Please note: This post contains affiliate links.
Wondering how to plan a day trip to Yosemite National Park? Seeking a Yosemite 2 day itinerary? Planning for a long weekend and need a Yosemite 3 day itinerary? No matter how many days you plan to spend in Yosemite, I’ve got you covered!
Having visited four different times in spring and winter for three days each during the past year, I’ve compiled the perfect Yosemite itinerary to help you maximize your time, see and photograph the highlights, hike and avoid the crowds.
If your schedule allows, I highly recommend spending two to three days in Yosemite, allowing you to admire the park’s beauty from a variety of angles and viewpoints. To help you plan, I’ve included when to visit Yosemite, where to stay when visiting Yosemite, tips on the best places to eat and towns to explore near Yosemite.
TOP TIP: If you have time, enter via one entrance and exit via another gate to take advantage of all the pullouts, vantage points and fascinating California gold rush towns near Yosemite National Park.
My favorite gold country towns include Oakhurst, Murphys, and Mariposa. With five entrances to Yosemite, you have lots of options, including wine tasting along the Madera wine trail outside Wawona (Yosemite’s south gate).
Given that Yosemite Valley is 2.5 to 6 hours from most major cities and attractions, it’s best to stay in Yosemite National Park or in one of the nearby towns (Oakhurst, Mariposa or Groveland) to maximize your time. Also, after the long hiking days, I found myself too tired to drive back to San Francisco.
Want to extend your California road trip? Definitely consider visiting Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks as part of a broader Majestic Mountain Loop journey through the Sierra Nevadas.
Yosemite National Park Entrances
- Hetch Hetchy – Highway 120
- Big Oak Flat – Highway 120 – Coming from San Francisco? You’ll probably come in this gate. This route passes through Groveland and Sonora is nearby.
- Arch Rock – Highway 140 – This is the other popular entrance if you are traveling from San Francisco to Yosemite. You’ll pass through Mariposa.
- Wawona – Highway 41 – If you are traveling from Los Angeles, Death Valley or Fresno, you’ll pass through Oakhurst.
- Tioga Pass – Highway 120 – If you are coming from Bodie ghost town, Mammoth Lakes or Mono Lake, you’ll enter through this gate. Due to snow, this eastern entrance is typically only open from June-early November.
How far is the drive to Yosemite Valley?
- Murphys: ~90 miles/2.5 hours. My favorite gold rush town!
- Fresno: ~100 miles/2.5 hours
- Kings Canyon: ~150 miles/3.5 hours
- Sequoia National Park: ~170 miles/3.75 hours
- San Francisco: ~200 miles/4.5 hours
- Los Angeles: ~ 300 miles/6 hours
- Death Valley: ~ 400 miles/7.5 hours. Venture here before or after and use my Death Valley hiking guide and Death Valley road trip guide
- Joshua Tree National Park: ~ 420 miles/7.5 hours
Yosemite National Park Entry Tips
If you are entering Yosemite National Park at 9 or 10am, especially on the weekends or from June-September, be prepared to wait in line at the Visitors Gate for 2-3 hours!
From May 20 – September 30, 2022, you will need a reservation to enter the park from 6AM-4PM. You can make these reservations for all dates beginning March 23, 2022 via recreation.gov. Additional reservations will also be available seven days in advance.
TOP TIP: Arrive before sunrise and you will sail through the gates and spend your first few hours of the day soaking in the solitude and views without throngs of people.
Be prepared to pay $35 at the gate. Cash and credit card are accepted. If you plan to visit more than two United States National Parks in the next twelve months, it’s worth investing in the America the Beautiful Pass for $80. Buy from REI or at the gate.
TOP TIP: Since they sometimes sell out of annual passes at the gates, it’s best to purchase in advance.
When to Visit Yosemite – Planning the Perfect Yosemite Itinerary
Wondering when is the best time to go to Yosemite?
Yosemite’s landscape changes dramatically throughout the year. To simplify your Yosemite itinerary planning, I’ve included unique things to do in Yosemite during different seasons.
Personally, my favorite time to visit Yosemite is the spring when you can immerse in the breathtaking sights and sounds of powerful waterfalls cascading over the granite rocks.
