Hiking Yosemite National Park – Tioga Road/Big Oak Flat Road

Yosemite National Park, one of the first wilderness parks in the United States, is best known for its waterfalls, but within its nearly 1,200 square miles, you can find deep valleys, grand meadows, ancient giant sequoias, a vast wilderness area, and much more.

National Park Tour: Yosemite National Park
Departure: Tuolumne Meadows, California
Destination: Big Oak Flat Station, California
Time to allow: 2 days

The Tioga Road/Big Oak Flat Road National Scenic Byway is nestled within the borders of Yosemite National Park. Full of scenic, natural and historical treasures, the byway offers numerous opportunities for both learning and recreation.

Travel time along the byway itself is about 90 minutes, however, visitors will want to dedicate an entire day or more to really discover the unique treasures of Yosemite National Park. This tour of Yosemite along the Big Oak Flat and Tioga Roads and Highway 41 (Wawona Road) will take you through the following:

* The nearly 10,000 ft. Tioga Pass from the Inyo National Forest into Yosemite
* The beautiful Tuolumne Meadows
* Views of Tuolumne Peak, Tenaya Lake, and Mt. Hoffmann
* Crane and Big Oak Flat
* The Merced and Tuolumne Sequoia Groves
* Hetch Hetchy Reservoir
* Yosemite Valley (including Bridalveil Falls, Glacier Point, and Half Dome)
* Historic Wawona
* The Tunnel Trees of Mariposa Grove

Day 1
Start: Tuolumne Meadows
Blooming Wildflowers in Tuolumne Meadows
Suggested time at this stop: 30 minutes

Get out here and take advantage of all the the tours and tram rides available. Expect to spend several hours learning and exploring. You might also take advantage of the concessions offered by the Park. There are many sights to see and various activities not mentioned here, but take your time and enjoy this national treasure.

Stop 2: Tenaya Lake
From previous stop: 30 minutes / 15 mi (24.0 km)

Continue along the Byway.
Suggested time at this stop: 30 minutes

Surrounded by forest, grassland, and granite cliffs, Tenaya Lake is the perfect spot to stop along the Byway. If it’s hot out, brave the alpine waters or just relax on the sandy beach.

Stop 3: Tuolumne Grove
From previous stop: 20 minutes / 10 mi (16.0 km)
Suggested time at this stop: 1 hour

The former route of the Big Oak Flat Road leads downhill from Crane Flat into the Tuolumne Grove of Big Trees, a cluster of about 25 sequoias. A self-guided nature trail guides visitors.

Stop 4: El Capitan
El Capitan above Yosemite Valley
From previous stop: 30 minutes / 15 mi (24.0 km)
Suggested time at this stop: 30 minutes

World-famous for rock climbing, BASE jumping, and other frightening activities, El Capitan is the tallest cliff in the valley. Watch the climbers from a distance for a few minutes, or spend a week clinging to the finely textured granite.

End: Yosemite Village
From previous stop: 10 minutes / 5 mi (8.0 km)

Continue along Big Oak Flat Road for a few miles.

Yosemite Village is the heart of the National Park. Here you’ll find lodges, gift shops, and all kinds of amenities.

Totals for Day 1
Total Distance Traveled: 45 miles / 72.0 km
Total Travel Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Stopping Time: 2 hours 30 minutes

Day 2
Stop 1: Yosemite Falls
From previous stop: 30 minutes / 15 mi (24.0 km)
Suggested time at this stop: 30 minutes

At 1,430 feet, Yosemite Falls is the tallest waterfall in North America. Take a short walk to the lower falls or embark on the all-day hike to the upper falls for a rewarding view.

Stop 2: Half Dome
The Half Dome of Yosemite National Park
From previous stop: same location

From Yosemite Village, take the shuttle to the trailhead.
Suggested time at this stop: 20 minutes

One of the most famous sights in the valley, Half Dome’s unique shape soars over 1300 feet from the valley floor. Take a couple of days to climb the 8.5 mile trail and cable climb to Half Dome’s top or just photograph it from the bottom.

Stop 3: Merced Grove
From previous stop: 45 minutes / 2 mi (3.2 km)

Park at the trailhead and hike in to Merced Grove.
Suggested time at this stop: 20 minutes

The Merced Grove is one of three sequoia groves in Yosemite Park. Merced is the only grove in the park that is not accessible by car. A rewarding two-mile hike leads the traveler to the grove of about 20 trees.

End: Big Oak Flat Station
From previous stop: same location

The Big Oak Flat Information Station offers an immense amount of information about Yosemite National Park and is a definite stop for those wanting to learn more about the area.

Totals for Day 2
Total Distance Traveled: 17 miles / 27.2 km
Total Travel Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Stopping Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Jay Bryce is a community manger at iFished.com (http://www.ifished.com/). iFished.com has fishing and local information for over 40,000 lakes and fishing areas in the United States. Information includes current weather and forecasts, best times fishing charts, maps, local businesses, Fishing Store and more. iFished.com also has a large library of fishing videos.
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