you want.  Elevation gains run up to 2000′ but some are very worth the whole day hike.  Once the weather gets hot carry at least two liters water and maybe water filters.

SECOND DAY SOUTHERN YOSEMITE:
Hiking & Overlook Point, Waterfalls, Sequoia Groves or use this route going out to Los Angeles:

Mariposa Sequoia Grove: Impressive big trees at the Lower Grove and a full Upper Grove with a Log Cabin and the Wawona Overlook at the top are worth 2-5 hours of your time. The access & interpretive renovated Mariposa Grove is open now off of Highway 41 at the South Entrance to Yosemite. Go early using the Highways 140/49/41 through Mariposa and Oakhurst. Then come back through the park to us using 41/140.  The Park and Ride bus at the visitor’s center there has started for the season rather then walking the 2 mile road.

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 springtime Chilnualna Falls nearby with a two hour hike.

Sentinel Dome:  Now Open!  It can be crowded at Glacier Point, even with car restrictions, so we generally send people to Sentinel Dome.   Park near the trailhead and hike to the top for the best easily hiked views in the Park!  Do the loop and hit cool Taft Point on your return.

Panoramic Trail  / 4 Mile Trail:  This is all day excursion for the serious hiker.  Park in or ride to Yosemite Valley and start at 4 Mile Trailhead and pass through Glacier Point to Panoramic down to Vernal Falls and Yosemite Valley again.  Many, many waterfalls, scenic views and dome mountains!

THIRD DAY NORTHERN YOSEMITE: Hiking, Overlook Point, Waterfalls and Sequoia
Groves, or returning to San Francisco on Highway 120:

Hetch Hetchy Valley:
Cross the dam and walk the trail on the north side of the lake for excellent views of the lake. There are falls that run all winter into summer 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 on a temperate day.  This summer the trail will be hot but the falls will be still be running for a while. and the wildflowers will be basking in the warm air.

Tuolumne and Merced Groves:  These Groves are still easily accessed about a mile in and a mile out and worth the experience if you don’t have time for the much larger Mariposa Grove.

HALF DAY or GOING HOME on HIGHWAY 140:
Mariposa and Merced River Wild & Scenic Area

Whitewater Rafting: This long rafting season for the Merced River’s Class 3 and 4+ has started now through possibly August. Zephyr Whitewater, OARS Whitewater and All Outdoors Whitewater are within a quarter mile of us. Make a call!

At The Bug:
We haven’t fully cleared the difficult Bug Loop Trail, but the trail to the swimming hole is ** Best Right Now!

Merced River Wild and Scenic Area:
Swimming anywhere along the Merced River should be perfect through the summer.  Look for beaches. 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 steep right there to the valley top and beyond into Sierra National Forest. Or cycle downstream on the dirt road five miles long. At the end of that road is a wilderness walk to the North Fork of the Merced right now. It has mining remnants and a 30 foot waterfall.

Wildflowers Trail Called Hite Cove:
About 10 miles downstream from the Merced River Wild and Scenic Area Day Use lot you will cross the South Fork of the Merced and park across from the old Trading Post Log Cabin. Walk a bit up the little road for the trailhead. Stunning wildflowers throughout spring. About 5 hours round trip, the terminus has mine remnants and once was the Ahwahnee Tribe’s wintering location.  ** Now closed for fire season.

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.

Mariposa Airport Skydiving and Planes Rides:
For exciting views of Yosemite, Yosemite Valley and the central part of California call SKYDIVE YOSEMITE at 209.372.5001 or fly in small plane with YOSEMITE AIRWAYS SCENIC TOURS at 209.966.2143.

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: OPEN!

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 Tenaya 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 with a permit.

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!

Springtime in Yosemite is a magical time!