🏞 Perfect One Day Trip to Yosemite: How to See It All (2024)

Itinerary for One Day in Yosemite National Park blog cover.  Text overlaying an image of Yosemite Tunnel View with a fresh dusting of snow.

With the perfect one day itinerary, a day trip to Yosemite National Park is just enough time to see the entire Yosemite Valley!

First-time visitors to America’s favorite national park will be thrilled by how many beautiful, iconic sights they can experience in such a short amount of time.

Personally, despite Sophie and I visiting at least once a year, the incredible views here never fail to take my breath away.

After years of experience, this is the exact one day itinerary for Yosemite that I follow whenever I take friends or family on a day trip. The trick is to arrive early and leave late to maximize your time here.

If you follow this day trip itinerary closely, you will explore all of Yosemite’s must-see destinations at the best times of the day.

πŸŒ… One Day in Yosemite Overview

Beginning our Yosemite day trip itinerary with watching sunrise at Glacier Point.

The perfect one day in Yosemite itinerary goes as follows:

  1. Sunrise at Tunnel View
  2. Bridalveil Fall
  3. Cathedral Beach
  4. Four Mile Trail Lookout
  5. Swinging Bridge
  6. Yosemite Falls Viewpoint
  7. Sentinel Bridge (Half Dome View)
  8. Vernal Falls
  9. *Yosemite Village
  10. Lower Yosemite Falls
  11. Upper Yosemite Falls
  12. Sunset at Yosemite Valley View or Glacier Point (summer only)

I understand that capturing the best possible photos is often the priority for nature lovers visiting our incredible national parks. This means not only seeing the Yosemite must-see sights, but being there at the best time of day!

While this is more difficult to achieve with just one day in Yosemite to work with, I’ve diligently tried and tested this itinerary to put you at the best locations in the park for sunrise, mid-day, and sunset.

On that note, I highly recommend you begin your day with an iconic Yosemite sunrise at Tunnel View and plan to stay through sunset, if possible.

Starting early and staying late gives you the most time, helps you avoid the crowds, and also allows you to experience the park during the most magical times of the day.

Yosemite Reservations for 2024

Horsetail Falls in Yosemite National Park is illuminated with vibrant orange light during the phenomenon referred to as "Yosemite Firefalls".

In 2024, reservations are required during the following weekends:

  • February 10–11
  • February 17–19
  • February 24–25

This is due to the Yosemite Firefall natural event that occurs during this time. Even if you do not intend to visit Horsetail Falls, reservations will still be required during these dates,

Note that even with a reservation you still need to pay the entrance fee.

At present, these are the only dates that require reservations in 2024. I recommend checking on the Yosemite NPS website for the most up-to-date information.


Seasonal Closures

Be aware that the time of year you are planning a visit will impact your options for exploration.

Both the Glacier Point and Tioga Pass roads will be closed during winter, limiting you to just the Yosemite Valley.

Depending on the weather, closures typically begin in November through late May or early June.

Check the NPS website for current road closures.

🌲 Understanding the Yosemite Valley

El Capitan and Half Dome are two of the iconic sights you will see with our one day itinerary.
El Capitan and Half Dome are two of the iconic sights you will see with our one day itinerary.

Visiting Yosemite is easily one of the best things to do in California. But with only one day in Yosemite available, it is important to spend your time wisely.

This means knowing where to spend the majority of your time and understanding the layout of the park.

While the national park border spans a large area and includes sister destinations like Hetch Hetchy, you will only have time to explore the Yosemite Valley on a day trip.

There are two things you must be aware of when planning your visit:

  1. The majority of the popular features, hikes, and vistas are located in the Yosemite Valley loop, which is also the only section of the park open year-round.
  2. The Yosemite Valley is primarily a one-way loop that resembles a figure-eight! Study the map and approach destinations slowly. If you can’t find parking or accidentally pass your stop, you will not be able to turn back!

It is also worth noting that you will have access to any necessary services in the Yosemite Valley, including food, gas (at a high price!), and even Starbucks!

