Mammoth Lakes to Yosemite National Park > Mammoth Mountain Vacations
Friday, November 24, 2017

Mammoth Lakes News


This past week my fiance and I took a quick two day trip to Yosemite National Park from Mammoth Lakes. We had been hearing of the enormous amounts of water present in Yosemite due to the large snowfall this Winter (5th largest Winter on record), and the sudden temperature changes in the past two weeks.

We quickly realized we had decided on the perfect time to visit Yosemite, although many others had the same idea!

We began our adventure early on Tuesday morning in Mammoth Lakes, via Highway 395 to Tioga Pass, and arrived at the eastern entrance to Yosemite about an hour later. The drive from Lee Vining and Tioga Pass is great, as you make your way up a beautiful canyon - we saw the first of many waterfalls right before we came upon Ellery Lake.

Continuing on Tioga, we soon passed the snow and ice covered Tioga Lake as we began our descent into Tuolomne Meadows, one of the major entry points for hikers and campers into the Yosemite Wilderness. After a left turn on Big Oak Road we hit Highway 140 and made our way into the Yosemite Valley.

The first spectacular piece of scenery was the Merced River, literally swelling out of its natural surroundings, on certain bridges the water was only a foot or so below the surface of the bridge. Next up was Bridalveil Falls, which you pass just a mile outside of Yosemite Village. This towering waterfall was gushing water and a great site to see as you enter the main park.

After a quick breakfast buffet at Curry Village $(13 for all you can eat), we walked over to Yosemite Falls, a series of two waterfalls, Lower Yosemite Falls and Upper Yosemite Falls, the latter being the largest waterfall in North America. Following a little more hiking around, we made our way south on the 140, along the rushing Merced River for a night's sleep at the KOA Yosemite Mariposa campground in Midpines, just outside the park, as there was no more camping locations inside Yosemite Village. (If you haven't made reservations, I'd recommend arriving at 7:30AM in order to get one of the very few available first-come, first serve spots at Campground 4, or put your name on the waiting list by Curry Village.

The KOA campgrounds are great, as they offer hot showers and nice amenities (this one has an outdoor pool), great for relaxing after a day of hiking. After a great steak, asparagus and corn dinner (courtesy of my mini Weber Grill, the all time best), we fell asleep to the sound of frogs from the nearby marsh, and set our alarm for an early attack on the famous Panorama trail, in my opinion the best hike in Yosemite.

The following morning we caught the shuttle from Yosemite Lodge to Glacier Point and began our descent back into Yosemite Village.

The Panorama Trail is a 9.3 mile hike that starts at Glacier Point, with terrific views of the entire valley, and wraps around the valley passing several waterfalls, including Illouette Falls, Nevada Falls and Vernal Falls.

I'd recommend this hike to all first time visitors to Yosemite, and especially as a solid overnight trip on a visit to Mammoth Lakes.

For great summer deals on Mammoth condos check out Mammoth Mountain Vacations.

Photos taken with a Canon EOS 5d Mark II.


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About the Author

Brian is the owner of Mammoth Mountain Vacations, an avid outdoor enthusiast and skier, part time writer & photographer, novice web programmer, and full time new dad.
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