Are you planning to spend 2 days in Yosemite National Park This post will provide all the information you need to plan the perfect Yosemite itinerary (what to do and where to stay) for two days?
Yosemite National Park, covering 750,000 acres (just under 3,000 kilometers) of wilderness, is undoubtedly one of the most treasured natural areas in the world. Every year, millions of tourists visit Yosemite to see the stunning granite cliffs, waterfalls, and giant sequoia trees, as well as the meadows, mountains, and other natural wonders.
However, the question is: What’s the best way for Yosemite to be seen in just 2 days? Today, we’ll answer that question with our Yosemite National Park itinerary. You should note that I am talking about a Yosemite 2-day itinerary. This means you will spend 2 days in the park.
Yosemite National Park can be reached in about 4 hours from San Francisco. It’s an ideal weekend getaway if you are based there, or visiting San Francisco.
For those who are coming from San Francisco, you can also join a 2-day Yosemite Tour from the City. This is a hassle-free experience. The 2-day tour includes transportation and accommodation, as well hiking and introductory tours to some of the most famous points in the park.
Let me remind you, before we begin, that we live in extraordinary times and safety must be our top priority when traveling. You must travel responsibly and in compliance with the laws of your destination.
Always wear a mask on your face, wash your hands frequently and always bring hand sanitizer. For the most current information on closings and policies, check the official website before you leave. A hotel with no cancellation fees is a great option to ensure you sleep well at night knowing you can cancel your plans in the event of an emergency.
Now, let’s get started!
Where to Stay in Yosemite
Yosemite Valley is the best place in Yosemite. It is located within the Yosemite National Park. Yosemite Valley offers a variety of accommodation options, from affordable to luxurious, to accommodate all budgets. However, it is difficult to find a room in summer, which is Yosemite’s peak season. It is best to book well in advance and look for somewhere else to stay if you are not going to be staying within the park. There are many good options.
Oakhurst, the largest town in the vicinity of the park is only 16 miles away from Yosemite’s South Entrance. You’ll find here a mixture of budget hotels and bed & Breakfasts. This is the best place to stay in Yosemite. Fish Camp is another option, with only a few bed and breakfasts or inns located just a few miles from the park entrance.
You can also book accommodation in Mariposa if you are willing to travel further from Yosemite for your weekend. It is located 40 miles from the park. You’ll find both mid-range and chain hotels here.
8:15 AM: Explore the Yosemite Valley to start your Yosemite Weekend.
You can find El Capitan Meadow at the west end of Yosemite Valley. You can see El Capitan, which is a popular spot for rock climbers. It is called “Tutokanula” by the Ahwahneechee. But it’s not the only amazing sight. Lower and Middle Cathedral Rock, which is located just to the right and tower over the meadow, will also be awe-inspiring. It is a stunning start to your day.
You can also visit other attractions in Yosemite Valley. Sentinel Bridge offers great views of Half Dome reflected by the Merced River. This bridge is also close enough to Yosemite Falls.
An introductory tour of Yosemite Valley is also available. This small-group tour will allow you to get to know Yosemite Valley. A guide will take you through the park’s history and geology.
2.30 PM: After spending a while enjoying your surroundings, drive to Glacier Point. It takes about 19 minutes. Tunnel View is the most iconic scenic viewpoint in the country. You can find it on State Route 41. You can take in the stunning scenery of Yosemite with all its spectacular features from there. It’s been the inspiration for poets, artists, and simply admirers for centuries.
4:45 PM: After you have reached Glacier Point, put on your hiking shoes and begin the hour-long hike to Taft Point. You don’t need to rush. However, you should try to reach Taft Point before sunset. We are certain you won’t see another sunset like it.
If you’re looking for something more active, you can hike the Four Mile Trail instead of driving to Glacier Point. The hike will take you about three hours, but it is worth it if your a fan of hiking. You’ll have stunning views of El Capitan and Yosemite Falls. If you decide to do this, it is best to leave in the morning and not in the afternoon.
Taft Point’s perfect sunset is the perfect way to end the day. But if you don’t have enough time for the above itinerary, here are some other ideas:
Sentinel Dome is another place you can reach from Taft Point, which takes about 40 minutes to reach. You can enjoy stunning views of the surrounding area from there. The Jeffrey Pine, once atop this dome, can be seen from the top. You can adjust the time of your plan to include this hike.
This tour to Yosemite Valley and Giant Sequoias, which follows the same itinerary as day one, will make you more comfortable with joining a tour. This tour will take you to El Capital and Half Dome, the most popular viewpoints in Yosemite Valley. Then, it will take you to Glacier Point, which offers breathtaking views. You’ll then be taken to Tuolumne Grove Of Giant Sequoias, where you’ll spend two hours hiking the 2.5-mile round trip.