FUN FACT: Yosemite Falls is the highest waterfall in North America (2450 ft/747 m) and the fifth highest in the world.
If you are a waterfall lover like I am, many of Yosemite’s waterfalls only trickle by August and don’t reappear again until late winter or early spring when snow begins to melt.
SPRING IN YOSEMITE
Spring is prime time for gushing waterfalls, wildflowers (dogwoods and redbud bloom in April), and hiking. Moderate temperatures (33-73F/0-22C) and fewer people make for a pleasant hiking experience.
TOP TIP: In April, May and June, you can witness lunar rainbows (aka moonbows) on Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls during full moons. Check Brian Hawkins’ predictions for the best dates and timing.
This is also a great time of year to capture reflections at Mirror Lake. See more about Mirror Lake below.
SUMMER IN YOSEMITE
Summer is the busiest, buggiest and hottest time to visit Yosemite National Park. If you can avoid visiting during this time, I would. Lodging and parking are harder to find and you’ll contend with more crowds on the trails. During the summer, an early start is key to avoid hiking in the oppressive mid-day heat. More about the hikes below.
TOP TIP: Summer is the most popular time to hike Half Dome as the cables are typically only up from late May to mid-October.
If you want to secure a permit to hike Half Dome in 2022, participate in the lottery from March 1-31, 2022. 350 permits are issued per day (225 for day hikers, 75 for backpackers, 50 via lottery two days in advance).
FALL IN YOSEMITE
Fall brings beautiful colors reflected in the Merced River. The combination of fewer crowds and cooler temperatures makes this my second favorite time of year to visit the park.
FUN FACT: If there is water trickling in Horsetail Fall, you can get Firefall in October! However, this is rare.
WINTER IN YOSEMITE
Seeking snow covered scenes, snowshoeing or skiing? Plan a Yosemite wintertime visit. This is a good time of year to capture fog caressing the treetops from Tunnel View.
TOP TIP: To find out road conditions and chain restrictions, call 209-372-0200 (press 1, then 1). If there is snow and/or ice, chains are often required (even if you are driving an AWD or 4WD), so this is an important consideration.
If it is snowing, entering via the Arch Rock gate on El Portal Road (highway 140) is your best bet as it’s the lowest elevation road.
Horsetail Fall – Firefall Event
For two weeks in February, if conditions are right, Horsetail Fall, which trickles down the side of El Capitan, lights up and looks like lava at sunset (and for the 15 minutes before) and is known as “Firefall.” For this to happen, three things must happen:
- Sufficient snowpack to melt and cause Horsetail Fall to flow.
- A clear night. If there are clouds on the horizon, the sunset rays won’t hit Horsetail Fall and light it up.
- Wind to blow the mist and add a more dreamy quality to the scene.
Top Tips for Shooting Firefall
- Visit on a weekday as crowds are bonkers on the weekends. Some people arrive as early as 12PM to claim a spot. Bring a chair, blankets, a book, food and a headlamp.
- Position yourself east of the El Capitan Picnic Area.
- Shoot a 70-200mm lens on a tripod.
Aaron Meyers Photography has predictions to help you plan for a future Yosemite Firefall trip.
The Perfect Yosemite Itinerary (for 1, 2 or 3 days)
I’ve included a 3-day Yosemite itinerary that you can mix and match to fit your needs and interests, calling out highlights and photography tips to make the most of your time in this gorgeous United States National Park.
Yosemite Itinerary: Day 1 – Explore Yosemite Valley
#1 Sunrise at Tunnel View
This is one of the most popular places to stop on any Yosemite itinerary for good reason. You can marvel at El Capitan, Half Dome, the Three Graces and Bridalveil Fall as the sun rises.
FUN FACT: This is where Ansel Adams captured some of his most iconic Yosemite National Park images.
Seeking Tunnel View with moody fog and clouds? These ethereal conditions tend to be most common with spring or winter storms.
PHOTOGRAPHY TIP: Wait for the sun to crest above the valley to get a sunburst at sunrise. To maximize the effect, stop down your aperture to F16 or F22.
