Highway 120 through Tuolumne County is the most direct route into Yosemite National Park from the San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento and all of Northern California.
While in Yosemite, walk in the majesty of towering giant sequoias in the Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias or in the incomparable and open scenery of Tuolumne Meadows, a spectacular subalpine meadow surrounded by granite domes and cliffs. Or, hike around Hetch Hetchy Reservoir to uncommon waterfalls that are comparable in beauty to their Yosemite Valley rivals.
Other highlights of the park include Yosemite Valley with its iconic cliffs like Half Dome and El Capitan and towering waterfalls, Wawona’s Pioneer Yosemite History Center and Glacier Point with spectacular view of Yosemite Valley and the high country in the spring through fall.
The total Yosemite experience doesn't begin or end at the park boundary. More outdoor adventure extends onto the adjacent Stanislaus National Forest and in the High Sierra, and unique discoveries are made when you're transplanted back in time in California's Gold Country.
1. Purchase your Park Pass online ahead of time to save time at the gate.
2. 95% of visitors see 5% of Yosemite; explore the less visited and uncrowded areas outside the Valley Floor – like Hetch Hetchy and the Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias.
3. Go early in the morning (avoid park entrance traffic between 10am and 12pm). Or, spend some time in the other areas of Tuolumne County, like in Gold Country and in the High Sierra, until later in the day.
4. Visit the park October through April when it is much less crowded, and you’ll get the best of fall colors and beautiful winter scenes.
5. In the busy summer months, take alternate transportation like Y.A.R.T.S. or local transportation providers such as Mother Lode Adventures Charter Services.