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When I look back on our one visit here, I realise it was all too rushed and we did not give ourselves a real chance to see what can be seen. Having said that we mightily enjoyed our drive through from the Tioga Pass north east entrance, across the Sierra Nevada and back up the Yosemite valley before leaving the Arch Rock west entrance.

From Mono Lake to the east, the road up though the Tioga pass rises steeply and as you cross the top of the Sierra Nevada range the huge rock formations and lakes at the side of the road offer amazingly scenic views. The altitude is such that the pass is closed by snow from early winter to early summer.

As you drop down the western side of the Sierras the road becomes hemmed in by forests with breaks in the trees offering tanalising glimpses of Yosemite Valley as you approach. Once you reach the valley floor the vista opens up with impossibly beautiful views of Bridal Veil Falls, El Capitan and Half dome the classic scenes of Yosemite. Take more time than the few hours we did, I have promised myself I will go back one day to see more.

For a nearby place to stay checkout Mariposa

Thmbnail of YosmiteLook at full size picture courtesy of John Cletheroe

Site visitor post 12.12.01
Tip – Make sure you plan your visit so that the Tioga pass is open if you are entering the park from that direction – it is (apparently blocked by snow to quite late in the year)
Tip – Book in advance for Curry village – you will not find a vacancy by turning up. Don’t expect canvas luxury- it really is a back to nature experience !
Tip – Think about the order you visit the sites and where they are situated e.g. the early morning visit to Bridal Veils was spoilt by the fact that it is on the south side of the valley and the sun was behind the falls obscuring a lot of the splendour. It would have been better to have visited in the afternoon when the sun would have passed by.
Tip – Don’t be fooled by the guidebooks telling you that a particular waterfall is ‘only 5 miles from the valley floor’. It is hard work to Vernal falls (even worse, I imagine, if you plan to hike onto Nevada falls, particularly at the end of the walk/hike to the top of the falls. Nevertheless it is quicker coming down (it took twice as long going up as it did coming down ! Probably 2.5 hours up and 1.25 hours down).

Site visitor post 4.7.03
1) Exiting the park to the west on the 120, it might be tempting to use the much shorter and very steep 'Old Priest Road (Grade)' Do not attempt it unless you drive a 4x4 with very low gears. Stupidly, I tried it twice. First - unknowingly, in an older car and second - rather smugly in a brand new car. I feel fortunate, and very lucky to be sitting here writing this message. Both experiences were horrifying! I've never, and will never - try this again. Only use this road to ENTER the park and then... make sure your oil pan is full before you start the climb.

2) The altitude of some visitor centers is very high. If your auto is older and uses a carburator - you may experience a poorly running engine and difficulty restarting after visiting the center. I experienced both (many years ago) and that was with a brand new Honda Civic.

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