Yosemite National Park Off The Beaten Path Tips by chewy3326 Top 5 Page for this destination
Yosemite National Park Off The Beaten Path: 102 reviews and 158 photos
June Lakes Loop, south of Lee Vining off US 395, is a 16-mile road leading pass four lakes under Carson Peak. The scenery along this road is okay, but not quite as spectacular as Tioga Rd. Also, there is a large amount of development near the June Lakes Village. The two most beautiful lakes on this drive are June Lake and Silver Lake; the other two are Grant and Gull Lakes. A good number of waterfalls can be seen from this drive.
To reach the starting point, take Hwy 120 down from Tioga Pass, then US 395 south, and you'll reach the beginning of the drive.
Mariposa is a town in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada that usually thrives off its position on Hwy 140, one of the principal routes into Yosemite Valley. In 2006, a large rock slide covered the road between the town and the park; pretty soon, it became empty. We passed by Mariposa on our way to Oakhurst and the South Entrance of the park. It is a typical Gold Country town, with souvenir shops and a very western-looking main street (Hwy 140).
Near Sonora Pass
Although not half as spectacular as Hwy 120 over Tioga Pass (Tioga Road), Hwy 108 over Sonora Pass allows you to see some classic Sierra scenery of snowcapped peaks, meadows and rivers. From its junction with US 395, Hwy 108 follows the Walker River through its winding river, then begins to climb steeply up towards Sonora Pass. The road is curving and has steep grades (26%); this is not the place to take your RV or trailer. From there, it meanders through meadows and forests to reach 9628 foot Sonora Pass, California's second highest automobile pass. It descends from Sonora Pass, with some good scenery; then it fades out into an aspen forest and heads downhill into the foothills. Along the way, you should stop to see the Columns of the Giants and also the Dardanelles. Count at least 2 hours on the drive between Bridgeport and Sonora.
Hetch Hetchy Reservoir
Hetch Hetchy is about a 1.5-hour drive from Yosemite Valley, via Big Oak Flat Road, Evergreen ROad, and then the Hetch Hetchy Road to the valley. Hetch Hetchy means 'grass'; it once referred to a valley filled with forests and meadows and surrounded by grand rocks and thundering waterfalls that rivaled Yosemite Valley. However, the city of San Francisco decided Hetch Hetchy would be a convenient location for a dam that would supply water and power to the city, and in 1913, the Raker Act passed Congress allowing this once-beautiful valley to be flooded and turned into today's Hetch Hetchy Reservoir. John Muir loved Hetch Hetchy Valley very much, and fought against the construction of the dam in what was probably the first major environmental dispute in American history; after the bill was passed, Muir's spirit faltered and he died a year later. The O'Shaughnessy Dam was completed in 1921, and has made the reservoir you see today. However, the fight's still on to restore Hetch Hetchy to its original condition, led by organizations like Restore Hetch Hetchy and the Sierra Club.
Mono Lake sunset
Just a few miles east of the Tioga Pass Entrance is Mono Lake, an ice age relic now 700,000 years old. Tufa is scattered around this alkaline Great Basin lake. For a good part of the 20th century, Mono Lake was home to one of the greatest environmental conflicts in American history; the struggle of the Mono Lake Committee (led by the late David Gaines) against the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. In the 1940s, the LAWDP began diverting water from creeks flowing into Mono Lake. This eventually lowered the level of the lake, threatening the wildlife and the beauty of the region. The Mono Lake Committee led a court battle against LADWP, and in the 1980's, courts ordered the water level of Mono Lake to be raised. Today, Mono Lake is rebounding, and also hauntingly beautiful. Since you've made it to Yosemite, there's no reason you shouldn't visit Mono Lake.
More Reviews (105)
chewy3326's Related Pages
Yosemite National Park Travel Guide
Member Travel Pages
- "The Incomparable Valley (and Park)"
- "Yosemite in a day"
- "On Becoming Part of the Food Chain: Yosemite"
- "Yosemite National Park"
- "The Glacial Beauty of Yosemite National Park"
- "Yosemite is Perhaps the Prettiest Park in the USA"
- "As Good As It Gets"
- See All...
- Things to Do in Yosemite National Park
- Hotels in Yosemite National Park
- Transportation in Yosemite National Park
- Nightlife in Yosemite National Park
- Restaurants in Yosemite National Park
- Shopping in Yosemite National Park
- Warnings and Dangers in Yosemite National Park
- See All...
Explore the World
- Swan Hill Hotels
- Seaville Hotels
- Wheathampstead Hotels
- Caxias Hotels
- Mal País
- Redondo Beach Off The Beaten Path
- Kota Kinabalu Off The Beaten Path
- Arad Off The Beaten Path
- La Colonia Tovar
- Stockton Off The Beaten Path
- San Simeon Off The Beaten Path
- Makassar Off The Beaten Path
- Rouen Off The Beaten Path
- Udaipur Off The Beaten Path
- Cradle Mountain-Lake Saint Clair National Park Off The Beaten Path
- Arlington Off The Beaten Path
- Bridgend Off The Beaten Path
Badges & Stats in Yosemite National Park
- 110 Reviews
- 214 Photos
- 7 Forum posts
- 8 Comments
- See All Stats
- See All Badges (26)
Have you been to Yosemite National Park?Share Your Travels
Latest Activity in Yosemite National Park
- Posted in Travel Yosemite National Park Forum "RE: Yosemite to Las Vegas"
- updated a Yosemite National Park Travelogue "Cholok: Beauty beyond words"
- Uploaded a Photo to "The High Sierra: Range of Light"
- Wrote a Review Pack everything about Warm Clothes / Hiking Shoes in Yosemite National Park What to Pack
- Commented on one of atufft's Yosemite National Park travel pages
Photos in Yosemite National ParkSee All Photos (214)
Top 10 Pages
- Top 5 Page for this destination Yosemite National Park Intro, 110 reviews, 214 photos, 3 travelogues
- Top 5 Page for this destination Shenandoah National Park Intro, 55 reviews, 118 photos, 1 travelogue
- Washington D.C. Intro, 46 reviews, 105 photos, 1 travelogue
- Top 5 Page for this destination Taipei Intro, 40 reviews, 74 photos
- Top 5 Page for this destination Mammoth Lakes Intro, 37 reviews, 76 photos
- Top 5 Page for this destination Sequoia National Park Intro, 34 reviews, 50 photos, 2 travelogues
- Nan-t'ou Intro, 31 reviews, 52 photos
- Top 5 Page for this destination Taiwan Intro, 37 reviews, 41 photos
- Top 5 Page for this destination T'ai-chung Intro, 24 reviews, 40 photos
- California Intro, 30 reviews, 33 photos
Travel InterestsSee All Travel Interests (4)
Latest Yosemite National Park hotel reviews
- Housekeeping Camp
- 144 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Jun 16, 2013
- The Ahwahnee
- 786 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Jun 17, 2013
- The Redwoods In Yosemite
- 109 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Jun 13, 2013
- Yosemite West Condominiums
- 126 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Jan 3, 2013
- E. C. Yosemite Motel
- 49 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Jun 5, 2013
- Upper Pines Campground
- 34 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: May 20, 2013
- Yosemite Bug Rustic Mountain Resort
- 211 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Jun 6, 2013
- Hodgdon Meadow Campground
- 25 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Jun 6, 2013
- Tuolumne Meadows Campground
- 49 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Apr 22, 2013
- Yosemite Foresta Hilltop Cabins
- 16 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Apr 12, 2013
- North Pines Campground
- 15 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Jun 12, 2013
- White Wolf Campground
- 4 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Aug 4, 2012
- Lower Pines Campground
- 7 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: May 19, 2013
- Yosemite High Sierra Camps
- 11 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Jan 12, 2013
- White Wolf Lodge
- 27 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Jan 12, 2013
- Glacier Point- 45 Reviews, 88 Photos
- Mariposa Grove- 49 Reviews, 93 Photos
- Yosemite Falls- 55 Reviews, 120 Photos
- Tioga Road- 27 Reviews, 38 Photos
- El Capitan- 42 Reviews, 68 Photos
- Bridal Veil Falls- 36 Reviews, 74 Photos
- Half Dome- 45 Reviews, 73 Photos
- Yosemite Valley- 54 Reviews, 105 Photos
- Vernal Falls- 35 Reviews, 59 Photos
- Mist Trail- 15 Reviews, 31 Photos