A wide-angle lens (16-35mm) or a mid–range telephoto (24-70mm) works best for capturing all four icons in one frame.
Located 8 miles (15 minutes) from Yosemite Valley, 40 miles (1 hour 10 minutes) from Oakhurst, and 40 miles (1 hour) from Mariposa, sunrise is ideal if you are staying in the park. If you miss sunrise, come for sunset, which is just as pretty!
#2 Golden Hour at Artist Point or Inspiration Point = a short hike
Want a quick hike after sunrise without crowds? Cross over from the Tunnel View parking lot and hike up to Artist Point (2.3 miles round trip/741 feet elevation gain) or Inspiration Point (2.6 miles round trip/1043 elevation gain). They both offer a similar view to Tunnel View without the crowds.
TOP TIP: While I considered hiking up to Artist and Inspiration Point for sunrise, I’m glad I didn’t as I found the trail a bit confusing. Make sure to download All Trails. Use this to navigate and stay on the trail as I accidentally got off trail a couple of times.
#3 Bridalveil Fall
As you drive along Southside Drive, make a quick stop at Bridalveil Fall. Water flow is typically strongest in April, May and June.
As of April 2022, the walkway for Bridalveil Fall is undergoing restoration. Therefore, you can only view it from the road. Once the restoration is complete (at the end of 2022), you’ll be able to appreciate its beauty from a closer vantage point.
FUN FACT: Bridalveil falls 620 ft (189 m) into Yosemite Valley.
#4 Cathedral Beach
For an El Capitan reflection shot, pull into Cathedral Beach and walk down to the water’s edge. Just after sunrise, the combination of calm waters and first light on El Capitan leads to the ideal conditions for a reflection photograph.
PHOTOGRAPHY TIP: For scale, you can include someone in a bright jacket in the shot.
Look closely and you’ll likely see climbers on El Capitan.
#5 Sentinel Beach
Since the Three Brothers are particularly photogenic in fall and winter surrounded by rust colored foliage or capped in snow, this is another great option for a serene reflection image.
PHOTOGRAPHY TIP: Use a tripod and opt for a 10-30 second exposure to smooth the water. Depending on the time you arrive here, you might need a 6 or 10 stop neutral density filter for a long exposure image.
#6 Swinging Bridge
Continue on to the Swinging Bridge parking lot for an early morning view of Yosemite Falls reflected in the Merced River. April, May and June have the strongest water flow.
This bridge gets really busy later in the day so early morning is best if you are seeking solitude.
PHOTOGRAPHY TIP: For a long exposure shot, use your tripod and a 6 or 10 stop neutral density filter to smooth the water.
#7 Yosemite Chapel
Dating from 1879, the Yosemite chapel is the oldest building in Yosemite Valley.
If you are interested in attending services, check the schedule here.
TOP TIP: Mix up your perspective and you can get Half Dome towering above the Chapel or view Yosemite Falls across the valley floor.
The chapel is also beautiful during a full moon. I’m hoping to capture it enveloped in a snowstorm during a winter visit.
#8 Upper Yosemite Falls Rainbow
When Yosemite Falls is cascading from February to June, you can see rainbows in the Upper Yosemite Falls mist in the early morning (730-930AM).
TOP TIP: Just after you cross over Sentinel Bridge, pull into the parking lot to your left and find a good vantage point where you can see the rainbow.
PHOTOGRAPHY TIP: Use a polarizer to saturate the rainbow colors and make it pop.
#9 Choose a Hike
Depending on your fitness level, desire to climb stairs and what you hope to see, I’ve provided two options for hiking during a day trip to Yosemite.
For any Yosemite hikes, I recommend carrying the the following to be prepared for the changing weather, temperatures and landscapes in the Sierra Nevada.
