3 Day Yosemite Itinerary: How to Spend Three Perfect Days in Yosemite National Park [2023 Updated]

If you could only visit one place for the rest of your life, where would you go? For me the answer is easy – Yosemite National Park.

Whether you’re a devoted National Park lover, hiker, or looking for the perfect family vacation destination, Yosemite absolutely belongs on your bucket list. You could spend a lifetime (and then some) exploring this Park. But assuming you only have a few days to spend in this park, you’re going to need a perfectly planned 3 day Yosemite Itinerary.

Over the past 33 years I’ve been lucky enough to visit Yosemite at least 20 times. I’ve learned the ins-and-outs of this incredible place. I’ve put together the ultimate 3 day Yosemite itinerary to help you plan the perfect trip, including where to stay, what to do, and how to navigate the new 2022 reservation systems.

Disclosure: This page may contain affiliate links where I earn a small commission from any purchase – at no extra cost to you. This commission helps keep Brooke In Boots up and running. As always, all opinions are 100% honest and my own!

Why Visit Yosemite National Park?

“Yosemite Park is a place of rest… None can escape its charms. Its natural beauty cleans and warms like a fire, and you will be willing to stay forever in one place like a tree.” – John Muir

Yosemite is home to soaring granite domes and monoliths so iconic they’re found on logos (like North Face), in movies (Free Solo) and yes, even the “National Park” emoji 🏞.

The Park is also home to North America’s tallest waterfall, Yosemite Falls, massive Giant Sequoias, and over 1,000 square miles of unparalleled high Sierra backcountry.  Hikers can enjoy over 750 miles of trails, ranging from easy, wheel-chair accessible paths to rugged backcountry routes. Visitors also enjoy horseback and bike riding, scenic drives, and river rafting. Yosemite’s granite cliffs are some of the most famous, and infamous, rock climbing routes in the world.

Quite simply, Yosemite is spectacular, and while its remote mountain location makes planning the perfect 3 day Yosemite itinerary a little tricky, it is absolutely worth the effort.

Yosemite Park Notes

Where: Eastern Central California

Entrance Fee: $35 per vehicle or $20 per person if entering by foot, bike, or horse.

Kid Friendly: Yes. (No seriously, I’ve been going here since I was 6 mo. old!)

Dog Friendly: Moderately. Dogs are permitted on fully paved roads, sidewalks, and bicycle paths, in campgrounds, and on Wawona Meadow Loop trail. Some lodging allows pets, and a seasonal kennel is available for day-use in Yosemite Village.

GLACIER POINT ROAD CLOSURE: Glacier Point Road will be closed for all of 2022 and construction will continue through 2023. See below for more information. 

Yosemite National Park History

The spectacular peaks of the Sierra Nevada Mountains were formed only 10 million years ago, making them the youngest mountain range in the US. (By comparison, the Rockies took shape 70 million years ago, and the Appalachians a staggering 1.2 BILLION years ago). 1 Million years ago, massive glaciers carved their way through the granite mountains, and Yosemite Valley was born.

Water has shaped Yosemite’s history – and continues to awe to this day!

Yosemite is also considered the birthplace of the modern conservation movement. In 1864, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Yosemite Grant, the first federal legislation specifically setting aside public lands for preservation and public enjoyment. Later, naturalist and famed author John Muir convinced President Teddy Roosevelt to establish Yosemite National Park in 1890. 

Long before settler arrived in the Valley, Yosemite was home to the Ahwahneechee people, who’s name means “dwellers” in their indigenous Ahwahnee language. By 1850, the Ahwahneechee population had drastically declined, largely due to disease, starvation, and conflict with non-indigenous settlers from the California Gold Rush.

In 1850, the state of California formed a militia to exterminate and drive out indigenous peoples from contested land. By the mid 1850’s, the Ahwahneechee people, led by Chief Tenaya, were largely driven from the Valley.

A small number of indigenous people continued to live in Yosemite, despite ongoing violence, and oppression. In 1969, the last indigenous people were evicted by the National Park Service, and their village burned as part of a fire-fighting exercise.

The word Yosemite is not Ahwahnee, but a Miwok term for the Ahwahneechee people, “yohhe’meti.” Today, many Yosemite landmarks pay tribute to the original indigenous owners of this land, including Tenaya Lake and the grand Ahwahnee Hotel.

It’s possible to find a little solitude on Yosemite’s more strenuous and longer trails

Glacier Point Road 2023 Construction in Yosemite National Park

Glacier Point Road will be closed for construction for all 2022 and until July 2023. There is no vehicle access to Glacier Point Road, including Glacier Point, Taft Point, Sentinel Dome. Glacier Point Road to Badger Pass Ski area will be open for the 2022-2023 ski season, usually starting in mid-December.

* This 3 day Yosemite Itinerary includes alternate suggestions for the Glacier Point Road 2023 closure.

Update: Due to historic levels of snow in Yosemite, Glacier Point Road will not open until July, 2023. Expect 30 minute delays once the Road reopens. Click here for Tioga and Glacier Point Road plowing updates.

In 2022, the only access to the Glacier Point area, including Glacier Point, Taft Point, and Sentinel Dome is by hiking the strenuous Four Mile, Panorama, or Pohono Trails. There are no hiker shuttles running.

If you have the stamina, I highly recommend hiking the Four Mile Trail to Glacier Point. This strenuous, 9.6 mile hike is an all-day excursion, and an opportunity to see Glacier Point without the crowds. More details on Four Mile trail, including seasonal closures, are included further on in this article.  

Want to learn more about planning an epic National Parks trip? Grab my free Ultimate National Parks Planning Guide, including 70+ pages of National Park packing checklists, planning tips, and everything you need to know to start planning a trip to all 63 National Parks!

When to Visit Yosemite National Park

Deciding when to visit is the single most important part of planning your Yosemite itinerary. Park conditions change dramatically by season here.

Summer (June – September)

Summer is by far the most popular time to visit Yosemite National Park. If you are able to reserve a coveted hotel, campground, or peak-hours reservation to enter the park, expect hot days in the valley and crowds, lots of crowds.

All major roads in the park are open, including iconic Glacier Point, Tuolumne Meadows, and Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. In early summer, waterfalls are flowing, but can completely dry up by late summer. Valley Temps average in the 90s and 80s during the day, down to the 50s at night. The Valley sees virtually no rainfall during summer, and long summer days mean maximum time to explore.

Fall (October – November)

If its your first time visiting Yosemite, I highly recommend visiting during the fall. Visitor numbers drop after Labor Day as schools go back into session. Most high sierra areas like Glacier Point and Tioga Road remain open until the first major snowfall, usually mid-November, but sometimes much later.

