Yosemite National Park
Many of our guests come here to visit the incredible 1700 square miles of Yosemite. You could spend a lifetime exploring this park but most folks only have a day or two of their trip to see all that the park has to offer.
Our first recommendation is to contact our local visitor center, Visit Yosemite, Madera County. You can find a copy of their excellent guidebook in your cabin (free for you to take with you), you can call them at 559.683.4636, find them online at yosemitethisyear.com or stop by their location at 40343 Highway 41 in Oakhurst (on your way to Yosemite). They are extremely knowledgeable about all things Yosemite & Madera County and can provide advice on activities that suit your interests, time available and budget.
Our advice in the summer months is to leave very early (ideally between 5:30am and 6am), drive into Oakhurst on Highway 49, turn left at the “T” intersection onto Highway 41 and keep driving until you get to the southern gate to the park (20 miles from our location). Admission is $35 per car for a 7 day pass. Just after you pass through the gate, stop at Mariposa Grove to see some enormous trees and stretch your legs a bit. Mariposa Grove is closed in the snowy winter months and typically opens some time in May, depending on the weather.
Then continue on to Yosemite Valley, stopping for a photo at the world famous “Tunnel View.” Make your way around the Yosemite Valley loop (or park and take the free Yosemite Valley Shuttle), stopping to take in waterfalls and hikes, and then exit the park on Highway 140 towards Mariposa. Stop in Mariposa on your way back - it’s a really lovely little “old west” town with some great restaurants - and then take Highway 49 to get back to our location. You’ll find that the Highway 140 route takes about 5-10 minutes longer than Highway 41 so going out the alternate route provides a little variety in your trip at roughly the same travel time.
If you have a little more time to spend in the park, turn onto the Glacier Point Road a few miles after Mariposa Grove. There are some stunning hikes all along this road and it ends at the iconic Glacier Point Lookout where you can see Half Dome, El Capitan and the rest of Yosemite Valley from a 7,214 foot vantage point. It’s really a stunning way to see the park if you have the time and the hikes on the way out there are all fantastic. This area is typically not quite as crowded as Yosemite Valley and, like Mariposa Grove, is closed in the winter months. Glacier Point Road typically opens in May or June.
Guided tours of the park are available if you’re interested - you can find information about them on pages 18 & 19 in the visitor guide. If you want to really get the big picture you might consider taking an airplane ride from Airborne Aviation Services in Mariposa!
This large, beautiful body of water can be found just past Oakhurst on Highway 41 on your way towards Yosemite. Turn off at Road 222 and before long you’ll see this lovely lake.
Your visitor guide lists a variety of activities you can experience here including boating, fishing, swimming, hiking, wakeboarding and other water sports. There are also a variety of good restaurants around the lake to enjoy (see the restaurant guide in our cabin binder starting on page 10).