- Hiking boots – I swear by my Salomon X Ultra 3 GTX and am on my second pair
- Hiking poles – Black Diamond is my favorite brand
- At least 100 ounces of water in a Nalgene, Hydroflask or Camelbak. You are at altitude and will dehydrate faster as a result
- Food and snacks in reusable silicone Stasher bags. The sandwich and snack sizes are my favorite
- Fleece – my North Face fleece is still going strong after 10+ years
- Waterproof jacket – I love my Marmot Precip for hiking as it stuffs easily into my backpack
- Sun protection for the relentless sun at altitude – a wide-brimmed hat with a neck strap and sunscreen are key
Hiking Option 1: Mirror Lake Trail Yosemite
Distance: 5 miles (8km) to make the full loop around the lake
Elevation Gain: 300 ft (91 m)
Estimated time to complete the hike: 2-3 hours
Parking: Park at Curry Village or take the shuttle to stop #17
From February to June, you can capture beautiful reflections as you hike around the Mirror Lake loop trail. By late summer, the water recedes or disappears, so the hike is far less compelling then.
Trail highlights include:
- Seeing Half Dome and other park features reflected in the water – best March-June
- Admiring Half Dome from its base
- Water rushing underneath a picturesque bridge halfway through the hike
Read more about this hike and others in my best Yosemite hikes post.
Hiking Option 2: Vernal and Nevada Falls via Mist Trail
Difficulty: Moderate to Strenuous
Distance: 6 miles (9.6km). Be aware that winter routes may add 2 additional round-trip miles to your journey for the day
Elevation Gain: 2162 ft (659 m)
Estimated time to complete the hike: 4-6 hours
Parking: Park at the parking lot near Happy Isles or take the shuttle to stop #16
This is the most popular hike in the park for good reason as you get to see not one, but two waterfalls, Vernal and Nevada Falls. You will also see Liberty Cap from Nevada Falls. The Mist Trail is typically open April/May to November/December. This is a top Yosemite attraction on every Yosemite itinerary.
TOP TIP: This trail gets SUPER busy so an EARLY start is key to minimize the number of people on the trail and to hike in cooler temperatures. The parking lot was quite full when we arrived at 8AM in April.
For more details and pictures about this hike, check out my best Yosemite hikes post.
#10 Grab Dinner
Degnan’s, the Ahwahnee Hotel, Ahwahnee Bar or the Basecamp Eatery at the Yosemite Valley Lodge all offer myriad options.
See more information on what these Yosemite dining establishments offer below.
#11 Enjoy Sunset
Watch the alpenglow on Half Dome from the Sentinel Bridge or head to Tunnel View for a sunset view over the valley.
#12 Look for Climbers on El Capitan
If you have the energy, drive over and park at one of the pullouts to see climbers on El Capitan. If night has fallen, look for headlamps blinking on the wall.
TOP TIP: Watch Free Solo before you head to Yosemite National to immerse yourself in Alex Honnold’s ascent of El Capitan with NO ropes. Be prepared for cliff hanging scenes (literally).
Yosemite Itinerary – Day 2 – Marvel at More of Yosemite’s Waterfalls
With a weekend trip to Yosemite, you can gape at more of Yosemite’s waterfalls and undertake another demanding hike with jaw-dropping views.
#1 Grab breakfast at Degnan’s
With all the calories you’ll burn hiking in Yosemite today, you’ll want to refuel with a breakfast sandwich at Degnan’s.
TOP TIP: If you are vegetarian, get the Deg muffin with egg, cheddar cheese and Morningstar veggie sausage. It’s filling and delicious!
#2 Walk to Lower Yosemite Falls
If you are staying at Yosemite Valley Lodge, it’s a short .3-mile walk to the Lower Yosemite Falls trailhead. This 1-mile (1.6km) loop is a flat and easy trail with only 50 feet (15m) elevation gain.
TOP TIP: As you are walking up the pathway, make sure to capture an image of Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls framed by the trees.
While the entire loop trail will only take you 30 minutes, I guarantee you’ll be enamored with the water flow and want to spend more time basking in the sight and sound.
PHOTOGRAPHY TIP: Bring a tripod, polarizer and 6 or 10 stop filter to capture silky smooth water and the rainbow at the waterfall base. For the best view, position yourself on the footbridge to capture water flowing over the rocks below.
#3 Choose a Hike
Depending on how tired you are from your first day of Yosemite adventures, I’ve provided you three hiking options for Day 2 of your Yosemite itinerary.
