One Hundred Hikes in Yosemite
Introduction: This chapter, like Trails of Yosemite's West-Central Lands, between the Tuolumne River and Highway 120, is one of contrasts, ranging from 3250 feet at the bottom of the Alder Creek trail, outside the Park, up to 11,180 feet at Red Peak Pass. All of the Park's plant communities are found within this altitudinal range. Along Hikes 82, 83, and 92, few hikers will be met, but at Ostrander and Royal Arch lakes, Hikes 84 and 86/91 respectively, camping space may be at a premium. This chapter is unique in that it has a network of trails through a grove of giant sequoias (Hike 93); no such trail system exists at the Park's two other groves (Hikes 18 and 19). Although thousands of persons visit this chapter's Mariposa Grove each week during summer, the vast majority ride trams. The few who explore the grove on foot are richly rewarded.
Supplies and Services: Wawona is the "urban" center for this area, having a large, historic hotel, a store, a gas station, and other amenities. In addition to a golf course, the hotel has a pool, but the natural pools on the South Fork Merced River are more enjoyable and get more use. Some of these are located just up from the river's covered bridge, as well as in spots upriver, while some are located beside and downriver from stretched-out Wawona Campground.
Just north of the river the Chilnualna Road branches east from the Wawona Road-the main road-and it takes you past the History Center and its stables (with rides available) to North Wawona, a private in-Park settlement with additional food and lodging.
North of the Wawona area you'll reach the start of the Glacier Point Road at a signed junction. At this road's end at Glacier Point you can buy snacks, film, and various tourist-oriented items.
Food, lodging, gas, and most supplies are also available in Fish Camp, a small Highway 41 settlement just 2 miles south of the Park's south entrance station. Oakhurst, a sprawling town about 13 1/2 miles south of this settlement, has virtually everything.
Wilderness Permits: If you want to reserve a permit, see the "Wilderness permits" section. However, only Ostrander Lake (Hike 85) is likely to reach its quota of backpackers, and then only on summer weekends. Therefore, most backpackers will probably get their permits in person at the Wawona District Office. This is at the end of a short road that branches right from the Chilnualna Road immediately past the Pioneer Yosemite History Center.
Campgrounds: For Hikes 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, and 89, stay at Bridalveil Creek Campground, whose entrance is found along the Glacier Point Road. For Hikes 82 and 90, 91, 92, and 93, stay at Wawona Campground, about one mile north of the Wawona Hotel. Both are often full. An alternate to Wawona Campground is the small Summerdale Campground, about 1/2 mile north of the settlement of Fish Camp.
Click here to go to the complete trail listing for south and east of the Glacier Point Road (Hikes 82-93)
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication