May 18-19

Yosemite Valley and Hetch Hetchy: Day 1 - Saturday

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We head to Yosemite for a short weekend trip with our main focus being Wapama Falls in Hetch Hetchy Valley, neither of us have been to this part of Yosemite National Park.

Early on Saturday we head out in Toby's car for the almost 4 hour drive to Yosemite. We decide to take the Arch entrance or middle entrance to the park through Merced. This is an easier drive up into the valley although a little more milage (but roughly the same amount of time as the closer Big Oaks entrance).

Once in Yosemite we first head up to Tunnel View for a good overview of the park. The day was perfectly sunny and clear although a bit crowded with tourist. From there we stopped at Bridalveil Falls. We took the trail to the base of the falls to get a cool misting from the falls. We then parked the car by Swinging Bridge and spent the rest of the afternoon walking around the park. We first head over to Swinging Bridge for some nice photos of Yosemite Falls. From there we stroll through the nearby meadow en route to Yosemite Falls. Once at the falls we encountered yet another huge throng of people. We didn't stay long and then took the quiet Mirror Lake trail to the Ahwahnee Hotel. There was a bustling of people at the hotel and the grounds in back of the hotel for a wedding about to take place. We went into the Great Room to sit and relax. A portion was closed for the wedding reception. From the Ahwahnee we walked to the store and then back to the car.

We didn't want to stay in the valley too late since we had about an hour drive to get to the hotel on Hwy 120 toward Groveland. At around 6pm we checked into our hotel, America's Value Inn Westgate Yosemite about 15 minutes from Groveland. We chose this hotel since it's cheaper, it's available, plus it was close to Hetch Hetchy. The room (#308) was basic and included a refrigerator and microwave. The floral comforters did not match the online photo of a more contemporary hotel bedding. We ate dinner early at the restaurant next door called Buck Meadows Restaurant. We were both hungry after a long day. I had the salsbury steak.

Go to Day 2

  • Along Hwy 140 heading toward Yosemite from Merced

  • Driving through Mariposa on Hwy 140

  • Approaching the landslide on Hwy 140 along the Merced River

  • Approaching the landslide on Hwy 140 along the Merced River

  • Rafters along the Merced River

  • Rock tunnel just inside the park from Arch Gate entrance on Hwy 140

View of Yosemite Valley as seen from Tunnel View. El Capitan is on the left, Bridalveil Falls on the right and Half Dome in the middle.

  • Our first stop. View from Tunnel View lookout

  • From Tunnel View lookout

  • From Tunnel View lookout

  • From Tunnel View lookout

  • From Tunnel View lookout

  • From Tunnel View lookout

  • From Tunnel View lookout

  • From Tunnel View lookout

  • From Tunnel View lookout

  • Ribbon Falls falls over 1,600 feet into the valley below

  • Bridalveil Falls descends 620 feet and flows all year long

  • Toby and Bridalveil Falls

Yosemite Falls as seen from near Swinging Bridge.

 

  • Bridalveil Falls

  • Bridalveil Falls as seen from the base trail

  • Bridalveil Falls as seen frm the base trail

  • Yosemite Falls viewed from near Swinging Bridge

  • Yosemite Falls from Swinging Bridge

  • Yosemite Falls viewed from near Swinging Bridge

  • Yosemite Falls viewed from near Swinging Bridge

  • Yosemite Falls from Swinging Bridge

  • Yosemite Falls from Swinging Bridge

  • Sentinel Rock and Sentinel Falls descending over 2,000 feet

  • On the meadow past Swinging Bridge

  • The mosquito ridden trail along the Merced River

  • Half Dome from the 'mosquito' trail along the Merced

  • Yosemite Falls

  • Half Dome

  • On the meadow past Swinging Bridge

  • On the meadow past Swinging Bridge

  • At the crowded Yosemite Falls viewpoint

Half Dome with the Merced River flowing through the valley.

  • At the crowded Yosemite Falls viewpoint

  • A kingsnake along the Mirror Lake trail toward the Ahwahnee Hotel

  • View of Half Dome from near the Ahwahnee

  • View of Half Dome from near the Ahwahnee

  • Looking up at the people at Glacier Point lookout, 3,000 feet above

  • The Ahwahnee Hotel

  • The Great Room in the Ahwahnee Hotel

  • The dining room at the Ahwahnee

  • A 'tame' deer by the store

  • On the meadow back to Swinging Bridge

  • Sentinel Rock in the late afternoon

  • Yosemite Falls in late afternoon

  • El Capitan on our drive out of the valley

  • Room 308 at our hotel

  • View from our room

Go to Day 2