Since one day in Yosemite is not going to allow much time, I recommend starting early, packing a lunch, and bringing any supplies you may need in order to avoid congestion within Yosemite Village.


πŸš— Getting to Yosemite National Park

Begin your day in Yosemite by taking in sunrise from Tunnel View.

By Car

With one day in Yosemite, for most people, the easiest and most convenient way to get around will be by car.

Whether you have your own car or rent a car, having a vehicle will allow you to explore at your own pace without timetable or group constraints.

By Public Transport

It is possible to reach Yosemite National Park using public transportation.

YARTS provides year-round bus services from Merced, as well as additional seasonal routes. This can be combined with AMTRAK or Greyhound services to reach Yosemite Valley.

Once at Yosemite Valley, you can use the free Yosemite Valley shuttle system to get around.

By Tour

At no cost to you, we receive a small amount for any bookings made using the links below.

If you don’t want to drive or don’t want to have to figure out all the details yourself, then a day trip tour to Yosemite is a great option.

Tours prevent you from arranging your own transport and reservations, allowing you to relax and enjoy your day in the park.

Here are some of the best-rated day tours to Yosemite National Park:

πŸ—Ί Yosemite Day Trip Itinerary Map

Day trip Yosemite itinerary map
You may notice that the entire Yosemite Valley road is just one big circle — just remember that it is also primarily ONE WAY, so be sure to do things in the order presented!

The map above shows my recommended stops in the order that you should visit them and assumes your arrival from either Hwy 140 or Hwy 120 (the two most common entry points to Yosemite NP).

As mentioned, the North and South River Roads are one-way with very limited crossover points. This means you will have to do a long, slow loop to get back to a place once you’ve passed it!

Click here or on the map above to open the driving directions in Google Maps in a new tab.

πŸ“Έ Your Ultimate Yosemite Day Trip Itinerary

Summer sunrise at Tunnel View - a must-see on any Yosemite itinerary

I have designed this itinerary to allow visitors with only one day in Yosemite to see everything there is to see in Yosemite Valley. Summer visitors will also have the option of getting up to Glacier Point as the days are longer and the road is only open seasonally.

I have also endeavored to arrange it in a way that is time and fuel-efficient. What’s more, I’ve got you scheduled to spend sunrise and sunset at the most special locations in the park!

Be sure to follow the order I have presented. As mentioned above, if you pass the parking area you will not be able to turn around.

πŸŒ„ Sunrise at Tunnel View

A young woman with a cofee mug enjoying sunrise from Tunnel View on a day trip to Yosemite.
Begin your day in Yosemite by taking in sunrise from Tunnel View.

In case you were still debating whether or not to begin your day trip to Yosemite so early, hopefully, this picture will settle it. Tunnel View is a Yosemite must-see!

It also may be the most iconic vista in any US national park, and sunrise is a magical time to be there!

If you have time for a second sunrise before leaving the park, you can read about our favorite places to watch sunrise at Yosemite and photography tips here.

Not only is the light spectacular at sunrise, but the crowds are as small as they will be all day, and parking is still easy to find in most of the park. Having said that, the one place it may be full so early is Tunnel View.

Check to see what time sunrise will be as this obviously varies throughout the year. If possible, begin your day in Yosemite watching the valley come to life from this incredible viewpoint.

πŸ’¦ Bridalveil Fall

Bridalveil Fall is the first waterfall you will see on your Yosemite day trip.
Bridalveil Fall is the first waterfall you will see on your Yosemite day trip.

The first waterfall you will see upon entering Yosemite National Park is Bridalveil Fall. In fact, assuming you started your day trip at Tunnel View as recommended, you’ve already seen it!

The trail to the falls is a very short half-mile hike roundtrip. If budgeting your time, you can be parked, soaked by its spray, and back at your car all within 20 minutes. That doesn’t mean you should, but you could!

πŸ– Cathedral Beach

A long exposure photo of the famous El Capitan rock formation blanketed in morning clouds.
Enjoy breakfast with views of El Capitan.

Your next stop will be at the Cathedral Beach picnic area for views of the famous “El Capitan” rock formation.

