USA Honeymoon 2010 – 5. Yosemite National Park

Day 13 – Tioga Pass and Yosemite – Photos

After leaving the motel we had a tasty breakfast and bought some rolls for lunch in the Whoa Nellie Deli at the foot of the Tioga Pass in Lee Vining.

Thanfully the pass was open and we could drive directly to Yosemite National Park. It had been closed a couple of days before due to early season snow, and that would have meant a very long drive round the mountains.


Despite the near freezing temperatures, the drive up was done with the roof down, all the better to admire the mountauin views.


Part way up, we found our first snow of the trip, a real change from the heat of the dessert we had been in just the day before!

There were also some very pretty lakes.


We went over the Tioga Pass and entered Yosemite. I climbed an extra few metres just to make sure I had gone over 10,000 feet.

As we descended, the scenery changed rapidly, and we soon arrived in Tolumne Grove for a walk and to see some Sequoias and a few deer.

Fallen Sequoia

We headed out of the park to our hotel, the Yosemite View Lodge. Our advice is to stay in the park, not here. See our Tripadvisor Review.

We then drove back into the park (which is a long way) and up to Glacier Point, a very twisty road, where we (and plenty of other people) caught the end of sunset.

Half Dome from Glacier Point


Yosemite Valley from Glacier Point


Nevada Fall (centre) - the peak of tomorrow's walk

We returned to our hotel for an annoying pizza dinner and to encounter the racoons (see Tripadvisor review…)

 Day 14 – Yosemite – Photos

Another early start to reach the trailhead for the Vernal Fall / Nevada Fall walk.

The valley was pretty as the drove up on this misty morning.

Early morning valley floor

The walk up past both falls was great, and we came back down the John Muir trail side. It is hard work though, and going all the way on to Half Done would be tough.

Vernal Fall


Nearing tjhe top of Nevada Fall
Nevada Fall (and Liberty Cap behind)

We then went to the main visitors centre and had some big rolls for lunch from the deli, which were very tasty after our long walk.

A quick wander down the valley floor and a paddle in the river was pleasant, followed by dinner in the Yosemite Lodge Cafeteria (in the park), which looks like a more sensible place to stay.

View from valley floor



 Day 15 – Yosemite to home – Photos

Sadly our holiday was coming to an end, and it was time to head to San Francisco for our flight home.

The drive was fairly interesting, through varied scenery, and we arrived at the airport carhire drop-off in good time.

Driving to San Francisco


San Mateo Bridge
All we saw of San Francisco - a layer of smog...

The flight back was as much fun as can be expected from an overnight flight from the West Coast, but all went well, we drove home feeling rather tired, and were in work the next day!

View from flight home

 In Summary

This was a great trip. There were some truly lovely hotels (Desert Pearl Inn, Signature at MGM Grand), some hotels than were clean and were good value, and then some poor hotels…

The variation in scenery was great. Cities, deserts, mountains, lakes, rivers, canyons, forests. These really are must see places.

It would have been good to have spent more time there. We ended up driving 2414 miles from hire car collection to drop-off. We like driving, but many people might find that a bit much, and a few extra days in some of the locations would be good.

If you are thinking of doing a trip like this, you should.


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