As a kid, my family frequently visited Yosemite for Thanksgiving, enjoying the relative quiet of the Park in the shoulder season. The ultra-bougie Ahwahnee Hotel and casually-elegant Wawona Hotel both put on wonderful Thanksgiving Dinners, and the family friendly Yosemite Lodge is a great option year-round.

Winter (December – March)

Winter in Yosemite is a unique experience, but not one that I recommend for a first visit to the Park. Many of the Park’s attractions like Glacier Point Road close for the season, and dining and lodging options are limited. But in exchange, you get to experience an unbelievable winter wonderland, and snow play options aplenty, including Badger Pass Ski Area.

If you plan on driving to Yosemite in Winter (November through March), get familiar with the Park’s chain requirements. I can tell you from experience, take the chain requirements seriously. You will NOT be permitted to enter the Park if you are not in compliance, and you risk serious injury (or worse) if you are unprepared.

Seasonal Road Closures in Yosemite

Check out the historic road and trail opening dates to get an idea of when roads typically close and open for the winter season. While these dates give a good approximation, it is impossible to know when exactly the high Sierra roads in Yosemite will open and close every year. Late spring snow storms are extremely common in this area.

The following is a rough approximation of winter road closures in Yosemite:

Tioga Road: closes by mid-November and reopens by early June.

Glacier Point Road: ** Closed for repairs until July 2023** closes by mid-November and reopens by mid-May.

Mariposa Grove: closes by late November and reopens in May.

Spring brings warmer temps but fewer crowds – May on the Mist Trail

Spring (April – May)

Spring in Yosemite is a special time, and my personal favorite season to visit Yosemite! There are far fewer crowds and most trails and sights in Yosemite Valley are open, some with “winter route” modifications. As the weather warms, Yosemite’s famous waterfalls become roaring cascades. Tioga Road and Glacier Point are usually open by mid-May, depending on late-Spring snow conditions. Temps range from the 50’s to 70’s during the day, while night’s stay cold in the 30s or 40s.

In March, April, and May, be prepared for snow conditions, including road closures, chain requirements, and blizzards. In fact, March and April are routinely the snowiest months of the year!

Planning a trip to Yosemite National Park? The Yosemite Itinerary Guide has your perfect 1, 2, or 3 day Yosemite trip completely planned for you! With over 20 pages of detailed hiking guides, printable daily itineraries, lodging and dining suggestions and more, you can spend less time planning and more time making epic memories! Check it out, here.

Getting to Yosemite National Park

Always check the Yosemite NPS website before traveling to the Park for updated road, traffic, and reservation information.

Planning a Trip to Yosemite National Park? Check out this complete Yosemite transportation guide here.

An important thing to remember is Yosemite is huge – about 748,000 acres, or about the size of the state of Rhode Island!

There are multiple entrances to the Park, some of which close Winter to late-Spring. Yosemite Valley is the heart of the National Park, and most visitors will spend some, or all, or their time there. Unless otherwise noted, all distances and times are to the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center.

The closest airports to Yosemite National Park are Fresno-Yosemite International Airport and Mammoth Yosemite Airport. Many visitors however will opt to travel to larger (and therefore cheaper) airports a little further away.

The closest major airports near Yosemite are San Francisco, Oakland, and Sacramento International Airports.

Regardless of what airport you fly into, you will absolutely want to rent a car for your visit to Yosemite. Driving a car means you’ll have way more flexibility in your Yosemite itinerary, and will save you substantial time.

Most visitors will drive to Yosemite, and having a vehicle while visiting the Park is highly recommended. The closest major cities to Yosemite National Park are Merced, California (2 Hours), Fresno, California (2.5 Hours), and Sacramento, California (3.5 Hours).

The cities of San Francisco and San Jose, California are approximately 4.5 hours drive from Yosemite Valley. Los Angeles is approximately 7 hours from Yosemite. The most scenic entrance into Yosemite is via Highway 120 (Tioga Road) as it winds through the high Sierras of Tuolumne Meadows into Yosemite Valley.

If driving isn’t an option, public transportation is available to the Park from major cities, and shuttle buses run within the Park to most destinations on this itinerary.  Details for public transportation to the Park and shuttle buses within the park are outlined further on.

Tips for Driving to Yosemite

Most visitors drive to Yosemite in their own car or a rental vehicle. Apart from traffic and winter conditions, driving to Yosemite is a relatively straightforward and beautiful experience.

As drivers ascend from the foothills into the high Sierra mountains, expect winding mountain roads and steep drop offs. The roads are well maintained in and near the Park. Make sure to follow all traffic signs and posted speed limits.

Do NOT rely on cell service for driving directions to Yosemite. Cell service is unreliable and nonexistent in most areas of the park. Always print or write out your 3 day Yosemite itinerary or download it to your phone before leaving.

When planning your drive to Yosemite, double check that your directions are taking you to your specific destination within the Park. Yosemite is massive, with multiple entrance stations, and typing in just “Yosemite” to your GPS or map app will NOT get you where you want to go!

When visiting during peak months of late Spring to early Fall,  expect long wait times at entrance stations, and full parking lots at popular destinations. The key to a stress-free (or at least less-stress) Yosemite itinerary is to exercise patience and kindness, especially during peak hours.

Public Transportation to Yosemite

Unlike many National Parks, public transportation IS AVAILABLE to Yosemite Valley. Daily bus service is provided by Yosemite Area Rapid Transit (YARTS) year-round.

YARTS operates 4 routes to Yosemite Valley and gateway communities and hotels, departing from Merced (including the Merced Regional Airport, Geyhound, and Amtrak Station), Fresno (including Fresno-Yosemite Airport and Amtrak/Greyhound Station), Mammoth Lakes / Highway 395, and Senora.

Reservations are strongly recommended for YARTS buses.  However, visitors arriving via YARTS do NOT need an additional peak-hours or day-use reservation to enter the park.

Only the Merced / Highway 140 Route operates year-round, and services are reduced during winter and holidays.   Learn more about the YARTS bus and make reservations, here.   

Getting Around Yosemite

Parking in Yosemite Valley

Getting around Yosemite Valley is easy thanks to the excellent Shuttle system. Once you arrive in Yosemite National Park, park your vehicle at your hotel or campground if you are staying overnight.

Guests of the hotels and campgrounds will be provided with a dashboard pass to park at these locations. Makes sure to display your parking pass at all times! If you do not have a pass, do not park at these locations.