This is also my favorite place to have breakfast if you have not yet eaten as picnic tables are available.

If the morning is still, consider spending a moment on the beach itself capturing some morning reflections off of the Merced River.

πŸ₯Ύ Four Mile Trail

Rays of sun spill out over Yosemite Valley from a break in the clouds as seen from the Four Mile Trail.
The Yosemite Valley as seen from the Four Mile Trail.

Do not be scared by the name! While the four-mile trail is a rough climb, I do not recommend doing more than a mile or so on a one-day trip to Yosemite.

Within a short distance, you will already be high enough to appreciate panoramic views of the Yosemite Valley. Even in the winter, the Four Mile Trail is easily accessible for the first mile or so.

Admittedly, my favorite light for the scene is in the evening golden hour. It is still spectacular in the morning though, especially after the sun has cleared the ridge line.


πŸ“· Swinging Bridge

Gorgeous morning sunshine highlights Upper Yosemite Falls from Swinging Bridge.
Gorgeous morning sunshine highlights Upper Yosemite Falls from Swinging Bridge.

Your first opportunity of the day to use a restroom will be in the Swinging Bridge parking area. This also tends to fill up quickly, so I may suggest simply walking there from wherever you parked to begin the Four Mile Hike.

In fact, it might be best to park here in the first place, then walk the extra couple hundred yards to the Four Mile trailhead.

From the bridge, you will enjoy your first glorious view of Yosemite Falls. With any luck, you may see double the beauty as the Merced River often projects a perfect reflection.

🐺 Yosemite Falls Viewpoint

A coyote poses in front of Yosemite Falls.
A coyote poses in front of Yosemite Falls.

If you can’t find parking at the Swinging Bridge, you will find a long stretch of parking on the left-hand side just as you pass it.

Snag one of these spaces and enjoy a wide-open view of the Yosemite Valley field, while Yosemite Falls plunges from above.

With any luck, you may get a coyote sighting as they often hunt for mice in this field!

If you need a moment of internet service for any reason, I’ve found that this tends to be the most reliable signal you will find in the park.

🏞 Sentinel Bridge

The iconic Half Dome is captured from Sentinel Bridge.
The iconic Half Dome is captured from Sentinel Bridge.

You have completed the South River Road section of our Yosemite day trip itinerary!

As you near the end of the road, you will cross over the Sentinel Bridge and be greeted with a postcard-worthy view of Half Dome!

Just a few feet from the bridge is a large parking area. Take a moment to capture your next wallpaper with Half Dome mirrored in the Merced River.

*If parking is nightmarish, consider leaving your vehicle parked in the Yosemite Falls Viewpoint area and walking instead.

πŸ’¦ *Vernal Falls

Vernal Falls is an optional hike on our Yosemite day trip itinerary.
Adam poses in front of Vernal Falls.

Depending on your pace, length of daylight, and your desire, you may have time to hike to the beautiful Vernal Falls. While I don’t recommend this for most people with only one day in Yosemite, those with the time should certainly consider it.

The drive will add about a 15-minute detour there and back. You should also allow about an hour for the hike and photos as well.

Park in the Happy Isles lot and take the Mist Trail. The distance is only 1.6 miles roundtrip, but there is a moderate ascent to consider as well.


πŸ›’ Yosemite Village & Valley Visitor Center Pit Stop

I recommend bringing lunch and supplies with you to make sure you see everything. With only one day in Yosemite, you will not want to spend your time in lines for bathrooms, parking, and food.

That said, not everyone is the “packed lunch” type of person. If you need to fuel up, the Yosemite Village has a grocery store, restaurant, and even a Starbucks.

You will also find the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center here if you have any questions, need souvenirs, or want further inspiration from the Ansel Adams gallery.

πŸ¦‹ Lower Yosemite Falls

Sophie Marland poses on a log in front of Lower Yosemite Falls during a one day trip to Yosemite.
Sophie making the most of our one day in Yosemite.

You will inevitably have been staring at Yosemite Falls for much of your drive already. At certain moments, you may have noticed there is actually a lower tier as well.

