At Yosemite National Park, Yosemite Valley is the hot spot for visitors. It’s where you can access popular view points, sites, and hikes, including Tunnel View.
On a recent visit to the park, I made it a goal to explore outside of the valley by driving along Tioga Pass, a scenic route that serves as an eastern entry point for Yosemite. The valley is beautiful, but I wanted to see other parts of it since the park is so much bigger than where most of the attractions are.
I didn’t do too much to prepare for this drive except tap on the map app on my phone to see what places there were to stop by along the way. Signal was kind of flaky as well, so it was impossible to do any substantial research on any of the stops.
In the end, there were 3 stops I chose to focus on:
This was one of the first places I saw on Google Maps, so I jotted it down on my phone and made sure to take a couple of minutes to admire it. I didn’t notice any prominent sign indicating that the lake was coming up, so it could be easy to miss if you’re not looking out for it! Following your location on a map app will be helpful.
At Olmsted Point, you can enjoy a view of Yosemite Valley from the east, Tenaya canyon, and of course, Olmsted Point. From the parking lot, you can get some nice photos. But it’s also pretty fun to walk down the trail and climb around the grippy rocks.
Tenaya Lake was a nice surprise because it wasn’t on my list of places to see. I truly believe it’s okay not to always do extensive research so that you can experience surprises along the way that you wouldn’t if you already knew everything about what you were coming into.
The lake’s alluring blue water grabbed my attention, and when I stepped out, I immediately fell in love with the view. I was in awe at the forests and granite domes around it. According to the National Park Service, it is the largest lake in Yosemite’s front country and it’s one of the most popular places for visitors who come in the summer.
You won’t regret taking this mini road trip in Yosemite!
Driving along the Tioga Pass is a breathtaking experience. The scenery is gorgeous, and whether or not you’ve marked down places you’d like to stop by, it’s a great activity to make time for when in Yosemite. If you decide to see some of the places listed here, keep an eye out for them because there aren’t necessarily going to be obvious signs telling you you’ve arrived. I’d suggest having the map app running on your phone if you can, and use the blue dot to keep track of if you’re coming close to your stop. If you see something that catches your eye that wasn’t on your list, you can easily pull over, hop out of the car, and explore.
I spent just a few minutes at each part and did this trip on my way back down to Los Angeles. It could also be a nice trip to take while driving into the park. In any case, it’s a must-do in Yosemite National Park! 🙂