Yosemite Beyond the Valley
See Yosemite beyond Yosemite Valley. This tour will take you through historic Wawona and then on to Glacier Point and its famous views of Half Dome and Yosemite Valley. From there, we make our way back, stopping to visit the Pioneer Yosemite History Center and the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. Along the way, our expert guides will introduce you to the natural and human history of Yosemite.
A trail lunch is included in this tour.
Yosemite Beyond the Valley
Here are some of the famous Yosemite sights you'll see on this tour.
A traditional stage coach stop along the southern route into Yosemite. Wawona is home to the Pioneer Yosemite History Center and the Wawona Hotel. The Wawnona Hotel is where Theodore Roosevelt and John Muir stopped for lunch before going on to see the Mariposa Grove in 1903. Built in 1879, the hotel was a private resort until the turn of the twentieth century when the park purchased the property to be included in the newly expanded park boundaries. The Pioneer Yosemite History Center includes several buildings from the pioneer days such as the Wells Fargo office, the powderhouse and jail, and others.
Fun fact: Roosevelt and Muir were scheduled to return to the hotel to attend a dinner in the president's honor and spend the night, but the president chose to spend the night in the Mariposa Grove with just Muir, ranger Charlie Leidig and two horse packers while the governor of California, other dignitaries and the Secret Service dined without him.
The view from Glacier Point can take your breath away! If you're not afraid of heights, look over the railing and down the 3,200-foot drop to the floor of Yosemite Valley and across to Yosemite Falls. If heights are a challenge, then stand back a safe distance and look across the Merced River Canyon for one of the best views of Half Dome. With binoculars, you can sometimes see hikers on top or even climbers on the moderate Snake Dike route on the southwest shoulder of Half Dome. Glacier Point also gives you views down to the Giant's Staircase, comprised of Nevada Fall (600 feet) and Vernal Fall (300 feet).
Fun fact: for almost a century, workers would build a fire on top of Glacier Point and push the embers off at night to create the famous Firefall, featured in the 1954 movie The Caine Mutiny. The fire last fell on January 25, 1968. The large crowds who gathered to watch were destroying the meadows. In addition, since the 1920s, the Firefall had used exclusively red fir bark and by the 1960s, all the bark along the Glacier Point Road had been harvested and workers were driving out the Tioga Road to find more. Seeing this damage, the National Park Service ordered the event stopped.
The Mariposa Grove, or the Big Trees as it is often called, is home to some of the world’s largest trees. Guests will transfer from the Tenaya Tour Bus to the park shuttle for this part of the tour. Please note: this section of the tour is only available when the grove is open and the Mariposa Grove shuttle is running.
Fun fact: Most people think the Grizzly Giant is the largest tree in the grove. In fact, the Washington Tree, which is not identified on any maps or by any signs is larger!