If you are staying outside the Valley, or only have 1 day to spend in Yosemite, park in one of the designated day-use parking lots:

Parking Lots fill to capacity early during late Spring to early Fall, especially on weekends and holidays. Plan to arrive before 9AM for day-use parking lots.

Bear Safety and Your Vehicle in Yosemite National Park: Yosemite is home to hundreds of black bears. While most visitors never see a bear, it is important (and legally required) to take proper precautions, especially when it comes to food storage.

During the Day, store your food out of sight inside your vehicle, with the windows rolled up. At night, DO NOT leave any food or scented items in your vehicle. Bring them into your hotel or use a bear-proof food storage locker. Lockers are available at every campsite, Curry Village, and Housekeeping.

Remember, “food” means any scented items, including lotions, sunscreen, trash, and empty coolers.

Violating these rules can get you a hefty fine, your vehicle impounded, or your car totally destroyed by a curious bear. Bears who routinely break into vehicles or begin associating humans with tasty food have to be euthanized. By safely storing your food, you are protecting yourself AND the lives of these beautiful animals.

Yosemite Valley Shuttle

Once you’ve parked your car and secured your food, it’s time to hop on the Shuttle and start exploring!

Yosemite Valley Shuttle – Current as of 2022

Two shuttle lines run in Yosemite Valley: the East Valley Shuttle; and the Valleywide Shuttle. Shuttles are free to use, run between 7am and 10pm, and arrive every 8 to 22 minutes.

Most major sights and trailheads within Yosemite Valley are serviced directly by a shuttle stop, and the rest are just a short 10 or 15 minute walk away.

*Yosemite Itinerary Tip: Yosemite is testing several changes to traffic patters within the Valley. The goal of these changes is to reduce traffic congestion. During this time, some shuttle stops may have different numbers or slightly different locations than the official route, above. Always check the NPS website and talk with a Ranger or Park employee for updated information.

How to Visit Areas Outside Yosemite Valley: Glacier Point, Mariposa Giant Sequoias, and Tuolumne Meadows

Yosemite is so much more than just the Valley. A 3 day Yosemite itinerary, including this one here, should absolutely include a visit to other equally stunning areas of the park.

Glacier Point, the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias, and Tuolumne Meadows are all accessible by private vehicle and public transportation and make amazing side trips.

Mariposa Grove Road, Glacier Point Road and Tioga Road to Tuolumne Meadows close in Winter through late-spring.

As with the Valley, parking in other areas of Yosemite are crowded and fill quickly, especially on weekends. Plan to arrive and park before 9 am.


Glacier Point

*Glacier Point Road is closed for repairs in 2022, and open with delays in 2023. Driving or buses to Glacier Point, Taft Point, and Sentinal Dome is NOT available in 2022.

Update: Due to historic levels of snow in Yosemite, Glacier Point Road will not open until July, 2023. Expect 30 minute delays once the Road reopens. Click here for Tioga and Glacier Point Road plowing updates.

Glacier Point is quite simply one of the most stunning views in Yosemite, and a must on any Yosemite itinerary (weather permitting). Parking is available 1 hour from Yosemite Valley via Glacier Point Road.

There is no free shuttle between Yosemite Valley and Glacier Point. However, the Glacier Point guided bus tour is a 4 hour guided tour from the Valley Floor, up 3,200 feet to stunning Glacier Point. Purchase a round trip ticket for $57, or a one-way ticket for $28 and hike down to the Valley via the Four Mile Trail (STRENUOUS), or vice-versa.

Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias

Located near the Southern entrance to Yosemite, near Wawona, the Mariposa Grove is home to over 500 Giant Sequoias. The Grove recently underwent a massive restoration project from 2015 to 2018.

Parking is available at the Grove Welcome Plaza, approximately 1 hour’s drive from Yosemite Valley and right next to the Park’s South / Wawona entrance. A free Shuttle will take you from the Welcome Plaza to the Grove.

The shuttle operates seasonally when snow is clear, starting around April to November. Planning a Yosemite winter itinerary? When the shuttle is not running, it is a 4 mile round trip walk to the Grove. Learn more about the Shuttle, including seasonal operations, here.

There is no free shuttle between Yosemite Valley and the Welcome Plaza, meaning most people drive their private vehicles and park there. To access the Welcome Plaza via Public Transportation, take the YARTS Bus to Fresno/Highway 41 (3 departures daily, summer only), which stops at the Welcome Plaza.

Tuolumne Meadows

Get a taste of the Yosemite backcountry in Tuolumne Meadows. Tuolumne is a stunning alpine meadow surrounded by miles of excellent hiking. This area makes an amazing day-trip to add to your Yosemite Itinerary, or spend the night in one of several lodges and campsites in this stunning high-sierra area.

Most visitors take a private vehicle to Tuolumne Meadows. The drive takes approximately 1.5 hours from Yosemite Valley via Tioga Road. Remember, Tioga Road is open seasonally from approximately late May through October/November, depending on winter conditions.

The Tioga Road rehabilitation project is ongoing until winter 2022. During construction, some services are limited, and roadside parking is not available, although several parking lots are still open.

Parking is available at the Tuolumne Meadows Visitor Center, Tuolumne Meadows Wilderness Center, Store, Dog Lake, Lembert Dome (closed for construction in 2022), Soda Spring Road (closed for construction in 2022), and Tuolumne Meadows Lodge (closed for construction in 2022).

There is no free shuttle between Yosemite Valley and Tuolumne Meadows. For shuttle service within the Tuolumne Meadows area, including popular trailheads, use the Tuolumne Meadows shuttle. The shuttle operates seasonally when Tioga Road is open, between 7am and 7pm, every half hour. * The Tuolumne Meadows Shuttle is not operating in 2022 due to construction.

The Tuolumne Meadows Hiker Shuttle is an alternative shuttle to the Tuolumne Meadows area. *The Tuolumne Meadows Hiker Shuttle IS operating in 2022. * The shuttle picks up at the Yosemite Valley Lodge and Curry Village, with scheduled stops at popular trailheads in the Tuolumne Area. You can request the bus driver to drop you off at any trailhead, and flag the bus for pickup, as long as there is space available. Reservations can be made online, here.

Learn more about visiting Tuolumne Meadows, including current road and transportation conditions, here.

Having trouble booking hotel or campground reservations? Check out my Tips for Planning an Epic National Parks Trip – including how to book reservations in popular parks, like Yosemite.

Where to Stay in Yosemite National Park

Unlike many National Parks, Yosemite has dozens of in-Park lodges, hotels, and 13 popular campgrounds, many open all year. But if its your first visit to National Park, I strongly recommend staying inside Yosemite Valley.

