- By Dannie
- On Sep 11, 2018
- North America
- Travel Tips
The optimal time to explore the park would be several days to a week, when you can work into the schedule several days of long hikes, as well as plenty of time for lounging by the languid Merced River or cozying up to the crackling fireplace with a good book. However, two days in Yosemite will be enough time for one great hike (the best way to see Yosemite) and a few other glimpses into what this 1,2000 square-mile UNESCO World Heritage site and natural wonder reveals to visitors. Here’s our suggestion for a quick two-day tour that will hopefully help you plan your amazing Yosemite trip.
In summer time, you may be coming via Tioga Pass or Highway 120, through the High Country region of the park. If so, you must stop at the aquamarine blue waters of Tenaya Lake, the so-called “jewel of the high country.” If you are having a hard time deciding which of these amazing routes you want to take then we recommend entering the through one of the four entrances and exiting through another as you continue your trip to make the most of your short time. See the map to plot your route.
If you have arrived early in the day you may want to get a quick overview of the Valley Floor, which is the most famous 7 square miles in the park well-known for its incredible views of Half Dome, El Capitan and Yosemite Falls (seasonal). This area is relatively flat which makes it ideal to walk all year round or you can rent cruiser bikes in spring and summer.
If you aren’t up to a hike or bike ride, you can also jump on the Valley Floor Tour. The tour departs several times daily and provides a good overview of the main sights of the Valley Floor including Tunnel View and Bridalveil Fall. This is the shortest way to take in the major Valley sights, taking about two hours. A walk will take longer, especially as you will most likely want to linger a awhile at each location.
There are also free shuttle buses that traverse the Valley Floor that you can hop on and hop off at your leisure. While the tour is convenient we do recommend taking in a short hike at some point, perhaps an easy walk or bike ride to Mirror Lake would be a great finish to your first day in Yosemite!