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Glacier Point Yosemite
Yosemite In A Day
Summer
Glacier Point Yosemite
Itineraries Yosemite In A Day - Summer
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Yosemite in a Day - Summer

There's a lot of activities during summertime (June through August) and the park is very popular so it's advised to get as early a start as possible.

To reach Yosemite from the Visitors Center: From our parking lot turn right and go northbound on Hwy 41. The Yosemite Park south entrance is 14 miles straight ahead. Continue on Highway 41, which becomes Wawona Road inside the park, all the way to Yosemite Valley (about 1 hour from the south entrance).

Temporary Day-Use Reservations

Yosemite National Park has implemented a temporary Day Use Reservation system for summer 2021 based on recommendations from public health officials.  The temporary reservation system will end September 30, 2021.

Day-use permits are valid for three consecutive days for unlimited entries. Day-Use passes are not valid for overnight use (the park is only open to day-use pass holders from 5 am to 11 pm).  

To book your reservation go to www.recreation.gov for Yosemite National Park Ticketed Entry.  You will need to sign up for an account and log in to purchase tickets.

If your date is booked, there is a way to possibly get tickets 7 days in advance of arrival:  

From May 14th to September 23rd additional reservations will be available every day at 8 am PST for 7 days in advance of date of arrival.  Be sure to have a recreation.gov account created, be logged in, and ready to get your reservation promptly at 8 am PST as tickets can sell out quickly.  

For other frequently asked questions go to:  https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/covid19.htm

The Day Use Pass fee is $35 per car + $2 online service fee. If you are 62 or older and a US citizen or permanent resident, you can obtain a Senior Pass for $80, good for life for all National Parks. For yearly and senior pass holders you will still need a reservation plus the $2 online service fee to visit the park while the temporary reservation system is implemented.

The drive from the South Entrance to stop at Tunnel View is doable in 1 hour, traveling safely at a speed of 35 mph. Be considerate of others by pulling over at turnouts to let vehicles go by. (The law: You must pull over at the first opportunity if there are four or more vehicles behind you.) Watch for animals darting into the roadway. 

From the Visitors Center, below is the “logical progression” of stops. If traffic is too heavy or if you get a late start, consider seeing it all the reverse order.

Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias

Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias

Stroll or hike among our Gentle Giants, the largest living things on earth. The giant sequoias of Mariposa Grove approach 2,000 years old and provided the impetus for the creation of Yosemite National Park. The Native Americans stepped here first, followed by adventurers such as Galen Clark, John Muir, Teddy Roosevelt. 

Park in the welcome area and take the free shuttle up to the arrivals area. (Please Note: All Yosemite National Park Shuttles will not operate in 2021. A two-mile walk or bike ride is necessary to access the grove. Vehicles with handicapped placards will be accommodated - click HERE for current details. )

Chosen destination in the Grove some walking/hiking is required to see most of the trees in the grove. Go prepared with a hat, good hiking shoes, and plenty of water. Take refillable water bottles since no disposable water bottles are sold in the Welcome Area gift shop. There are drinking fountains to fill your bottles at the Welcome Center and at the Arrival Stroll to the Fallen Monarch, an easy trail, about .3 mile loop - EASY

Hike to the Grizzly Giant, the largest tree accessible to the public, two miles round trip - MODERATE Journey to the Upper Grove cabin and Wawona Point, seven miles round trip – STRENUOUS (check to make sure this trail is open – may be closed due to snow) For those with a handicap placard, you can drive to the parking area near the Grizzly Giant to enjoy a short, accessible walk to the Griz. Seven handicap spaces are available in that lot, along with restrooms.

The historic Wawona Hotel inspires the imagination with visions of yesteryear.

Things to see and do:

  • Visit the Wawona Hotel and walk among history
  • See the Pioneer History Center – great place for children to run off some energy 
  • Walk the Meadow Loop (easy, 3.5 mile loop, flat) – only trail in the park where dogs are allowed 
  • Hike Chilnualna Falls (moderate to first cascade – 2 mile round trip) (strenuous to upper cascades, 8 mi round trip, 2,400 ft. elevation gain) 
  • Play golf    (Not operating for 2021 season.)
  • Have dinner in the Wawona Hotel and listen to Tom Bopp (long-time Yosemite musician and historian)  Tues. through Sat. 5:30 pm to 9:30 pm (May not have musical entertainment for 2021 season.)
Glacier Point Yosemite National Park

Glacier Point at Sunrise

Note: Yosemite National Park Shuttles will not operate for the 2021 season.

Between 10 a.m. & 6 p.m. take the free shuttle from Badger Pass to Glacier Point. No personal vehicles will be allowed during those hours except those with accessible placards, valid wilderness permits for a trailhead along Glacier Point Road, or those camping at Bridalveil Creek campground. Stops will be made at Sentinel Dome/Taft Point and Washburn Point. Optional stops will be made at other trailheads upon request.