For real guys, this part is so important I’m going to say it again – stay in Yosemite Valley for your 3 day Yosemite itinerary.

Why? Yosemite is huge. But most places you’ll be visiting – Half Dome, Yosemite Falls, the Mist Trail, El Capitan, Cooks Meadow – are within a small area called Yosemite Valley. With traffic, it can take hours, literally, to drive from lodging outside the Park to the Valley. And don’t even get me started on parking (check out tips for parking in “Getting Around Yosemite”).

Enjoying a post-hike cocktail at the Ahwahnee Hotel

When you stay in the Valley, you can park your car, hop on the shuttle (full deets in “Getting Around Yosemite” below) and, most importantly, visitors who stay inside the park don’t need a separate peak-hours reservation to enter the park!

Hotels and Lodges Inside Yosemite Valley

Yosemite Lodge: Family-friendly, plenty of food and drink options, swimming pool, recreation rentals, and centrally located to Yosemite Falls, Yosemite Village, and Shuttle Stops. My go-to, and it never lets me down.

Curry Village: “Glamping” style tent-cabins, if you want the camping experience, without having to bring the tent. Curry Village also offers several motel-style cabins that are an incredible value (and reasonably comfortable, I can vouch!). Multiple dining options, bike rentals, winter ski-rink, summer swimming pool, located walking distance to the Happy Isles / Mist Trail / John Muir Trailheads

Housekeeping Camp: Curry Village, with less amenities. More “camping” than “glamping” – but perfect for families and visitors looking for the fully Yosemite experience!

The Ahwahanee Hotel: Widely considered the crown jewel of the National Parks system. Presidents have stayed here. The Queen has stayed here. You will need to sell your firstborn for a room. Not a Rockefeller? 100% come for a dinner reservation at the historic dining room (check the dress code), or grab a post-hike drink at their casual bar (my favorite!).

Want to learn more about planning an epic National Parks trip? Grab my free Ultimate National Parks Planning Guide, including 70+ pages of National Park packing checklists, planning tips, and everything you need to know to start planning a trip to all 63 National Parks!

Campgrounds Inside Yosemite Valley

The following campgrounds are located inside Yosemite Valley: Upper Pines (Open All Year); Lower Pines (April-October); North Pines (April-October); Camp 4 (Open All Year).

All campgrounds are reservation only while the “peak-hours” permit system is in effect in 2022. Book your campground reservations as soon as possible. Yosemite campground reservations often sell out within seconds (yes, you read that right) of going online. Reservations are all managed through Recreation.gov. Campground reservations become available 5 months in advance, on the 15th of each month at 7AM Pacific Time. Camp 4 offers one day in advance reservations by lottery, available on Recreation.Gov.

Planning a camping trip as part of your Yosemite 3 day itinerary? Don’t forget any of the essentials with the Ultimate Tent Camping Setup Guide with printable camping checklist!

Hotels, Lodges, and Campgrounds Outside Yosemite Valley (But Inside Yosemite National Park)

The following lodges, hotels, and rentals are located outside Yosemite Valley (but still inside Yosemite National Park): Wawona Hotel, High Sierra Camps, Redwoods in Yosemite, Yosemite West Rentals, White Wolf Lodge, Tuolumne Meadows Lodge, and Glacier Point Ski Hut.

The following campgrounds are located outside Yosemite Valley (but still inside Yosemite National Park): Tamarack Flat Campground (Seasonal, Tioga Road Corridor); White Wolf Campground (Seasonal, Tioga Road Corridor); Yosemite Creek Campground (Seasonal, Tioga Road Corridor); Wawona Campground (Open All Year); Bridalveil Creek (Seasonal, closed 2022); Hodgdon Meadow (Open All Year, North Yosemite); Crane Flat (closed 2022, North Yosemite); Porcupine Flat (closed 2022); and Tuolumne Meadows (Seasonal, Closed Until 2024 -2025).

Learn more about Campgrounds and Campground reservations in Yosemite National Park, here.

Backcountry camping is also available to wilderness permit holders only. Learn more about these competitive wilderness permits, here.

Planning Your Yosemite National Park Itinerary

Now that you have your transportation and lodging logistics squared away, its time to start planning your 3 day Yosemite National Park itinerary!

How Long to Spend in Yosemite

The most important factor in planning your Yosemite itinerary is deciding how long to spend in Yosemite. The short answer? As long as you possibly can!

Ok, here’s the long answer:

Visit Yosemite enough times and you’ll hear the following story from one of the park staff: One day, a visitor approached long-time ranger Carl Sharsmith for some advice. The visitor asked Ranger Carl, “If you only had one day to see Yosemite, what would you do?” Carl replied, “If I only had one day in Yosemite, I’d go sit by the Merced River and cry.”

While I wouldn’t recommend taking Carl’s advice (in fact, its totally possible to have an epic 1 day in Yosemite), his point is well received: make your Yosemite itinerary as long as possible.

If you can, spend at least 3 full days in Yosemite. A 3 day Yosemite itinerary allows for enough time to experience the best of Yosemite Valley, as well as some of the other areas of the Park, like Tuolumne Meadows, Tioga Road, or Wawona.

Visit Yosemite Falls on your 3 day Yosemite itinerary

Yosemite Itinerary Assumptions

This Yosemite National Park 3 day itinerary assumes that you have 3 FULL days to spend inside the park. The itinerary that you will arrive at the Park entrance on Day 1 by 7am, and stay inside the Park until sunset. If you have less time, consider picking a few activities in the same area – for example spending a few hours inside Yosemite Valley, or on the Glacier Point corridor.

These itineraries also assume that you are visiting in late spring through fall, (May through November) when all major roads and attractions in Yosemite, including Glacier Point, Tioga Road, and Mariposa Grove are likely to be open.

Yosemite is a wild landscape, and closures from wildfire, flooding, winter storms and construction are frequent. Make sure to check current park conditions and adjust your Yosemite Itinerary accordingly.

Itineraries also assume that you driving your own vehicle, and are entering and exiting the Park through the most commonly used entrances – the South Entrance (near Wawona/Fish Camp/ Highway 41), Big Oak Flat / West Entrance (Highway 120), or El Portal / Arch Rock / Central Entrance (towards Mariposa and Highway 140). Tioga Road Entrance is located the furthest from Yosemite Valley and is not open during late-Fall through May or June. If you are entering or exiting via Tioga Road, Add 1-2 Hours to your travel time .

Finally, this itinerary includes multiple hikes ranging from easy to strenuous. Make sure to adequately research all hikes ahead of time to make sure they are appropriate for your skill level.