Day 2 | Yosemite Itinerary
Depending on your other vacation plans, we will offer you two options for your second day. You can choose from both, they are all great choices. If you’re spending more than 3 days in Yosemite, why not combine the two?
8 AM: Mariposa Grove
Mariposa Grove can be found about 35 miles south of Glacier Point. It takes about an hour to drive there. The stunning giant sequoia grove can be found in Wawona, at the southern border of the national park. Mariposa Grove, Yosemite’s largest sequoia grove, is home to hundreds upon hundreds of these magnificent and majestic trees. You should visit Mariposa Grove, the home of the Grizzly Giant. This tree is arguably the most well-known.
As a California foreign exchange student, this was my first visit to Yosemite.
If you are looking to make a longer visit to Yosemite or Sequoia National Parks, Mariposa Grove could be skipped. You will find more of the huge sequoia trees in this national park. We have another suggestion for Yosemite’s daytime plans if this is the case.
8:15 AM: Mist Trail to Vernal Fall
Yosemite’s most popular hike is the Mist Trail to Vernal Fall. The hike to Vernal Falls is 3 miles round trip. It will take you to stunning waterfalls. You won’t believe Nevada Fal and Half Dome when you get back!
This hike can be started by going to Happy Isles Bridge, where you will find the Mist Trail or John Muir Trail trailheads. You will follow the Merced River south from the trailhead and then turn east at Sierra Point. Cross the Merced Bridge at Vernal Falls Bridge, then head east along the river to reach Vernal falls.
Although you may have seen Vernal Falls from Glacier Point on your first day, nothing can prepare you for its beauty up close. You’ll be able to see why the Mist Trail is named as Vernal mist sprays onto your face when you reach the end.
If you don’t feel confident hiking on your own, you have the option to hire a guide for a guided hiking tour or a private tour.
4:45 PM: After a day of waterfall hiking or sequoia spot, you will want to relax. You can visit the Yosemite Visitor Center after your hike. They will answer all your questions and have a great book store. The hours of operation are 9:00am to 5:00pm.
You don’t have to go far to see the Lower Yosemite Fall viewpoint. You can continue south/southwest from the visitor center until you reach the Lower Yosemite Fall Trail. It takes about 20 minutes to reach another spectacular viewpoint from the park. This is the perfect way to end your 2-day stay in Yosemite National Park.
Lower Yosemite Fall, at 320 feet, is America’s highest waterfall. The waterfall’s roar is spectacular if you go there in spring or summer when it is at its peak. While you are on the trail, you will have a great view of the lower and upper falls.
Don’t let the temptation climb onto the rocks if you are taking the Lower Yosemite Fall Trail up to the vista point. Even when they are dry, they can be slippery and it is dangerous to try to climb onto them.
7:45 PM: End your 2-day Yosemite trip with dinner and/or drinks at Ahwahnee Hotel. Here you can marvel at the sights, sounds, and landscapes of Yosemite National Park.
Two days in Yosemite: The Perfect Break
You can be both blessed and fortunate when you spend two days in Yosemite. It is a blessing to be surrounded by some of the most breathtaking scenery North America has to provide. However, it is a shame that you can only spend 48 hours in Yosemite.
We recommend that Yosemite Valley Visitor Center be visited if you are visiting Yosemite National Park for the first time. This will give you information about your planned stops. To fully understand the dangers associated with the places you are planning to visit, the Visitor Center is a great resource. Yosemite, as beautiful and bright as it is, is also a wild wilderness. There are risks due to the weather, wild animals, and other factors. Follow the marked trails and follow all advice.
This guide will help you plan your two-day trip to Yosemite. It also gives you some great ideas for your weekend trip. Please leave any questions in the comments.
2-Day Yosemite Tour – FAQ
Is there an airport near Yosemite that is close?
Fresno-Yosemite International Airport is approximately 2 and 1/2 hours from the park. It is served by 7 airlines.
What number of days should I plan to spend in Yosemite?
Two days is the minimum amount of time you need to fully enjoy the park. You can see most of Yosemite’s main attractions in two days. However, if you love hiking, I recommend spending at least three days in Yosemite National Park.
Is Yosemite a safe place for dogs?
Dogs can be leashed on all roads that are fully paved, but not on hiking trails that are unpaved. Dogs are not allowed on the Vernal Falls trail.
Is there any Yosemite wolf population? Is there a Yosemite bear population?
Yosemite is home to both black bears and wolves, but attacks are very rare. For information on how to handle an encounter with an animal in Yosemite, please contact the Visitor Center.