This lower tier is the easily accessible Lower Yosemite Fall. From the parking area, you will follow signs for the Lower Yosemite Falls hike. This 1-mile loop will take you to the base of the waterfall.

Doing just the Lower Fall loop will only take you about 30 minutes in total.

πŸŒ™ *Upper Yosemite Falls

A moonlit photo of Upper Yosemite Falls.
A moonlit photo of Upper Yosemite Falls.

It is possible to walk to the more impressive second tier via the Upper Yosemite Falls hike, but the trail is steep! Those who persevere will be rewarded with a unique vantage point.

I generally do not recommend trying to squeeze this into your one-day Yosemite itinerary. While the hike is only 2 miles roundtrip, it is steep and will likely take at least 2 hours to complete.

If you are planning your Yosemite trip during the long summer days, you may have time to schedule this in.

Otherwise, I suggest enjoying equally fantastic views of Upper Yosemite Falls from many other places within the park and skipping the hike.


πŸŒ… Sunset at Yosemite Valley View

Bright pinks and purples light up the sky, ending a Yosemite day trip with sunset from Valley View.
Ending our Yosemite Day Trip with a magical place to enjoy sunset.

The day concludes with sunset from our favorite viewpoint in Yosemite National Park!

Enter Yosemite Valley View into your GPS (or click here to find the location in Google Maps) so you know which parking lot you need as it will not be sign-posted.

There will also be one or two small pull-offs prior to the actual parking area with space for 2-3 cars on the left-hand side. If you see one of these open, you probably want to take it. Parking can be a nightmare at Valley View and there is no turning back on the one-way road.

You will not see the actual sunset from anywhere in the Yosemite Valley as the Sierra Mountains surround you. However, the light that is cast onto El Capitan at the end of the day is wonderful. The vista often benefits from a colorful sky as well.

πŸŒ„ Adding Glacier Point Road to Your One Day Itinerary

A summer visitor of Yosemite National Park gazes upon Half Dome from Glacier Point.
Summer visitors will have the time and ability to add a visit to Glacier Point to their itinerary.

Summer visitors will have enough daylight hours and seasonal road openings to include a drive up to Glacier Point to their Yosemite day trip itinerary.

Glacier Point adds substantial time and fuel commitment, but the views are well worth the endeavor!

If you happen to be visiting Yosemite NP in the summer, you can still follow this one day itinerary in the order described above!

The only difference is that you will make only a quick stop at the Yosemite Valley View and instead watch the sunset at Taft Point or Glacier Point.

The drive to Glacier Point Overlook takes about one hour with several vistas and trails along the way. Here are the additional stops and hikes in the order they appear for you to consider adding to your itinerary (based on how much time you have available):

Adam Marland & Sophie Clapton of We Dream of Travel watching sunset at Taft Point in Yosemite National Park.
Taft Point is the best place in Yosemite to see sunset.
  • Mono Meadows Trail: A beautiful meadow, but probably not worth visiting without more time.
  • Taft Point: A short walk and the best view of sunset in all of Yosemite NP.
  • Washburn Point: A parking lot viewpoint worth a quick stop.
  • Glacier Point: A Yosemite must-see when open. Glacier Point is arguably the best view in the entire national park (with Tunnel View as the challenger).

    Only a short walk is required to get to the viewpoint. While the light on Half Dome is beautiful at sunset, you will not be facing the right direction for sunset from here. This location is more renowned for sunrise!
  • Panorama Trail: Perhaps the best hike in the park! The Panorama Trail is too far to walk on a day trip at 8 miles, but you should consider walking a short section if time permits to enjoy the stunning elevated views.

🌳 Yosemite National Park General Information

Before packing up for your Yosemite day trip, it may be useful to understand a few things about the park for logistical purposes. Since time will be precious, it’s worth knowing now!

A sun star appears as the sun rises over the Merced River in Yosemite National Park.
The sun rises over the Merced River from Hwy 120.

Gas In and Around Yosemite

There are a couple of gas stations within the park, but all are extortionately priced. It is in your best financial interest to fill up outside of the park.