Don’t forget to check out “More Things to Do in Yosemite” – including options for non-hikers – below to customize your Yosemite Itinerary for your own trip.

Yosemite 3 Day Itinerary

Make the most of your 3 days in Yosemite with this itinerary. This itinerary covers the biggest and best highlights of Yosemite, including some hard-core hikes and casual sightseeing. On day 1, plan to arrive at the Park entrance by 7am – and remember that it takes 30 to 45 minutes to reach Yosemite Valley once you’ve entered the Park.

3 Day Yosemite Itinerary: Day 1

Arrive at Yosemite National Park Entrance: Make sure to get as early a start as possible. Plan to arrive at the Park entrance by 7am – and remember that it takes 30 to 45 minutes to reach Yosemite Valley once you’ve entered the Park.

Wawona Tunnel View – If Entering via South / Wawona Entrance : If you are entering via the South/ Wawona / Highway 41 Entrance, continue on Wawona Road for approximately 45 minutes as you crest over the Wawona pass and descend into the Valley. After driving through the long Wawona Tunnel (carved from solid granite bedrock in the 1930’s) you’ll be awestruck by views of Yosemite Valley in front of you. Park in the large lot and and battle tour buses of tourists for arguably the most iconic photo spot in any National Park!

For visitors entering from all other entrances – don’t worry, you’ll come back for this view later! Continue from the entrance plaza and drive towards Yosemite Valley.

Bridalveil Falls : (CLOSED 2023) Bridalveil Falls cascades 620 feet into Yosemite Valley, and is often the first waterfall visitors encounter when entering the Park. Stop and park and walk the short 1/4 mile trail to the viewing platform. Enjoy the view – but don’t stay too long – you’ve got lots more to see!

The Bridalveil trail and parking area is closed until Fall 2022 for construction of a new boardwalk, parking area, and trailhead facilities. If you are visiting during construction, skip this stop.

Park at Yosemite Village Visitor Parking (Or Hotel/Campground) : Park in the very large day-use parking area, conveniently located near Yosemite Village, Yosemite Falls, the Shuttle, and the Visitor Center. You can also park at the designated parking areas for your hotel, lodge, or campground where you are staying tonight.

Most hotels and campgrounds in Yosemite require a pass displayed in your vehicle, so make sure to check in with Registration and ask for a pass. If you cannot get a pass (check in is usually around 3-4pm, depending on the property), park at the Yosemite Village Day Use Visitor parking for now.

Yosemite Village, Visitor Center, and Breakfast : If you skipped breakfast this morning, head into Yosemite Village, the commercial and social hub of the Park, and grab a breakfast sandwich at Degnan’s Deli. You can also visit the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center, collect your National Park Passport Stamp , quickly hit the gift shop, and talk to the Park Rangers.

Mist Trail Trailhead Sign Yosemite
Mist Trail Trailhead Sign in Happy Isles

Shuttle to Happy Isles / Mist Trail : From Yosemite Village, walk to Shuttle Stops #1 (located on the east side of the day-use Parking Lot) or Shuttle Stop #2 (in front of the Village Store in Yosemite Village). Board the East Valley Shuttle to stop #16, Happy Isles.

If you are grabbing breakfast at Degnan’s or visiting the Visitor Center, you can also board the Valleywide Shuttle at Stops #4 (Degnan’s) or #5 (Visitor Center), which will take you to Happy Isles, but will take a little longer.

Hike the Mist Trail to Vernal or Nevada Falls (5 Hours) : If there is one hike I absolutely insist you must do while visiting Yosemite, it is the “Mist Trail” to Vernal and Nevada Falls. This trail might just be my favorite day-hike of all time! While it is strenuous, the reward is worth the effort.

In fact, I love this trail SO much, I wrote a whole other post about it – check it out here – covering absolutely everything you need to know about this signature bucket-list hike! Depending on your fitness level, and how much time you have, this trail has an option for everyone. Expect breathtaking views and soaring granite cliffs. Climb more than 600 stone steps carved into the side of two spectacular waterfalls: Vernal and Nevada Falls.

Mist Trail to Vernal and Nevada Falls

Difficulty: Moderate to Strenuous

Depending on your fitness level, and how much time you have, there are several routes along the Mist Trail to Vernal Falls and Nevada Falls:

Vernal Footbridge: 1.6 Miles round trip / 1 Hour / Moderate / Elevation gain 400’

Vernal Falls Via Mist Trail: 2.4 Miles round trip / 3 Hours / Hard / Elevation gain 1,000’

Vernal Falls via Mist Trail and Clark Point via John Muir Trail: 4.2 Miles round trip / 4 Hours / Hard / Elevation gain 1550’

Vernal and Nevada Falls Via Mist Trail and Clark Point via John Muir Trail: 6.7 Miles round trip / 5-6 Hours / Strenuous / Elevation gain 1900′

Trail directions on All Trails. Check current conditions on NPS website, here.

Beginner hikers and families with younger kids may want to consider hiking only to Vernal Falls or the Footbridge.

Hiking the Mist Trail to Vernal and Nevada Falls is a serious adventure. Make sure you are prepared with the proper day hiking essentials, including sturdy waterproof hiking shoes, and rain gear. Don’t forget to pack plenty of water and snacks to eat on the trail!

Vernal Falls from the Mist Trail in in Spring
Vernal Falls on the Mist Trail

Return to Yosemite Village Via Shuttle : Your legs are probably shaking thanks to the many, many stone stairs of the Mist Trail! Enjoy sitting on the shuttle ride back to Yosemite Village. Since you’ve probably worked up an appetite, grab quick snack or lunch in Yosemite Village at Degnan’s Deli (sandwiches, pizza, and other to-go options), The Loft at Degnan’s (pizza, BBQ and other casual lunch and dinner), or the Village Grill (summers only).

Yosemite Falls : Once you are refreshed, it’s time for an easy walk to Yosemite Falls. Walk west of the Yosemite Valley Visitor’s Center and follow signs for Yosemite Falls and the Lower Yosemite Falls trailhead. A fully paved and wheelchair-accessible path winds to the base of the falls.

Lower Yosemite Falls Trail

Difficulty: Easy / Wheelchair Accessible

1.2 Miles / Loop / 50 Feet Gain / 1 Hour

At 2,425 feet, Yosemite Falls is the tallest waterfall in North America. While the falls are year-round, they are little more than a trickle during late summer. During the spring snowmelt an astounding 2,400 gallons PER SECOND flow over the top.

Trail directions on All Trails. NPS website information.

