Known for its magnificent vistas, jaw-dropping waterfalls, sweeping meadows, and rich wildlife, Yosemite National Park is a top contender for anyone’s travel bucket list. If you’re a nature-lover or just looking for a tranquil escape from routine life, Yosemite is the place for you.
Our friends at Hotels.com asked us to come up with some ideas on the best way to see Yosemite in two days. So we’ve planned out a cool and exciting itinerary to keep you busy on your weekend away.
Yosemite Itinerary Day 1
So, you’ve got just two days to see the best of Yosemite National Park. How on earth are you going to squeeze it all in? No need to worry, fellow travelers, we have a Yosemite two-day trip plan just for you.
There is a wide array of budget-friendly hotels and resorts located in Yosemite Valley. If you are staying in that area, you should be able to see all of the great places we’ve picked in just two days, with some much-needed R&R time in between. You can follow our exact itinerary or move some things around as you please.
If you’re looking for some practical tips on traveling, you can check out our post filled with useful travel resources.
Spend a Morning at Yosemite Falls
The best Yosemite itineraries include the highest waterfall in the entire Yosemite National Park. Yosemite Falls is a whopping 2700 feet tall, where you’ll see one of the best vignettes the park has to offer. You might not be able to fit this lengthy hike into your Yosemite Itinerary if you want to see it from the very top.
You can, however, bask in Yosemite Falls’ glory on the short version of the Yosemite Falls Trail. The short loop is only two miles, so you’ll have plenty of time to dart off to your next exciting activity for the day.
See Beautiful Sequoias in Mariposa Grove
After you’ve had some lunch and chill time back at your hotel, it’s time to venture out again. In case you didn’t know, those huge trees you see in the photographs of Yosemite – many of them are giant sequoias.
These redwood Californian trees are not just the oldest, but also the tallest trees in Yosemite, standing proudly at over 120 feet.
Mariposa Grove is home to one of Yosemite’s most famous sequoias, the Grizzly Giant, estimated to be up to 2,700 years old. Many a traveler has left Yosemite with a picture next to this unique tree. You can take a two-mile hike from the trailhead to see it.
It’ll take you an hour to get to Mariposa Grove by car from Yosemite Falls, but the sequoias are a must-see.
Take a Drive to Tunnel View
You’ll probably be beat after the day’s activities, so here’s an opportunity to relax and enjoy the scenery. Tunnel View is one of the most famous viewpoints in Yosemite, and it’s obvious why. You’ll see giant trees throughout the valley, not to mention the awe-inspiring mountains in the backdrop.
The best part? All it takes to see this incredible view is a drive along Highway 41 on your route back to Yosemite Valley. This spot is a romantic place to watch the sunset before you wind down for the evening.
Yosemite Itinerary Day 2
Don’t worry, there will be no long drives on day two of your trip to Yosemite. The locations below are all within Yosemite Valley, so you shouldn’t be too far from your beloved hotel room.
Hike the Mist Trail
Since you’ve only got two days in Yosemite to work with, you’ll want to pack in as many memorable locations as you can. Mist Trail is perfect for that, offering a 2-5 hour hike with not one, but two gorgeous waterfalls.
About a mile into the hike, you’ll find a footbridge under Vernal Fall with a stunning view. If you can handle the six hundred slippery steps into the spray-zone, you can even get to the very top of the waterfall. You can end your adventure here or follow the trail two more miles out to see Nevada Fall!
Visit Glacier Point
Now here’s a view you don’t want to miss. The panoramic vistas seen from Glacier Point are simply spectacular. Like Tunnel View, you can access this amazing lookout spot from the roadway. Glacier Point is a wonderful way to enjoy a scenic drive with the whole family.
You’ll get a great view of Half Dome from here, the granite rock formation famous for its distinct shape. One side is smooth and round, the other a flat face dropping vertically down the mountainside.
This is one of the most sought-after viewpoints in the area, so make sure you leave early or avoid the peak hours between around 11 and 4 pm. The parking there is limited.
End Your Trip with Fun Rafting on Merced River
Once you’re done taking pics at Glacier Point, head out to Merced River for some idyllic rafting. You can begin near Stoneman Bridge, just a ten-minute drive away from the major resorts. Don’t forget to pack the essentials for your adventure on the river.
Rafting in Yosemite National Park is a great way to absorb the scenery. Hiking has its perks, but you get a picturesque view of the Yosemite pine forests on the water. Putting a little space between you and the trees really helps you get to grips with the sheer size of the park in all its glory.
You can rent a four-person raft from the park for under $30 a head, and this is well worth it for the relaxing ride. The trip will take you floating along the Merced River for about three miles of uninterrupted bliss. You can pull off on the beaches to catch your breath along the way, too.
Yosemite in 2 Days
Hopefully, your Yosemite two-day itinerary will be one for the books. Between the scenery, the hiking, and the beautiful sunset drives, our itinerary should have you well on your way to an epic weekend you won’t soon forget.
COVID Travel Advisory
Travel destinations may be opening up, but please be aware of the changing nature of travel regulations and restrictions. If you feel comfortable traveling please check local guidelines and ensure your safety and the safety of others at all times.
Here are some good COVID travel tips to help you and those around you travel safely:
- Carry and wear a face mask whenever required by local and state laws. Pack some extra for the cars, bags, etc to make sure you’re not without.
- Similarly, pack hand sanitizer in a few extra bags so you don’t get caught out without it.
- Research the destinations that you’re traveling to (local websites, Twitter, Facebook, etc) to get real time information of closures, restrictions and regulations in place.
- Research hotels that offer free cancellation in case your plans are interrupted and you need to change your plans at the last minute.