On our way out, we swung by Mariposa Grove. We hiked up to the museum, which is worth it just to see the amazing sequoia grove at the top. It is a steep uphill climb, though, more than we were expecting. There’s a tram you can take around if you’re not into hiking, but it was very pleasant wandering through the trees and seeing all the ancient sequoias, even though it was quite crowded.
And C asked me to marry him at the end of this hike, so I have a particularly fond memory of this beautiful area!
This is just a short distance from the Mono Meadows and Glacier Point locations. We did it as an add-on to the Mono Meadows hike. We met a couple of different people who recommended this as the best views in the area, and one suggested it for sunset, so that’s what we did.
From the lot, it isn’t too far to Sentinal Dome (you can also get there from the Glacier Point lot). Quite a steep climb up onto the dome, but not too difficult and short, as you’ve driven most of the hard part. Spectacular 360-degree views of the area from the top, and an amazing place to watch the sun set!
It does get really cold up there, so dress warmly if you plan to stay for the sunset. It’s possible to hike back to the car before dark, but would be smart to have a headlamp just in case.
I stumbled upon the Mono Meadows hike in our guidebook and we decided to try it the next day since it looked like it would provide a nice contrast to what we’d done the day before, and it was the perfect choice. After heading to Wawona for supplies and real coffee, we headed up the Glacier Point road to the Mono Meadows parking lot. It’s a dirt lot and they have bear lockers there because it’s pretty deserted! Not a good place to leave food in your car!
The trail starts out through the woods sharply downhill. There are tons of different mushrooms growing under the trees and bright green lichen on all the branches.
Then you come out into a beautiful meadow where you can cross marshy areas by walking over logs. The terrain changes into a more open area with a lot of dead trees. Then you come to Mono Creek – there’s a really cool wilderness campsite there with a nice view that I’d love to return to some day. We had lunch overlooking a little waterfall.
From there, you hike through a burned area, climbing over rocks and through bushes.
The trail finally comes out at a big rock with another amazing wilderness campsite and a stunning view. We spent some time relaxing there and saw a black bear! On the whole hike we saw exactly one human (at a distance) and one bear. And a whole lot of birds and chipmunks. It was soooooooo quiet out there.
The trail keeps going and going, but we just spent some time relaxing and enjoying the view and then headed back to our car. C did fall in the marsh on the way back and got really muddy so be careful on those logs. Ha ha! Overall, though, this was one of the best day hikes I’ve ever done and would be a wonderful start to a longer multi-day trek as well. The trail itself was not too hard, although it had some steep bits, but the terrain was varied and really lovely.
After taking the first day for travel and settling into our campground in Bass Lake, we drove into Oakhurst to pick up supplies (lunch fixings and real coffee) and headed into the Yosemite Valley, stopping to take many, many pictures along the way! It really is breaktaking!
We headed to Yosemite Lodge, where we parked the car and booked the bus to Glacier Point. We were surprised at the cost at first ($25 per person one way), having just read about it in the guide as a shuttle and not realizing the extent of the trip. Actually, from the Lodge, it’s 1.5 hours on a difficult road with a very knowledgeable guide. We learned a lot about the history of Yosemite, the flora and fauna there, etc., and in the end it was well worth it to have the one-way hike down instead of the very strenuous two-way hike. We caught the 1:30 shuttle on October 22 and found that gave us just enough time to get back to our car at the Lodge before dark.
From the bus stop, we walked to Glacier Point for the view, and then down the 4-Mile Trail. It was a nice choice – not too strenuous (we were feeling the altitude a bit) and with spectacular views.
The Valley was pretty at dusk, too, as we headed back to the Lodge.
I’ll try to update properly, but I have a two-day turnaround before the next trip, so it may be a while. For now, suffice it to say that our trip to Yosemite was amazing! I’m so glad we went, and I already can’t wait until next time.
that we are probably on the underprepared side. However, these crazy road trips are becoming our specialty! We’re on our way this weekend (leaving Friday) and I’m really looking forward to it. Even though I’ve been busy, it will be an enforced break, and that will be really nice. The weather is looking quite pleasant, if cold at night. :)
It looks like we’re going to do this in October. :) We’re due for a vacation.