Lower Yosemite Falls

Hotel / Campground Check In : – At this point you could probably use a break, and definitely a shower if you’re hiking during summer. Check in to your hotel or campground and change out of your hiking clothes, because your next stop is a little more classy….

Ahwahnee Hotel : If you aren’t staying in the Ahwahnee Hotel, make sure to swing by for drinks, dinner, or at least to people-watch at this stunning historic property. Built in 1927, this National Historic Landmark is considered the epitome of National Park Service Rustic Architecture – better known as “Parkitecture.”

To access the Ahwahnee, take the Valleywide Shuttle to Stop #3, or drive and self-park at the Hotel’s small parking lot. (The East Valley Shuttle does NOT access the Ahwahnee.)

After wandering through the lobby and Great Room, enjoy a drink in the bar and outdoor patio while watching the sunset on the granite cliffs around you. If you budget allows, enjoy dinner at the casually- elegant Ahwahnee Dining Room. Reservations are strongly suggested for dinner, but not required for the Bar. Lunch and Dinner service have been modified due to COVID – check here for current conditions.

3 Day Yosemite Itinerary: Day 2

Breakfast and Cook’s Meadow

Enjoy a filling breakfast at your campsite or lodge (my favorite is the Basecamp Eatery at Yosemite Village Lodge) before heading out. If time allows, take your coffee to-go and enjoy a walk through Cook’s Meadow.

Half Dome from Cook’s Meadow

This 1 mile easy loop is easily accessed from Yosemite Village or the Lower Yosemite Falls shuttle stop. The wheelchair accessible boardwalk and paved path has stunning views of Half Dome and Yosemite Falls.

Drive to Mariposa Grove Welcome Plaza : From Yosemite Valley, drive to the Mariposa Grove Welcome Plaza, located near the Park’s south entrance on Wawona Road / Highway 41. The drive from Yosemite Valley takes approximately 1 Hour.

If you skipped the Tunnel View on the way into the Valley this morning, don’t forget to stop here now and enjoy the view!

As you drive on Wawona Road, take note of the turn-off for Glacier Point Road, approximately 20 minutes past the Tunnel View. You will return here later this afternoon.

Grizzly Giant in Mariposa Grove

Park at the newly renovated Welcome Plaza and grab the free Shuttle to the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. The Shuttle operates seasonally, April through November, depending on conditions. Shuttles arrive every 10 to 15 minutes starting at 8AM and ending between 3:30 and 7PM (check website for specific operating times).

When the shuttle is not operating, the Grove is accessible via a 2 mile (one way) hike on a paved road.

Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias

Yosemite’s Mariposa Grove is home to over 500 Giant Sequoia trees. These impossibly huge trees are the largest trees in the world, and found only on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada mountains of California. The Mariposa Grove is home to several “famous” trees, including the Grizzly Giant, the oldest tree in the grove at over 2,000 years old.

Hike the 2 mile Grizzly Giant Loop Trail for a short introduction to these magnificent, and endangered, giants.

Grizzly Giant Loop Trail

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

2 Miles / 350′ Gain / 1.5 Hours

Trail Directions on All Trails. Check current conditions on NPS website, here.

Glacier Point Road to Taft Point

After returning to your car, retrace your route down Wawona Road towards the Glacier Point Road turn-off you spotted earlier. Follow Glacier Point road as it winds and ascends into the high sierras. Drive carefully and obey all traffic signs – this road is winding with very steep drop offs and few railings.

It takes approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes to drive from the Mariposa Welcome Plaza to your next stop, Taft Point. Parking is available at Taft Point Trailhead Parking.

Taft Point is a large granite promontory with simply stunning views of Yosemite Valley and vertigo-inducing drops to the Valley Floor. “The Fissures” are giant cracks in the granite that drop all the way down to the Valley Floor, nearly 2,000′ feet below.

Hike the short trail to Taft Point – just watch your step! 👀

Taft Point Trail

Difficulty: Easy

2.3 Miles / 360′ Elevation Gain / 1 Hour

Trail Directions on All Trails. NPS Website Information

Take care when hiking in this area, obey all signs, stay inside the railings, and closely watch children near exposed cliffs and fissures.

If time permits, return to the trailhead and take a right for the hike to Sentinel Dome .

Sentinel Dome

Difficulty: Moderate

2.1 Miles / 450′ Elevation Gain / 1.5 Hours

Trail Directions on All Trails. Check current conditions on NPS Website, here.

A short scramble leads to the top of this granite dome, with 360 degree views of Yosemite Valley below, and absolutely breathtaking views of iconic Half Dome in front of you.

Sunset Glacier Point

Yosemite Valley and backcountry from Glacier Point

After you finish at Taft Point, drive the last 10 minutes up Glacier Point road to Glacier Point.

With breathtaking views of Yosemite Valley and the surrounding Sierra high country, it’s no wonder that Glacier Point is one of the most photographed spots in the entire Park. While sunset here is crowded, there’s simply nothing better than watching the light glow off the granite cliffs and peaks.

Restrooms, a parking lot, and a small gift shop are available at Glacier Point. After sunset, return to your hotel or campground and grab some dinner.

Dinner is available at The Loft at Degnan’s, the cafeteria-style Basecamp Eatery at the Yosemite Lodge, the Mountain Room at the Yosemite Lodge, and the Curry Village Pavilion and Pizza Deck at Curry Village.

Alternative Yosemite Itinerary When Glacier Point Road is Closed

Due to construction, Glacier Point road is closed for all of 2022. It is scheduled to reopen with delays in spring 2023. During this time, there is NO vehicle access to to Glacier Point Road, including Glacier Point, Taft Point, or Sentinel Dome.

Update: Due to historic levels of snow in Yosemite, Glacier Point Road will not open until July, 2023. Expect 30 minute delays once the Road reopens. Click here for Tioga and Glacier Point Road plowing updates.

Glacier Point road is also closed seasonally from approximately late-May through October or November every year. If you are visiting while Glacier Point Road is closed – don’t despair!

If you are planning your Yosemite 3 day itinerary during a Glacier Point closure, consider some of these alternative suggestions:

Hike to Glacier Point via the Four Mile Trail

While Glacier Point Road may be closed to vehicle traffic, it is still possible to access this iconic viewpoint during construction – if you’re willing to work for it!

Experienced and fit hikers can substitute the Mist Trail on this Yosemite 1 day itinerary for the Four Mile Trail. This trail climbs over 3,200 vertical feet over 4.8 miles (one way) out of Yosemite Valley up to Glacier Point.

Four Mile Trail

Difficulty: Strenuous

9.6 Miles Round Trip / 3,200′ Elevation Gain / 7 – 9 Hours

Trail directions on All Trails. NPS website information.