Hiking Option 1: Cook’s Meadow Loop
Distance: 1-mile (1.6 km) round-trip
Elevation Gain: None
Estimated time to complete the hike: 30 minutes
Parking: Park at Yosemite Valley Lodge, Yosemite Village or the lot near Sentinel Bridge
This flat walk is a peaceful way to start the day before everyone descends upon the valley. While wandering around this loop you can appreciate the beauty of Yosemite Falls, Half Dome, and Glacier Point from below.
If you missed Yosemite Chapel, Sentinel Bridge or the rainbow in Upper Yosemite Falls’ mist from Day 1 of the Yosemite itinerary, you can see them this morning.
Hiking Option 2: Upper Yosemite Falls Hike
After spending time at Lower Yosemite Falls, you can now hike up to Upper Yosemite Falls or partway there for impressive views of Upper, Middle and Lower Yosemite Falls as well as Half Dome.
Difficulty: Moderate – Strenuous
Distance: 2 miles (3.2 km) round trip to Columbia Rock or 7.2 miles round trip (11.6km) to the top of Yosemite Falls
Elevation Gain: 1000 ft (328 m) to Columbia Rock or 2700 ft (823m) to the top of Yosemite Falls
Estimated time to complete the hike: 2-3 hours round trip for Columbia Rock or 6-8 hours round trip to the top of Yosemite Falls
Parking: Park in the Yosemite Falls area just beyond the Camp 4 entrance or take the shuttle to stop #7
Given the elevation and distance, get an EARLY start for this hike as you don’t want to do this in the heat of the day.
You will gain 1000 feet (328 meters) in the first mile and get to Columbia Rock, which is a FANTASTIC view of Half Dome. Many choose to turn back after this viewpoint.
If you are considering this hike, find more tips and images of this hike in my favorite Yosemite hikes post.
Hiking Option 3: Four Mile Trail Yosemite
Distance: 9.6 mile (15.5 km) round trip
Elevation Gain: 3200 ft (975 m)
Estimated time to complete the hike: 6-8 hours round trip
Parking: Park at Four Mile Trailhead (it’s often full by 9AM so arrive early)
This trail is a bit of a misnomer as it’s 4.8 miles one-way. If you are visiting in 2022, this will be the only way to access Glacier Point as Glacier Point Road will be closed until spring 2023.
Given slippery sand on the rocks, hiking shoes and hiking poles are helpful and a minimum of 100 oz of water. This hike can be VERY buggy in the summer, so bring lots of bug spray if you opt for hiking 4 Mile Trail in the summer.
If you are game for this butt-kicking hike, you’ll be rewarded with views of Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls, Yosemite Valley, El Capitan and Half Dome.
More details and recommendations for this hike can be found in my Yosemite hikes post.
#4 Ansel Adams Gallery
If you admire Ansel Adams work like I do, you’ll definitely want to stop at his gallery in Yosemite village. It’s easy to lose yourself perusing photographs, books and postcards for 30 minutes. The gallery is open 10AM – 3 PM each day.
Tunnel View, Sentinel Bridge, Cook’s Meadow or anywhere with a view of Half Dome is a great option for witnessing the alpenglow on Half Dome during the second day of your Yosemite National Park itinerary.
Yosemite Itinerary – Day 3 – Wawona South Gate Explorations
If you are spending 3 days in Yosemite, use your final day to explore the Yosemite History Center and the giant Sequoias at the Mariposa Grove in Wawona at the South Gate.
#1 Sunrise at Valley View
Located 4.7 miles from Yosemite Valley Lodge, head along Northside Drive to the Valley View pull out on the left. If you pass Pohono Bridge, you’ve gone too far.
This vantage point allows you to capture Cathedral Rocks and Bridalveil Fall reflected in the Merced River.
#2 Tunnel View
Tunnel View is a wonderful place to stop again and bid farewell to Yosemite Valley on your way towards the south gate in Wawona on the third day of your Yosemite trip.
Given how picturesque this view is and since you’ll be heading past it early before the crowds arrive, you can stop and see if there is atmosphere with clouds or fog this morning.