  • Hike McGurk Meadow – spectacular wildflowers in late summer – easy 2 miles round-trip. 
  • Hike to Dewey Point – moderate, 8 miles round trip 
  • Hike to Sentinel Dome – moderate, 2.2 miles round trip, best 360-degree views of the valley and high country. PHOTO OPP
  • Continue the Sentinel Dome Hike on a 5-mile loop to include Taft Point and the Fissures. 
  • View Nevada Fall, Vernal Fall, and Illilouette Fall from Washburn Point and Glacier Point. PHOTO OPP Birds’-eye view of Yosemite Valley and Yosemite Falls from 3,200 ft. above valley floor 
  • Views of Mt Hoffman (approximate geographical center of the park), Cathedral Peak, Mt Starr King, Mt Clark, and other landmarks of the Yosemite high country. 
  • Glacier Point is well known for the beauty of its sunsets, full moons, and stars. PHOTO OPP
Tunnel View Yosemite

Tunnel View is one of the most photographed vistas in the world

From Glacier Point, turn right on Wawona Road; continue down to Yosemite Valley. You will go through a mile-long tunnel. Immediately after exiting the tunnel, park on right or left. Watch for traffic! Spectacular view of Bridalveil Fall, Half Come, Clouds Rest, El Capitan. PHOTO OPP 

BRIDALVEIL FALL – Walk ¼ miles one-way to base of waterfall.

Oldest building still in continuous use in Yosemite Valley, date from 1879, and a spectacular view of Yosemite Falls from outside the chapel. PHOTO OPP   

Stunning view of Sentinel Bridge and Half Dome. Photo by Darvin Atkenson - Yosemite Landscapes.

From Yosemite Chapel continue to Sentinel Bridge (the first stop sign you’ll come to in Yosemite Valley). Turn left over Sentinel Bridge and park at Shuttle Stop 11. Walk back to middle of bridge. This is a quintessential PHOTO OPP of Half Dome over the Merced River.    

DAY PARKING: Continue to next stop sign, turn right and follow signs to the Day Parking area or the new parking area west of Yosemite Lodge. Leave your car for the rest of your visit to Yosemite Valley, until you’re ready to depart.

 

Take the free Yosemite Valley shuttle to all the major spots in the valley. The shuttle runs every 10 to 20 minutes from 7 am to 10 pm.

Start your adventure at Shuttle Stop 1 (makes it easy to remember where you parked). The Yosemite Valley Lodge Day Use parking is Shuttle Stop 7.

NOTE:  The Yosemite Valley Shuttle will not be running in 2021.  You can use the referenced "stops" for your car or bike stopping places. 

Shuttle Stop 6 – Yosemite Falls

A scenic half-mile (one-way) walk to base of Yosemite Falls.

Shuttle Stop 5/9 - Valley Visitor Center

  • Visitor Center & Bookstore – watch “Spirit of Yosemite” and “A Gathering of Spirit” film in Yosemite Valley Theatre. 
  • Ansel Adams Gallery Indian Museum and Village – be sure to observe cultural demonstration in the museum. 
  • Evening presentations in Yosemite Valley Theatre; 7 pm nightly. 

Shuttle Stop 3 – The Ahwahnee Hotel

Great for LUNCH – 209/372-1489 for dinner reservations. Allow about 2 hours for lunch. (Less expensive, no dress code for lunch, great views out of the 34-foot-high windows) 

Shuttle Stop 8 – Yosemite Valley Lodge

Bike rentals here, in season. Valley/Glacier Point tours depart from here – info and reservations for Yosemite tours, call (209) 372-4386 

Shuttle Stop 13a – Curry Village

Bike & raft rentals in summer.  Ice skating rentals in winter.

Shuttle Stop 14 – Curry Village

Dining, shops and lodging options.

Shuttle Stop 16 – Happy Isles

  • See the Happy Isles Nature Center – great for kids!
  • Hike to Vernal Falls Footbridge - .8 mile uphill “both ways” PHOTO OPP
  • Hike to Nevada Falls – 1 mile to top of Vernal Falls (very steep stone steps, you will get quite wet in spring/early summer) – another 2 miles to top of Nevada Fall 

Shuttle Stop 18 – Yosemite Valley Stables

Horseback riding (seasonal) – stables Those are just a few of the adventures you can have in Yosemite Valley. One more awaits you as you're leaving the valley on Northside Drive:

Yosemite Valley View

Sit along the Merced River and enjoy the Valley View

Watch for the big pullout on the left as you approach the Pohono Bridge. You’ll often find tour buses there. This view from here is a panorama of Yosemite Valley from a different perspective. PHOTO OPP

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Like what you see? Save any (or all) of these pins to your travel planning board(s) to give you any easy way to find your way back here!  Also check out our other itineraries and blog posts for more ideas and pins!

VISIT YOSEMITE | MADERA COUNTY

Oakhurst Visitor Center
40343 Highway 41,
Oakhurst, CA 93644
(559) 683-4636
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Daily 8:30 am to 4:30 pm
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