The Crowd Factor: Escape, or Join In?

Yosemite National Park sees around 4 million visitors each year, most of those during the summer months.  It will be crowded!  There will be lines in the grocery store, lines in the cafeteria and restaurants, lines at the coffee corner,  lines at check in, lines at the tour kiosks– there will even be lines of people going up and down the Mist Trail.  You get the picture!

Be patient, relax, be courteous, and be thankful you have the great pleasure of being in Yosemite!

Sometimes, of course, it is really great to escape the crowds.  My favorite places to do just that?

Swinging Bridge in the middle of a Summer Day. July 2009.

Swinging Bridge in the middle of a Summer day. July 2009.

Walk down to the Merced River from Yosemite Lodge— sit by the river near the Swinging Bridge. There will still be people, but not quite as many as, say, the main gift store in Yosemite Village. This is where the rafters end their trip, so for a low crowd factor, it is still fun and relaxing.

If you go in the morning, you will have the area to yourself– almost.

Summer Morning at the Swinging Bridge 2009.

Summer Morning at the Swinging Bridge 2009.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leidig Meadow July 2009.

Leidig Meadow July 2009.

 

 

On your way to the river and bridge, you will stroll along the bike path that skirts the edge of Leidig Meadow for solitude and excellent views of Yosemite Falls, Half Dome, Sentinel Rock and Cathedral Rocks.

 

 

 

Detail of my Yosemite Valley map.

Detail of my Yosemite Valley map.

 

Artist painting in Tuolumne Meadows, July 2009

Artist painting in Tuolumne Meadows, July 2009

 

Take the Hiker’s Bus or drive to Tuolumne Meadows for the day.

 

 

Tuolumne River, July 2009

Tuolumne River, July 2009

Walk through the meadows (please stick to the trails and preserve the delicate alpine meadow)…sit by the river…

 

 

 

 

 

FOOTBRIDGE, as highlighted on my map of Tuolumne area trail.

FOOTBRIDGE, as highlighted on my map of Tuolumne area trail.

…or take the short and scenic walk highlighted in blue on my map below.

Most trails leaving from Tuolumne/Tioga Road are low on the crowd factor, EXCEPT for the Cathedral Lakes Trail which is high-traffic.

Detail of my Tuolumne Meadows map.

Detail of my Tuolumne Meadows map.

Sometimes, though, it is really fun to join in the crowds.  What are my recommendations, you ask?

The Curry Village Pizza Deck.  Major crowd factor here, plus lots of persistent squirrels.  But, you can get excellent pizza and beer– and eavesdrop on hikers’ tales and maybe even meet someone from another country!  Great vibe!

Outside the Tuolumne Meadows store and grill.  The “crowd factor” here is still very low compared to the Valley, but for Tuolumne, this is the hub of activity.

Tuolumne Store, Post Office, Bus Stop & Grill, late July 2012

Tuolumne Store, Post Office, Bus Stop & Grill, late July 2012

 

The Tuolumne store is very well stocked with excellent brews!

The Tuolumne store is very well stocked with excellent brews!

The veggie chili from the grill along with goodies and beer from the store, combine well with snippets of conversations from hikers and backpackers.  Great people watching!

The BEST veggie chili!

The BEST veggie chili!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wherever your path brings you in Yosemite is a great place to be!  As John Muir once said:

“Wherever you chance to be always seems at the moment of all places the best; and you feel that there can be no happiness in this world or in any other for those who may not be happy here.”

Jay and Maya on top of Pothole Dome. Cathedral Range in the distance. Tuolumne 2012

Jay and Maya on top of Pothole Dome. Cathedral Range in the distance. Tuolumne 2012

Happy Trails,
Ginger

Originally posted on May 4, 2014 by Ginger.

 

 

 

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