#3 Yosemite History Center
Stopping at the Yosemite History Center for 30-60 minutes is worthwhile to see structures dating from the 1890s. Highlights include: a covered bridge, cavalry office, tiny jail, various sized log cabins, wagons and more. We loved how the light filtered through the trees here and spent an hour exploring the grounds with no one else around.
#4 Mariposa Grove – Giant Sequoia Trees
Standing beneath massive Sequoia trees that rival the Statue of Liberty will leave you speechless.
If you happen to visit when snow still carpets the landscape, the contrast of the bark against the snow is even more awe-inspiring. Yaktrax or snowshoes may be prudent if there is snow or ice.
Be aware if you visit between December 1- March 15, the shuttle does NOT run from the Mariposa Grove Welcome Center, so you must hike 2 miles each way to the Mariposa Grove trailhead.
TOP TIP: If you visit when the shuttle isn’t running, I recommend hiking up to the Mariposa Grove via the Washburn Trail (with a 500 feet elevation gain) and returning via the road.
From March 15 – November 30, the shuttle typically runs 8AM-5PM.
When visiting, I recommend you explore the Grizzly Giant Loop Trail
Distance: 2 miles (3.2 km) round-trip
Elevation Gain: 353 ft (107 m)
Estimated time to complete the hike: 1-2 hours round-trip
Parking: Park at Mariposa Grove Welcome Center
Hike highlights include:
- California Tree Tunnel – carved in 1895 to allow cars to pass through
- Grizzly Giant – towers 209 ft (64 m), has a diameter of 28 ft (8.5 m), and circumference of 96 ft (29 m)
- Bachelor & 3 Graces – an impressive grouping of four giant Sequoias
#5 Explore Oakhurst’s attractions
Oakhurst is a place you’ll thank me later for encouraging you to stop. Round out your Yosemite trip planning, by finding all the fun things to do in Oakhurst, California, including axe-throwing, wine tasting, delectable dining, hiking, kayaking, fried pickles and Reese’s Pieces shakes.
#6 Wine Taste along the Madera Wine Trail
Continuing 40 miles past Oakhurst, you can discover wine tasting along the Madera wine trail. Food pairings, Bordeaux varietals, ports and sparkling wines will delight your palate.
#7 Dinner at Season’s Bistro or South Gate Brewing Company
After spending 3 days in Yosemite, I HIGHLY encourage you to indulge in the extensive menu at Season’s Bistro in Fish Camp for dinner from 4-9pm Thursday to Sunday. Or, devour fried pickles, award-winning beers and burgers at South Gate Brewing Company from 11-8 everyday.
If you are taking an extended trip to the Sierra Nevada, it’s worth adding time to your Yosemite itinerary to immerse in Mariposa, other gold rush towns near Yosemite, and Murphys. Murphys is my other favorite former gold rush town.
Where to Stay when Visiting Yosemite National Park
Best Places to Stay in Yosemite
Canvas tents and cabins are available at Curry Village. They are also close to the Mist Trail hike. Since the tents have shared bathroom, no refrigerator and no heat, I prefer Yosemite Valley Lodge.
Yosemite Valley Lodge
Yosemite Valley Lodge is the closest lodging to Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls, Cook’s Meadow, and Sentinel Bridge. Given its cost and proximity to many of the best things to do in Yosemite, I recommend staying here. Rooms have a mini fridge, allowing you to bring your own food for hikes and explorations.
The Ahwahnee is definitely a splurge since it costs $600+ per night with taxes. Some of the hotel rooms have shared balconies allowing you to ogle the phenomenal views. For more privacy, they also have cabins in varying sizes. Make sure to stop by and wander inside to admire the architecture and peek into the historic dining room.
The hotel will be closed and undergoing renovations from January 2 – March 2, 2023.
TOP TIP: In November and December, they often offer a few different events, including the Bracebridge performance, the Vintner dinner (a 5 course meal paired with wines) and the Chef’s Holiday dinner.
FUN FACT: The Ahwahnee is a National Historic Landmark and opened in 1927. The hotel has hosted Queen Elizabeth, President Obama and Judy Garland.