Explore More at Mariposa Grove and Wawona

This Yosemite itinerary only includes a short hike in the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. If you have time, consider exploring one of the longer hikes listed in “More Hikes in Yosemite National Park,” below. You can also visit the town of Wawona inside the park, including the historic Wawona Hotel and pioneer village.

Mariposa Grove

Or, check out “More Hikes in Yosemite National Park” and “More Things to Do In Yosemite,” below. I recommend renting bikes at the Yosemite Village Bike Stand or taking a Rock Climbing class.

3 Day Yosemite Itinerary: Day 3

For Day 3, you’ll be exploring the Yosemite high sierra along the Tioga Road corridor. For today, I strongly suggest packing a picnic lunch and enjoying it in Tuolumne Meadows. Don’t forget your hiking boots, hiking essentials, and plenty of water!

Yosemite Itinerary Tip: Tioga Road might take your breath away – literally. Tioga Pass crests at an elevation of 9,943 feet. That’s almost 6 thousand feet higher than Yosemite Valley! If you are unacclimated to hiking at higher altitude, expect even easy hikes to be more difficult. Learn more about how elevation affects your hiking here.

Tioga Road is closed for winter (typically late November through late May) due to high snow levels. If you are planning a 3 day Yosemite itinerary while Tioga Road is closed, check out “Winter Activities in Yosemite National Park” below

Breakfast and El Capitan Meadow : Grab an early breakfast and head to your car – you have a long day of driving and hiking ahead!

Don’t forget to pack some to-go sandwiches or other lunch fixin’s for your picnic in Tuolumne Meadows, later. Grab-and-go food is available at Degnan’s, the Village Store, and Base Camp Eatery.

Northside drive is the one-way road out of the Valley. On your way, stop quickly at El Capitan Meadow. Roadside parking is available just past the turnoff for El Capitan Drive. Take in this impressive view of “El Cap” (and be absolutely gobsmacked when you remember that Alex Honnold free solo climbed this monolith in 2016).

Tioga Road is a Must see on a 3 day Yosemite Itinerary

Tioga Road : Continue on Northside Drive, which turns into El Portal Road. Continue following signs for Highway 120 / Tioga Road. Approximately 20 minutes past El Cap Meadow, the road intersects with the Big Oak Flat entrance road, and one of the 2 gas stations inside the park. I strongly suggest getting gas here, as gas is unavailable for the rest of your drive today.

Stay right to continue onto Tioga Road. Completed in 1919, Tioga Pass is the highest automobile mountain pass in the Sierras, and the highest in California.

Turn off for the Olmstead Point parking area along Tioga Road. An easy climb/walk over the granite plateau leads to stunning views of Half Dome, Cloud’s Rest, and the Sierra backcountry.

Tenaya Lake

Return to your car and drive 5 short minutes to Tenya Lake. Surrounded by the granite spires of the Yosemite backcountry, Tenaya Lake is a stunning must-see spot on your Yosemite itinerary. You can also opt to return to this spot after hiking Cathedral Lakes and enjoy your picnic lunch at the designated picnic area.

Several hikes leave from this area, depending on your time and appetite for hiking today. The easy Tenaya Lake Trail follows the east shore of the lake for approximately 3.4 miles (out and back). The more strenuous Sunrise Lakes Trailhead (6.7 miles/ 4 Hours) is located at the south end of the lake, along Tioga Road.

Tenaya Lake on the 3 day Yosemite Itinereary

If you plan on hiking to Cathedral Lakes (suggested) later, skip these two hikes. Instead, take a moment to enjoy this incredible location. Consider changing into your swimsuit and jumping into the clear – albiet cold – alpine water. Tenaya Lake is a popular spot for swimming and picnicking.

Cathedral Lakes Trail

This difficult but rewarding trail is one of the highlights of visiting Tioga road. It is a moderate hike, taking approximately 5 hours, but if you have time and energy, it is absolutely worth it.

The trail to Cathedral Lakes follows the world famous 211 mile John Muir Trail (🤞finger’s crossed I’ll be attempting this hike in 2022!). If you’ve been following this itinerary, this is actually your 2nd hike on this long-distance trail. The JMT begins at Happy Isles trailhead and follows an alternate route to Vernal and Nevada Falls, that you visited on Day 1.

Due to ongoing construction, park at the Tuolumne Meadows Visitor Center and walk 10 minutes (0.5 miles) to the trailhead, adding 1 mile total to the hike.

Cathedral Lakes Trail

Difficulty: Moderate

8 Miles / 1,600′ Elevation Gain (including spur trail to lower lake) / 5 Hours

Trail directions on All Trails. NPS website information.

Cathedral Lakes and the Yosemite backcountry

Lunch and Visitor Center

After your long hike to Cathedral Lakes, return to your car at the Tuolumne Meadows Visitor Center. The Visitor Center has a small exhibit about the Tuolumne Meadows area and high sierra backcountry, as well as a bookstore and ranger desk.

If you packed a picnic lunch, return to Tenaya Lake Picnic Area and enjoy (and maybe take a well-earned dip into the Lake). Or travel The nearby Tuolumne Meadows Grill (3 minutes drive / 20 minutes walk from Visitor Center) (CLOSED 2022) serves hearty hiker-food, like burgers, hot dogs and chili.

Tuolumne Meadows – one of the last stops on your 3 day Yosemite itinerary

Tuolumne Meadows

Tuolumne Meadows is a massive sub-alpine meadow surrounded by miles and miles of Yosemite backcountry.

For a better view of the meadow and surrounding mountains, take a short but steep hike to nearby Lembert Dome (1.8 miles / moderate / 1.5 Hours). Or consider the easy and family-friendly hike to the naturally-bubbling Soda Springs and Parsons Memorial Lodge, (1.6 Miles round trip / easy) which hosts seasonal ranger-talks and exhibits.

Lembert Dome

Difficulty: Moderate

1.8 Miles to Lembert Dome, round trip (3 Hours) / 4 Miles Roundtrip Lembert Dome and Dog Lake (4 Hours)

Trail description on All Trails. NPS website information.

Tioga Road to Yosemite Valley : After a long day, you’re ready to return to Yosemite Valley. Return the way you came via Tioga Road, following signs for Yosemite Valley. If you have time, consider stopping by Tunnel View (1.5 Hours from Tuolumne Meadows Visitor Center) for a stunning another sunset over the Valley for your last night in Yosemite.

Return to the Valley for dinner and celebratory drinks as you enjoy the end of your 3 perfect days in Yosemite National Park!

