Think of this as a refreshing alternative to spending another weekend in Tahoe. Sitting just 200 miles east of San Francisco, and only a 3-4 hour drive, Yosemite (and all of her splendor) is more accessible than most people realize. With peak season crowds already thinning out, right now is one of the best times to visit. So what are you waiting for?
Here are a few of our favorite adventures and spots for the fall:
Taft Point is a relatively remote overlook that provides majestic views of Yosemite Valley, Yosemite Falls, and El Capitan. Getting to Taft Point requires a 1-mile intermediate hike (one-way) from the Taft Point Trailhead, located about five minutes before the end of Glacier Point Road. Learn more.
Inside Tip: Taft Point is best at sunset. Plan to start your hike an hour before sunset to give yourself enough time to enjoy the scenery and make it back to the car. Just be sure to watch your step - you’ll be on a sheer cliff without railings. If you’re afraid of heights, we’d recommend Glacier Point as an alternative.
Hiking to Glacier Point via Four Mile Trail is one of the best ways to experience everything Yosemite Valley has to offer. The views along the moderate 4.7-mile hike (one-way) will provide you with unique perspectives of the Valley’s major landmarks, as well as stunning views from the top. Learn more.
Inside Tip: We prefer to hike this route from the bottom-up. If you’re not keen on a 9.4-mile round trip hike, you can either park a car at the top for a 1-mile roundtrip hike, or catch the Glacier Point tour bus back into the valley ($20 cash). Either way, treat yourself to an ice cream at the gift shop.
The Tunnel View is one of the most famous, sweeping views of Yosemite Valley. From this overlook, you can see El Capitan, Bridalveil Falls, and Half Dome in the background. This is definitely more of a photo op than any sort of outdoor adventure, but it’s worthwhile nonetheless. Learn more.
Inside Tip: Located adjacent to Wawona Road, it’s most likely going to be crowded. Try arriving early in the morning to beat the tour buses.
This 8.8-mile (out-and-back) backpacking trip is definitely for the more adventurous, but it’s also a lot more rewarding. The up-close-and-personal view of Half Dome is jaw dropping, and you simply can’t beat the sunrise views in the Yosemite backcountry. A Wilderness Permit is required. Learn more.
Inside Tip: While it’s possible to tackle this as a long day hike, we prefer to take our time and enjoy the solitude of the backcountry. Given the moderate nature of this hike, it’s a great option for novice and intermediate backpackers, and can be easily completed as an overnight trip.