Places To Go
Yosemite Valley is world famous for its impressive waterfalls, meadows, cliffs, and unusual rock formations. Yosemite Valley is accessible by car all year.
The Mariposa Grove is located 36 miles (one hour) south of Yosemite Valley, near the park's South Entrance. The Mariposa Grove is the largest stand of giant sequoias (also known as Sierra redwoods or big trees) in Yosemite. The road to the Mariposa Grove is not plowed in winter and is often closed to cars (but not to hikers or skiers) from sometime in November through April.
Wawona is the home to the historic Wawona Hotel, dating from the late nineteenth century. The Pioneer Yosemite History Center, a collection of historic buildings, is located just over the covered bridge from the hotel. Wawona is accessible by car year-round.
Glacier Point, an overlook with a commanding view of Yosemite Valley, Half Dome, and the High Sierra is located 30 miles (one hour) from Yosemite Valley. The road ends at Glacier Point and it is a short walk to the viewpoint. The road is closed from sometime in November through early May or late June. From mid-December through March the road is plowed only as far as the Badger Pass ski area and Glacier Point can be reached via skis or snowshoes only. Both downhill and cross-country skiing are available at Badger Pass from mid-December through March.
Tioga Road and Tuolumne Meadows
Tuolumne Meadows is a large, open sub-alpine meadow graced by the winding Tuolumne River and surrounded by majestic peaks and domes. From sometime in November through late May or early June, this area is only accessible by cross-country skis or snowshoes.
Hetch Hetchy, a lesser known twin to Yosemite Valley, is home to spectacular scenery and is the starting point for many less-used wilderness trails. The Hetch Hetchy Reservoir is the source of drinking water for much of the San Francisco Bay Area. Although the road to Hetch Hetchy is open year-round during daylight hours (approximately), it may close periodically due to snow in winter and spring. You can take a virtual tour of Hetch Hetchy, courtesy of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.
Did You Know?
The indigenous people of Yosemite Valley have used fire as a tool for thousands of years. Fire was used to encourage the growth of plants used for basket making and to promote the growth of the black oak--a sun loving species--and a staple food source for American Indians from this region.