Take the stress out of planning your trip to Yosemite National Park! The Yosemite Itinerary Guide has your perfect 1, 2, or 3 day Yosemite trip completely planned for you! With over 20 pages of detailed hiking guides, printable daily itineraries, lodging and dining suggestions and more, you can spend less time planning and more time making epic memories! Check it out, here.

Planning a 4+ Day Yosemite Itinerary?

If you have longer than 3 days to spend in Yosemite, I suggest exploring more hikes in the Valley, Mariposa Grove, Glacier Point, or Tioga Road areas. Do your feet need a break? Check out some of my favorite non-hiking activities in Yosemite National Park, below.

More Things to Do in Yosemite National Park

More Hikes in Yosemite National Park

Half Dome (Valley) : If you read this itinerary and wondered, “Hey, what about Half Dome? It’s only the most famous hike in the park!” – don’t worry – I didn’t forget! Because the Half Dome hike requires a special permit that is extremely competitive to get, I didn’t include it in the itinerary, here. If you are lucky enough to win the Half Dome permit lottery, I suggest replacing the “Day 2” itinerary with this hike.

Strenuous / 15 Miles / 5,000′ Elevation Gain / 10 to 12 Hours

NPS Website Information. Trail Directions on All Trails.

Half Dome Permit Lottery

Hiking to the top of Half Dome via the Cables requires an advanced permit. The Half Dome preseason Lottery issues most permits to visitors looking to experience this bucket list hike.

Preseason Lottery applications must be submitted March 1 to March 31, 2022. Preseason Lottery winners are announced April 11.

The Half Dome Daily lottery is open on a rolling daily basis, and hikers should apply 2 days in advance of their desired hike date.

Learn more about the Half Dome Permit Lottery and apply here.

Mirror Lake (Valley) : (pets allowed on first paved mile) Easy / 2 Miles to Lake, 5 Miles Loops / 300′ Elevation Gain / 1 – 3 Hours. Trail directions on All Trails. NPS website information.

Valley Loop Trail (Valley) : Easy to Moderate / Loop / 1 to 11 miles

Start at the Valley Visitor Center for this flat loop circling Yosemite Valley. Complete the entire loop, or a 7.2 mile half loop by crossing the river at El Capitan Meadow and returning to Yosemite Village. The trail is easily accessible to several shuttle stops if you want to cut your hike short. NPS Website Information.

Upper Yosemite Falls (Valley) : Strenuous / 7.6 Miles / Out and Back / 3,600′ Elevation Gain / 6 Hours (2 Miles Out and Back and 1,000′ Gain to Columbia Rock). Trail directions on AllTrails. NPS Website Information.

Cloud’s Rest (Tuolumne Meadows): Strenuous / 12 Miles / Out and back / 3,000′ Gain / 7-9 Hours Trail directions on All Trails. NPS Website Information. Read a breakdown of the Cloud’s Rest hike from one of my favorite bloggers, SheDreamsofAlpine, here.

Soda Springs and Parsons Memorial Lodge (Tuolumne Meadows) : Easy / 1.6 Miles / 50′ Elevation Gain / 30 Minutes. Trail directions on All Trails. NPS Website information.

Sunset Lakes (Tuolumne Meadows) : Hard / 6.7 Miles / Out and Back / 1615′ Elevation Gain / 4 Hours. Trail directions on All Trails. NPS website information.

Tenaya Lake (Tuolumne Meadows) : Easy / 3.4 Miles / Out and Back / 200′ Elevation Gain / 1.5 Hours. Trail directions on All Trails. NPS Website information.

Wawona Meadow Loop (Wawona and Mariposa) (dog friendly!) : Easy / 3.5 Miles / Loop / 250′ Gain / 1.5 Hours. Trail directions on All Trails. NPS Website information.

Chilnualna Falls (Wawona and Mariposa): Hard / 7.7 Miles / Out and Back / 2,200′ Elevation Gain / 4.5 Hours. Trail directions on All Trails. NPS Website information.

Mariposa Grove Trail to Wawona Point (Wawona and Mariposa) : Moderate / 6.5 Miles / Loop / 1,200′ Elevation Gain / 4 Hours. Trail directions on All Trails. NPS Website information.

Non-Hiking Activities in Yosemite National Park

Looking for more things to do in Yosemite that don’t involve lacing up your hiking boots? Check out these activities:

Adrenaline junkies can get a taste of the best rock climbing in the world with the Yosemite Mountaineering school, offering rock climbing classes for beginners to advanced big wall techniques.

See the park from a four-legged vantage point with a horseback or mule ride. 2 Hour and All Day rides are available from the Wawona stables.

Yosemite Valley has 12 miles of designated bike paths. Bring your own bike or rent one from multiple locations within the Valley.

Rent a river raft or innertube and float down the Merced River. A shuttle can be arranged to pick you up and return you back to Curry Village. Rental season depends on snowmelt and weather conditions.

Looking for more ideas? Check out information on Ranger Programs, art classes, photography classes, guided tours, golfing, and way more, here.

Winter Activities in Yosemite National Park

Whether you’re a seasoned skier or its your first time on the slopes, the Badger Pass Ski Area at the beginning of Glacier Point Road has something for you! Badger Point has miles of downhill skiing, ski lessons, snow tubing, snowshoe rentals, guided snowshoe and cross country ski tours.

Can you imagine ice skating in one of the most beautiful spots on earth? The Curry Village Ice Skating Rink is open seasonally December through February.


Many of the Park’s trails remain open throughout winter in Yosemite. If you plan on hiking in winter, make sure you are prepared with appropriate clothing and safety gear. Learn more about winter hiking basics, here.

The Four Mile Trail, Mist Trail, Half Dome Cables, and portions of the John Muir Trail to Vernal Falls often close during winter due to unsafe conditions, as well as all trails along the Tioga Road / Tuolumne Meadows corridor. Learn more about seasonal trail closures, including historic closing and opening dates, here.

Plan More Epic National Park Trips

Big Bend: Epic Big Bend Itinerary Guide

Cuyahoga Valley: 17 Best Things to Do in Cuyahoga Valley National Park

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Joshua Tree: The Perfect Day Trip to Joshua Tree National Park

New River Gorge: The Best Hikes in New River Gorge National Park

Yosemite: Epic Yosemite 2 Day Itinerary – How to Spend 2 Perfect Days in Yosemite

Zion: Epic Zion National Park Itinerary Guide

National Parks: Get the Ultimate National Parks Planning Guide (for free!) sent to your inbox, full of important planning information, printable packing lists, and the best things to do in all 63 National Parks.