Mix and match our top adventures to create the ultimate Yosemite experience in neighboring parks and gateway towns close to the park.
Feel Small in Sequoia National Park
Venture into Sequoia National Park and gaze skyward at the General Sherman tree. This giant sequoia is 275 feet tall and one of the largest living things on Earth. Tour the Giant Forest Museum to learn about sequoia natural history.
Go Whitewater Rafting
Ride the rollicking Tuolumne or Merced Rivers on a single or multiday trip. Both are federally designated Wild and Scenic Rivers with spectacular scenery and thrilling whitewater right outside the park’s western boundary. You can enjoy the ride through exhilarating Class III and IV rapids while experienced guides pilot the boat.
Backpack in Kings Canyon National Park
With 850 miles of established wilderness trails, Kings Canyon National Park is a summer backpacking mecca. It’s often less crowded than Yosemite, even though it’s right next door. Permits are required for all backcountry camping in the park. Head for Bishop Pass, Dusy Basin, and the John Muir Trail for a 3-day trip.
Pan for Gold in Mariposa
Try your luck in the scenic streams around Mariposa just as the gold miners did 150 years ago. Before heading out, learn about the region’s gold-digging history at the California State Mining and Mineral Museum in Mariposa. Then grab a pan and head out; some sites are free, while others charge a fee and offer lessons and gear rental (yosemiteexperience.com).
Birdwatch at Mono Lake
After visiting Mono Lake in 1863, Mark Twain famously described it as “one of the strangest freaks of nature found in any land.” The 60-square-mile lake is more saline than the ocean, as it has trapped minerals from mountain runoff for an estimated 1 million years. Mono Lake is home to gulls, loons, grebes, and osprey and is a major stopover spot for migratory birds. See the spectacle at Mono Lake State Tufa Reserve (parks.ca.gov).
Tour Bodie Ghost Town
Get spooked when walking the streets of this once-thriving Gold Rush town, now eerily empty. During its boom days in the 1870s, Bodie was home to more than 10,000. Now preserved as Bodie State Park and in “arrested decay,” Bodie lets visitors see things exactly as they were left when the town was abandoned.
Fish in Bishop Creek Canyon
The canyon is a rich trout habitat and also harbors several lakes with U.S. Forest Service campgrounds. Bishop is especially lovely in fall, when the canyon’s aspen and willow trees put on a spectacular color show.