Best Places to Stay Near Yosemite
- Groveland Hotel – Groveland (off of Highway 120 on the way to Big Oak Flat entrance)
- All Seasons Groveland Inn – Groveland (off of Highway 120 on the way to Big Oak Flat entrance)
- Yosemite View Inn – El Portal (off of Highway 140 on the way to Arch Rock entrance)
- Rustic Bug – Mariposa (off of Highway 140 on the way to Arch Rock entrance)
- Narrow Gauge Inn – Fish Camp (off of highway 41 entrance-Wawona)
- Queens Inn – Oakhurst (off of Highway 41 entrance – Wawona )
Where to Eat in Yosemite National Park
- Base Camp Eatery at Yosemite Valley Lodge (open 730-10AM, 11AM-3PM, 4-8PM)
A popular and tasty place, it gets quite busy. For breakfast, they offer: pancakes and breakfast burritos. Lunch and dinner options include: poke bowls, crispy chicken sandwiches black bean burgers, chicken fingers, and Mediterranean wraps with couscous.
- Village Store (open 8AM-9PM)
Stop here for postcards, gifts and snacks.
TOP TIP: Do yourself a favor and try the highly addictive (and spicy) chili mango slices, Shaka mango hibiscus juice, huckleberry lollipops, huckleberry licorice or huckleberry dark chocolate and sea salt bar. You’ll thank me later!
- Degnan’s Deli (open 7-11AM & 11:30AM-6PM)
Start your day with the Deg muffin with egg, cheddar cheese, and sausage, bacon, ham or veggie sausage. The Morningstar veggie sausage is on point. If you are famished, get the Sunrise roll, which includes two eggs, two sausage patties and cheddar. It’s MASSIVE and large enough for two people to split.
TOP TIP: If they have Nutella croissants, make sure to get one as I’m still dreaming about it!
- Ahwahnee Restaurant (open 7-10AM, 1130AM-2PM, 530-830PM)
If you are looking for a splurge and prefer a sit down option, the Ahwahnee’s buffets are well known. Dinner requires more formal dress.
TOP TIP: Don’t miss their boysenberry pie.
- Ahwahnee Bar (open 2-9PM)
The Ahwahnee Bar is perfect if are seeking something more casual with creative drinks. Their roasted vegetable quinoa bowl, Bavarian pretzel with beer cheese or winter salad with kale, butternut squash and maple Dijon will hit the spot after a long hike. Top off your meal with a ginger margarita.
I hope my one, two and three day Yosemite itinerary ideas will help you plan an epic Yosemite trip. I’d love to hear which of the tips in my Yosemite travel guide you found most helpful and which experiences in Yosemite were your favorites. Happy travels to Yosemite! If you want to explore Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park during part of a larger California road trip, use my Majestic Mountain Loop itinerary to plan!
Thanks for another “bookmarkable” post to fuel another future roadtrip! I haven’t been to Yosemite in *so* many years but clearly I so need to go back. And now I’ll even know where to go to score some amazing and well-deserved meals after all that hiking!
Marielena Smith says
Glad I could help you plan another roadtrip. Another visit is definitely in order as there are so many wonderful areas in the park to discover. I’m all about rewarding the delicious meals after strenuous hikes. I’m excited to return next month for lunar rainbows (moonbows) and some new hikes!
Jennifer Campbell says
This is awesome – so much valuable information! You’ve just planned my trip to Yosemite! Thanks! Beautiful photos too
Marielena Smith says
I’m delighted I could assist with planning your trip to Yosemite. It’s a special place with so many places to discover throughout the park. I feel incredibly fortunate to live relatively close so that I can continue to explore and share new areas to inspire people for their next visits!
Linda Pixley says
SO incredibly helpful!! This saved me hours and hours of research — and my son will love the photography tips! THANK YOU!
Marielena Smith says
Hooray! Like you, I do tons of research before visiting a place, so it’s always rewarding for me when I can create a resource that saves others time in planning their trips. Since I’ve visited the park four times in the past year, I’m always finding new gems that I enjoy sharing. Have a wonderful time. It’s a beautiful park that I appreciate even more each time I visit