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

There are 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. 

Directions to reach Yosemite National Park from the Oakhurst Visitors Center: 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).

The drive from the South Entrance to stop at Tunnel View is doable in one 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 in the reverse order.

Yosemite in a Day - Summer

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. 

May - September, park in the welcome area and take the free shuttle to the Grove Arrival Area. (Please Note: When Yosemite National Park Shuttles cease operations for the winter season, 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. )

Some walking/hiking is required to see most of the trees in the grove and the various trails offer hikes that range from short and easy, to long and strenuous. Go prepared with a hat, good hiking shoes, plenty of water, and sunscreen. 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 Area. 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. 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 in Wawona:

  • Visit the Wawona Hotel and walk among history
  • See the Yosemite History Center (during the summer you can visit exhibits inside the Chinese Laundry and the Acting Superintendent's Office, take a ride on our horse-drawn wagon, or watch blacksmiths forge iron tools on a coal forge) 
  • 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 at the Wawona Golf Course (opens June 6th, conditions permitting). To get the latest status update and/or to reserve a tee time please call (209) 375-6572. 
  • 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: Glacier Point Road is be closed to all traffic in 2022 to rehabilitate and improve the road. The only access to Glacier Point will be via the Four Mile, Panorama, and Pohono Trails, all of which are long and strenuous hikes.

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 by Darvin Atkeson

Tunnel View is one of the most photographed vistas in the world.  Photo by Darvin Atkeson.

From Glacier Point Road junction, turn right on Wawona Road and continue down to Yosemite Valley (it is 14 miles from the junction to Tunnel View). You will go through the almost mile-long Wawona Tunnel. Immediately after exiting the tunnel, park on right or left. Watch for traffic, and pedestrians! From here enjoy spectacular views of Bridalveil Fall, Half Dome, Clouds Rest, El Capitan and more.  It's the view seen by many thousands, and made famous by Ansel Adams himself. PHOTO OPP 

Known as Pohono by the native inhabitants, the Ahwahneechee, Bridalveil Fall is the first grand waterfall in Yosemite that many visitors will experience. Both the trails and the viewing area remain closed for 2022 as work on the Bridalveil Fall Rehabilitation Project continues.

The chapel, built in 1879, is the oldest building still in continuous use in Yosemite Valley.  There is a spectacular view of Yosemite Falls across Cooks Meadow 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 many of the major spots in the valley. The shuttle runs every 10 to 20 minutes from 7 am to 10 pm.  For 2022, there are two shuttle routes in the valley.  Click HERE to view the current map.

Start your adventure at Shuttle Stop 1 - Yosemite Village and Day Use Parking. The other larger parking area is the Yosemite Valley Lodge/Yosemite Falls parking at Shuttle Stop 7.

Yosemite Falls

Yosemite Falls viewed from the Lower Yosemite Falls Trail

Shuttle Stop 2 - Village Store

Find everything from groceries to gifts, camping supplies to souvenirs, here.

Shuttle Stop 3 - The Ahwahnee

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 5 - Degnan's Kitchen

Deli sandwiches, signature salads, artisan pizzas, and much more are available at Degnan's Kitchen. 

Shuttle Stop 5 - Valley Visitor Center & Museum

  • Visitor Center & Bookstore – A visitor contact stations is available near the Visitor Center for info and updates. The Yosemite Conservancy Bookstore and the Valley Visitor Center exhibit hall (where you can watch the “Spirit of Yosemite” film) are open from 9am to 5pm.
  • Ansel Adams Gallery - open from 10am to 4pm daily. On display are works of Ansel Adams himself as well as other fine art exhibits throughout the year.
  • Yosemite Museum and Indian Cultural Village – view displays that interpret the cultural history of Yosemite's native peoples from 1850 to the present including a reconstructed village. 

Shuttle Stop 6 – Lower Yosemite Falls

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

Shuttle Stop 7 – Yosemite Valley Lodge

Bike rentals available here, in season. Dining at the Base Camp eatery, The Mountain Room, and The Mountain Room Lounge. Valley/Glacier Point tours depart from here – info and reservations for Yosemite tours, call (209) 372-4386 

Shuttle Stop 14 – Curry Village (eastbound)

Bike & raft rentals in summer. Dining at Pizza Deck and Meadow Grill. Mountaineering School is located here.

Shuttle Stop 16 – Happy Isles

  • See the Happy Isles Nature Center – great for kids!
  • Hike the Mist Trail to the Vernal Falls Footbridge - 1.6 miles round trip, 400 ft of elevation gain. PHOTO OPP
  • Hiking can continue beyond the footbridge; 0.5 miles (with additional 600 ft elevation gain) from the bridge to top of Vernal Falls (very steep stone steps, you will get quite wet in spring/early summer). It's another 1.5 miles of steep and rocky switch backs (with an additional 1000 feet of elevation gain) to top of Nevada Fall. PHOTO OPP

Shuttle Stop 17 – Mirror Lake

Easy and moderate hike options to experience Yosemite Valley's seasonal "lake"; 2 miles round trip to lake and back, 5 miles loop around lake.

Shuttle Stop 19 – Curry Village (westbound)

Dining, shops and lodging options.

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 (it's less than 1/4 mile before the turn). You’ll often several cars and even tour buses there. This view from here is a river-level panorama of Yosemite Valley from a different perspective. PHOTO OPP


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

Our annual Visit Yosemite | Madera County Visitors Guide can answer all your questions about visiting California's Gateway to Yosemite. From the park itself to the museums, wineries, art galleries and more throughout Madera County, our guide can help you plan the perfect vacation. Please note that we mail to the USA only, but anyone can download the guide.
Visit Yosemite - Madera County
Oakhurst Visitor Center, 40343 Highway 41, Oakhurst, CA 93644
(559) 683-4636
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Winter Hours - Monday thru Saturday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm

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