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Monterey -> Yosemite -> Mammoth lakes = Best route to take?

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48 reviews
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Monterey -> Yosemite -> Mammoth lakes = Best route to take?

I need some advice please, we have 3 kids (16, 14, 10), doing a road trip and I'd like your opinion on the most scenic and time realistic route to take. We're driving from Monterey July 19 (AM) arriving in Mammoth lakes July 21 (PM). We're stopping in Wawona first on July 19. I'm planning to take a dip in the swimholes beside the Community center then to take the shuttle to Mariposa Grove. After that, drive to El Portal (staying in the Yosemite Gatekeeper's Lodge - part of Cedar Lodge). On July 20 we're also staying in the same hotel. On July 21 we're staying in The Village Lodge in Mammoth Lakes. I had hoped to rent a raft in Curry Village on July 20 but from what I read if you haven't booked it the day before you won't get one (we actually need 2 'cos there's 5 of us). My problem is with all the crowds I'm not sure what we're going to be able to do, is it really that bad? Should we use the YARTS to go around on July 20th? The Lower Yosemite Fall trail and Mist trail sound very interesting so does the sunset at Glacier Point, what do you think is feasible for us with the time we have and knowing that our hotel is back at El Portal? Tenaya lake sounds beautiful too, this would be good on our way to Mammoth Lakes I guess. Advice from people who've been there in the summer would be much appreciated.

2 replies to this topic
Washington State
Destination Expert
for Yosemite National Park
Level Contributor
72,976 posts
133 reviews
137 helpful votes
1. Re: Monterey -> Yosemite -> Mammoth lakes = Best route to take?


Did you have a chance to read the suggestions on your CA thread? You haven't yet revised your plan with those tips.

YARTS is fee transportation *to* Yosemite Valley. The free Yosemite Valley shuttles take folks around *in* Yosemite Valley.

Thurs, July 19

Drive to Wawona, park near the school & community center, walk down to the river with your pool float toys. Play in the South Fork of the Merced River.

Drive 5 miles back to the South Entrance and park at the Mariposa Grove Welcome Center. Ride a shuttle 2 miles to the Lower Grove. Hike/walk.

Drive about 45 minutes north, stop at Tunnel View. Photo op. Back in the car, maybe stop at Bridalveil Fall. Drive another 30 min to your lodging.

Fri July 20

Drive 1 1/2 hours to Glacier Point, maybe stopping to hike Sentinel Dome on the way. Enjoy views.

Drive down to the Valley, searching everywhere for parking. Use the shuttle to get around.

Drive out to lodging.


Drive 45 minutes to Curry Village / HalfDomeVillage parking in Yosemite Valley. Ride shuttle to Happy Isles. Hike up Mist Trail. Go back to the car to get your pool float toys. Lounge in the river.

In the late afternoon (maybe 5 pm?) , battle the traffic from Curry Village to exit Yosemite Valley and drive up to Glacier Point. Maybe hike Sentinel Dome or Sentinel Dome Shortcut on the way. Eat the picnic dinner you brought with you.

Drive 1 1/2+ hrs down to your lodging.

Sat Jul 21

Up Tioga Road. Stop at Olmsted Point for views. Stop at Tenaya Lake and float in the chilly water. On to Tuolumne Meadows for a hike/walk.

Level Contributor
9 posts
48 reviews
48 helpful votes
2. Re: Monterey -> Yosemite -> Mammoth lakes = Best route to take?

Thank you very much for your advice that's very helpful.

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