Answer: Sure, Easy, No Problem, It’s only 1,169 square miles!
Real Answer: No Way, Jose! But you can cover some of the important stuff and get a feel for the great wilderness that makes up this scenic wonderland!
The fact is we only have one day available to tour Yosemite, actually only half of a day! Lucky for us a quick driving tour of Yosemite Valley will provide a compressed version of the park and give us an opportunity to see some of its major scenic attractions.
The drive to Yosemite is very long and very scenic, Yosemite is 100 miles from the nearest Interstate so plan accordingly. Driving through this section of California you gradually transition from the flat agricultural plains toward the hills and eventually into the mountains. You are clearly out in the wilderness, well away from civilization until you reach the park and realize everyone in California took the day off and came to Yosemite. It is packed with people! Four million people visit this park each year and most of them arrived today!
As you arrive at the gates you will get a small map and guide of the park. The Yosemite Valley loop is a 22 mile trip that offers spectacular views of El Capitan, Bridalveil Falls, and Glacier Point. The roadway winds along both sides of the Merced River and the view is spectacular in every direction. This is the perfect place for a top down stroll! There are many picnic and viewing stops along the way and the village offers lunch and a small grocery/souvenir store.
As we leave the Village area we head south through the park which takes us through Tunnel View, a spectacular look back at the majestic beauty that Yosemite offers. The drive along the mountainous edge of Yosemite is an awesome cliffside drive full of winding turns and fabulous vistas, the perfect sports car/motorcycle cruise with many turnouts to stop and take in the vast beauty.
We are now headed to meet up with my niece Erin and her fiancé Wayne in Auberry, about 50 miles south of Yosemite Village but still bordering the edge of the park. They have a wonderful home here and we enjoy a great afternoon talking about their life here in California. Together, we headed off to a nearby town and a fun Steakhouse for an excellent dinner before saying our goodbye’s and heading back to our campground.
This was a packed day with hundreds of miles of driving but it was well worth every minute of it.