48 Hours in Yosemite National Park

By Tori Peglar ,

Only have 48 hours? Make the most of your time by visiting some of our favorite spots in the park including walking among giant sequoias, hiking a downhill trail, picnicking lakeside and floating on a river.

Day 1

Breakfast at Big Trees Lodge (formerly Wawona Hotel) 

The Wawona Hotel now called Big Trees Lodge. 

Grant Ordelheide

With the sun streaming through large windows, this charming restaurant set in a Victorian-era hotel has a great breakfast menu to fuel you for the day. 

Mariposa Grove 

Walking in the Mariposa Grove of giant sequoias in Yosemite National Park

Grant Ordelheide

Reopened in June 2018 after a lengthy restoration project, this grove is the largest of the park's three groves and home to approximately 500 giant sequoias. 

Hike down from Glacier Point on Four-Mile Trail 

Hiking Four Mile Trail in Yosemite

Grant Ordelheide

Absolutely stunning views surround you at Glacier Point, a popular viewpoint, before you descend through forested and rocky terrain with amazing views to the valley bottom.

Valley Visitor Center and Ansel Adams Gallery 

Visitors check out the scale model of Yosemite Valley in the Visitors Center.

Grant Ordelheide

Stop at the Valley Visitor Center, an intimate place for all ages to learn about the geology and cultural history of the park. 

The Ansel Adams Gallery in Yosemite Valley

Grant Ordelheide

Next door, you’ll find the Ansel Adams Gallery, featuring Adams’ work and a gift shop. Reserve your spot for the free camera walk at 209-372-4413. Learn more at anseladams.com.

Float on the Merced 

Kayaking and floating on the Merced River in Yosemite

Grant Ordelheide

Cool off by renting a raft at Half Dome Village (formerly Curry Village). The National Park Service has reduced the number of rafts allowed on the river, so check with the boat kiosk in Half Dome Village to rent your boat and learn the latest regulations. 

Eat Dinner at the Pizza Deck 

Eating pizza at the Half Dome Pizza Deck in Yosemite Valley.

Courtesy Aramark

In the heart of Half Dome Village, enjoy hand-tossed pizza and salads on this legendary outdoor deck with views of Glacier Point. 

Day 2

Drive Tioga Road and Picnic at Tenaya Beach 

Polly Dome (left) and Medlicott Dome (center) bordering Tenaya Lake in Yosemite.

Dollar Photo

Located off Tioga Road, Tenaya Lake is impossible to miss as you descend from Tuolumne Meadows. The 150-acre snowmelt lake offers polar-bear swimming in summer and a great place to picnic on sunny, white-sand beaches. Follow the 1-mile path around the lake’s south side to a shoreline away from the crowds. 

Hike Mist Trail 

Hiking past Vernal Falls on the Mist Trail in Yosemite.

Grant Ordelheide

The Mist Trail climbs 1,000 feet to reach the top of 317-foot Vernal Fall in 1.5 miles. It continues nearly 1,000 more feet to the top of 594-foot Nevada Fall. 

Dine at the Majestic Yosemite Hotel (formerly Ahwahnee Hotel) 

Majestic Yosemite Hotel Dining Room. 

John Buie via Flickr

Opened in 1927, Yosemite’s legendary hotel serves gourmet cuisine in a stunning dining room with 34-foot-high ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows.