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Falling for Yosemite: Yosemite National Park Dining: Where to Eat in Yosemite


By: Barbara Steinberg



With so much to see and do, you may find yourself trying to do too much.  Pick two or three top things; you’re bound to find more to do once you arrive.  Learn the lay-of-the-land and begin to plan return trips.


The Yosemite Valley Floor Tour, it’s highly recommended! The guided two-hour tour is an excellent introduction to Yosemite’s history and nature, and includes some of the most picturesque spots.  Special sunset and moonlight tours are offered seasonally.


Nighttime is the right time for parents and kids.  Story Time for Kids (12 and under) and Wee Wild Ones (iinteractive program for 6 and under) are free and no pre-registration is required.  Look for programs highlighted in color in the “Yosemite Today” as they are geared for children and families.


At the Wawona, the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias is a short four-mile drive…or hike if you’re feeling energetic. A tram tour is also available. A ½-mile away, don’t miss the chance to walk across the 130-foot Wawona covered bridge – the only covered bridge in the National Park System and one of 11 in California. Built in 1878, the bridge crosses the south fork of the Merced River and leads to the 1880s Pioneer History Center.


Stay, play, eat – you decide – the Vintner’s Holiday is the real deal for couples visiting Yosemite early November and December.  Wine enthusiasts can avail themselves of two- and three-night packages at The Ahwahnee or Yosemite Lodge at the Falls.  Packages include lodging for two, admission to four tasting seminars, one “Meet the Vintners” reception and one gala dinner.  A five-night option is also available.  Visitors are welcome, free of charge, at all Vintner’s Holiday seminars and panel discussions, and may also purchase gala dinner tickets.


Guided roundtrip and one-way tours to Glacier Point can be arranged through the Park or Evergreen Lodge.  Vistas from the top, 3,200 feet above the Valley, are some of the most spectacular with views of: Half Dome, and Yosemite, Nevada, and Vernal falls.  The Yosemite Association, a not-for-profit educational organization, also provides a series of seminars tours, and customized trips.



Many guided hikes can be arranged once you arrive in the Park.  Check at the Tour Activity, lodging registration, or Concierge desks.  Always carry plenty of water; wear a hat and sunscreen; stay on marked trails; and remember the “Leave No Trace” philosophy of pack-it in and pack-it out.


Yosemite Falls is dry this time of year. Have heart! Nevada and Vernal falls are not. The Nevada and Vernal falls trail is the Park’s most popular. Not at their most spectacular, they are definitely less crowded in the Fall and magnificent anytime of the year.  Along the well-maintained Mist Trail, the hike to the top of Nevada Fall is 3.4 miles from the trailhead in Yosemite Valley. Anyone with patience and fitness can make it to the top. The Vernal Fall hike – the first 1.4 miles – is great you’re less ambitious, but still interested in a great destination hike. Pay attention to the signs noting the dangers of the waterfalls!


A high country excursion to Lembert Dome in Tuolumne Meadows provides stunning views and an easy hike (one-mile roundtrip) – a low work-out commitment with high returns. Gorgeous in the Fall. For a full-day commitment, the hike to the Glen Aulin High Sierra Camp (5.7 miles one-way) is all that and more!  Isolated stands of aspen along the Tuolumne River have impressive displays of yellow, orange and red.  This area was burned in forest fire many years ago; the surviving aspens are bravura. Both hikes are reached via Hwy. 120/Tioga Road.  If you’re not going on a guided tour, be sure to pick-up trail maps and directions.


Birch Lake, a 1/2-mile walk from Evergreen Lodge, delivers-up an idyllic meadow and lake lined by glowing birch trees.



For comprehensive information on how to Go, Stay, Eat, Play and Hike on your Falling for Yosemite escape call or check online. Check for lodging packages which may include meals or special amenities.


v      Yosemite National Park:  YosemitePark.com and www.NPS.gov/yose;   

       or call 559/252-4848.  Reservations for activities can be made seven days in advance by calling 209/372-1240 or when you arrive at your lodging.

v      Evergreen Lodge: EvergreenLodge.com or 209/379-2606; 800/93-LODGE (USA).

v      Yosemite Association: www.Yosemite.org.

v      CalTRANS Road Information: 800/427-7623.

v      Fall Foliage:

v      Some babysitting services can be arranged at Yosemite Lodge or the Ahwahnee – but you need to arrange as far in advance as possible.