The best option for those arriving via Hwy 140 is in Briceburg. Do NOT hold out for El Portal! Gas prices can be up to $1 more per gallon here.

The cheapest option for those arriving via Hwy 120 is at the KWIK-SERVE just before Groveland.

Yosemite Entry Fee

Watching sunrise on a day trip to Yosemite National Park.

Note that there are no day passes to Yosemite. There are too many options to list them all, but the most commonly-purchased tickets are:

7-Day Vehicle Pass: $35/ vehicle
7-Day Individual Pass: $20 (must be traveling by bike/bus/foot)
One Year Yosemite Pass: $70
One Year Interagency Pass: $80

I recommend you get the One Year Interagency Pass. This will get you into EVERY National Park, Monument, and Recreation Area for a full year.

It costs about twice as much as a one-week pass, but lasts a lot longer and gets you into far more places.

They match your signature to your ID so it cannot be loaned to others, but there is space for two signatures if you want to share it with a friend!


You will find plenty of options for food and amenities both in and around the park.

The Yosemite Village is well-stocked, even including a Starbucks for that afternoon coffee. There are also several options for food and a general store.

Outside of the park, each town you pass through will have the basic necessities.

Since you will only have one day to explore the entire Yosemite Valley, I recommend bringing anything you will need if possible in order to maximize your time exploring.

Where to Stay at Yosemite

Looking down at the Yosemite Valley from high above on a moonlit, starry night.
Looking down at the Yosemite Valley from high above on a moonlit, starry night.

If you are planning on staying overnight, the best place to stay within the park is at the Yosemite Valley Lodge. There is also one campsite within the valley.

When those are sold out, which is often, the best and closest place to stay near Yosemite NP is in the town of El Portal.

You are not allowed to freedom camp, including vehicle camping, anywhere within Yosemite National Park!

El Portal is about 20 minutes down Hwy 140 and has multiple hotels, places to car-camp, and services.

If you want to stay within the park, be warned that most options are sold out 5-6 months in advance.

πŸŽ’ Packing List for a Day Trip to Yosemite National Park

Disclosure: At no cost to you, we receive a small amount for any purchases made using the links below.

Travels of Sophie taking a stroll through the meadows.

Depending on the time of year and activities you have planned, your exact packing list will vary. However, there are a few key items that you should consider including for a day trip to Yosemite:

America the Beautiful Annual Pass

The annual national park pass costs $80 and provides access to all 63 national parks in the US. Additionally, it grants admission to over 2000 federal recreation sites!

Discounted passes are offered to some groups, including seniors, military personnel, and 4th graders.


Yosemite is an absolute treasure trove when it comes to photography, so don’t forget your camera!

Hiking shoes

Even on a day trip, you’ll want to explore some of Yosemite’s incredible hikes so you’ll want to ensure you have some comfortable shoes.

Ideally, bring aΒ waterproof pair of hiking shoesΒ as rain is not uncommon, particularly if you’re visiting from October and May.

Sun protection

Yosemite sits at an average elevation of 4,000ft. (1219m) so you can expect the sun to be strong here. Ensure you have good protection from the sun with a sunhat, sunglasses, and sunscreen as a minimum.

We use Stream 2 Sea sunscreen as it’s eco-friendly and most of their bottles are made from sugarcane resin rather than plastic.


The temperatures in Yosemite can fluctuate by 30Β°F (~18Β°c) in a day. Additionally, the temperature varies hugely depending on elevation.

With this in mind, you’ll want to pack layers of clothing. A wind and waterproof jacket is also likely to come in handy.

Reusable Water Bottle

We don’t travel anywhere without a reusable water bottle. Remaining hydrated is even more important in the desert.

Bring your own bottle to prevent wasting single-use plastic bottles! Water is available at trailheads and visitor centers.

Portable Powerpack

It’s likely you’ll be using your phone to navigate, take photos, and more!

Bring aΒ power packΒ with you to keep your phone charged on the go.


You’ll want a backpack that’s comfortable and sturdy to carry around during the day. I use the GoGroove camera backpack as it also provides easy side access to my camera while out and about.

Mini First Aid Kit

When out hiking, we always have a mini first aid kit in our bag just in case. You never know when it may come in handy (particularly as I’m clumsy)!

πŸ€” FAQs About a Yosemite One Day Trip

Sunrise at Yosemite Valley View

Below are concise answers to the most frequently asked questions regarding a day trip to Yosemite.

Is a day trip to Yosemite enough? Can you go to Yosemite for one day?

Yes! With a well-constructed one day Yosemite itinerary, you will be able to see nearly everything the park has to offer (if only at a glance).

How far is Yosemite from San Francisco?

Whether you arrive via Hwy 120 or Hwy 140, it takes just under 4 hours to drive from San Francisco to the iconic Tunnel View in Yosemite National Park.

How do I spend one day in Yosemite?

Begin with sunrise at Tunnel View, then drive the scenic Yosemite Valley loop stopping at waterfalls and short walks along the way. End your day with sunset at Valley View, or drive up to Glacier Point if the road is open.

Can you just drive through Yosemite?

Yosemite has been well-designed for self-guided driving tours! Many of the waterfalls and iconic sights are visible from the road without ever leaving your car.

What is the best month to visit Yosemite?

May is the best month to visit Yosemite National Park. The waterfalls are fully flowing from snowmelt, Glacier Point Road is open for the first time, summer crowds have not yet arrived, and wildflowers will begin to bloom.

Can you enter Yosemite without a reservation?

An entrance reservation will be required to drive into Yosemite for visitors arriving February 10–12, February 17–19, or February 24–26, 2023. This coincides with Yosemite Firefall, an event that attracts many visitors each year (and well worth it!).

However, a reservation will not be required in summer 2023.

Can you enter Yosemite without a pass?

The entry and exit gates remain open 24/7. If you arrive before rangers are present, you can enter the park without showing or purchasing a pass, but not being able to provide one if requested could result in a fine or ticket.

πŸ“œ More Guides to Yosemite & Nearby Destinations

Mammoth Lakes sunrise photography
Be sure to get out to Mammoth Lakes just outside of Yosemite for more incredible nature & hot springs!

The two of us work very hard to create these free travel guides to help you plan your dream vacation. If you think we’ve done a good job and would like to say thanks, please consider clicking the donate button below πŸ™‚

Where to next?! We have written many guides to Yosemite and some of the must-see regions nearby that may be of interest depending on your itinerary…

Other Yosemite Guides

Mammoth Lakes and Nearby Destinations Guides

Northern California Guides

πŸ’¬ Final Thoughts on How to Spend One Day in Yosemite

Adoring the granite cliffs on a winter day.
Adoring the granite cliffs on a day trip to Yosemite.

The two of us work very hard to create these free travel guides to help you plan your dream vacation. If you think we’ve done a good job and would like to say thanks, please consider clicking the donate button below πŸ™‚

If I only had one day to spend in any national park, Yosemite would be the one I would choose to spend it in!

I’ve been to most, and none quite offer so much striking and diverse scenery in such a small area.

We hope you found our Yosemite Day Trip Itinerary helpful in planning your big day at America’s favorite national park.

As always, please let us know if you find anything inaccurate, or if we skipped something you think deserves inclusion!

Enjoyed this guide to Yosemite in One Day? Pin it! πŸ™‚

Photo of author
Written by
Adam Marland is a professional travel blogger and landscape photographer from Oregon. After over a decade of experience as a freelance travel photographer, Adam found national acclaim when he became the National Park Foundation's β€œChief Exploration Officer” in 2021.

28 thoughts on “🏞 Perfect One Day Trip to Yosemite: How to See It All (2024)”

    • I am so happy to hear that it helped you Carrie!! Feel free to email us if you have any questions that weren’t answered πŸ™‚ We also just posted a Yosemite Photography Guide as well that you may enjoy πŸ™‚

  1. This is a fabulous one-day itinerary. I’ve been to Yosemite before but I’m planning to return and bring my husband who’s never been. This is a great guide to get us oriented to the park.

  2. I am planning a trip to Yosemite this spring. After the pandemic didn’t allow us to visit last spring and the wildfires in California made it impossible last fall… Hope the new year gives us chance to realize our first visit!

  3. Yosemite is so high on my bucket list. I am hoping to go sometime this summer. It is great to know that there is so much to see within a day trip. πŸ™‚

  4. I haven’t made it to Yosemite yet so this is a really helpful guide for visiting it in a day! I would ideally like to spend a few days in the area, but it’s good to know what to see during a day trip as well in case I don’t have enough time.

  5. This is such a great guide! I didn’t know that much about Yosemite, and this was so helpful! Saved this for a future trip! I want to see Bridalveil Falls!

    • Its so difficult for us to determine value for you Anthony, as much as we would love to! It is an incredible view and though you are looking at much of the same features as you would be from the valley, it looks and feels very different from up high. That said, it is a very long for only ONE significantly different view. I guess my advice would be to go straight to the Valley Drive, see everything there, and then decide if you have time for Glacier Point or not πŸ™‚

  6. We followed this itinerary from sunrise to Vernal Falls. We hiked up to near the bottom of the falls, so we were pretty beat after that, it was nearly 5 miles and almost 2.5 hours from where we parked. Also, the smoke from the nearby wildfire was in the valley so we called it a day. However, it was an amazing day in the park and I feel like we were able to see a lot in a short period of time. For reference, we made it to Tunnel View around 5:15 AM and were on the way out a little after 1 PM.

    • Hi Monica.

      Thank you for your kind words. Pets are only permitted in developed areas and on paved roads within Yosemite National Park. I recommend checking on the NPS website for detailed information on where they are and are not permitted.

      Many parts of this itinerary would be ok, but you would need to exclude some parts. These include any of the hikes such as Vernal Falls, Yosemite Falls, and Four Mile Trail. You will still be able to see a lot with your pup though πŸ™‚

      Have an amazing time!

  7. Thank you so much for putting this together, I had a client meeting in the Bay Area 9/13 and pushed my flight back the Red-Eye the next night. Yosemite and your article helped me have a tremendous time today(9/14).
    Before I left bright and early, I took screenshots of your suggestions, along with time estimates and thought maybe I could some of the stretch hikes you mentioned.
    -Drove in for Sunrise in the tunnel- amazing! The sun takes a while to get over the ridge after published sunrise time(30-45 minutes).
    -Bridalveil falls is a great warmup hike. The parking lot was closed today but you can get there parking by toilets/water fountains near by.
    -I loved walking around cathedral beach- the SMELL is intoxicating like no other place in the park!
    -4 mile is great – nice ease into the more difficult hikes with some cool views. I saw no one going up, plenty of folks on the way down.
    -Sentinel bridge parking was closed which I didn’t see until I turned which screwed things up a bit – no worries- was making good time so I added in a trek to see the upper falls. This was the most intense hike of the day. 2 hours up and back to the falls is cookin!
    -Enjoyed a leisurely walk over to the lower falls, dunked my head in the cool water, filled up the camelback and headed back to the car.
    -Went down to the end to happy islands to pick up the optional hike along the mist trail – a section of it was closed, so I continued along John Muir until reaching the top of vernal falls. Tough hike, my legs are definitely screamin!!

    Had to hit the road at 4:30, so that was all she wrote. 18 miles in all – an incredible day. Sorry for the length, thanks for giving the space for me too re-live a wonderful experience on the red-eye home.

    Thanks again

    PS Wednesday in September seems like a pretty great time to go if you ask me. No crowds, ze-ro traffic, the waterfalls were pumpin, the weather was perfect(70, bright sun).

    • Wow I absolutely love this Justin! Its so good to know it proved so helpful and that you were able to do everything at an enjoyable pace. Good on you for truly maximizing your time in the park and and thank you for taking the time to leave such a thoughtful and thorough comment. If you see this, let us know if there is anything we need to update; its been about a year since we were there last.


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