Day 2 – Off to Yosemite 

Breath-taking Yosemite National Park, Dirty Windshield Road Trip

Gorgeous weather for a hike in the woods at Yosemite National Park.

Itinerary:

  • 3 hour (approx.) drive from Santa Clara to Yosemite
  • 2:30 pm Entered Yosemite at the Big Oak Flat Entrance
  • Drove the Yosemite Valley Loop occasionally stopping for photo opportunities
  • 4:00 pm finished the Loop and began driving toward Glacier Point
  • 5:39 pm Welcome to Glacier Point
  • 6:15 pm Began descent back along Wawona Rd. toward Visalia just outside of Fresno
  • 9:45 pm After a few stops for groceries and gas reached the home we rented in Visalia

Our Adventure:

Another gorgeous day in California for Day 2 of the Dirty Windshield Road Trip. Tired from our 10-mile trek yesterday, so we slept in a bit then hopped in the car late morning.

Countryside through a Dirty Windshield, California, Off to Yosemite
Countryside through a Dirty Windshield, California

Driving East across the state from Santa Clara to Yosemite offered some pretty cool scenery.  As we turned toward the mountains, there were massive, hilly fields with yellow grass speckled with dark green trees.

Off to Yosemite, Gorgeous Meadow in the California Countryside
Gorgeous Meadow in the California Countryside

The route we took snaked us through massive tree farms and cute little towns. As we approached the mountains, it was hot, about 90 degrees. The switchbacks up the mountain were fun and pretty quick.  In a short period, we were at a high enough altitude that the temperature was a comfortable 70 degrees.

California Countryside Tree Farms, Dirty Windshield Road Trip
California Countryside Tree Farms, Dirty Windshield Road Trip

Yosemite National Park

Finally, we reached the gate at Yosemite. We opted for the National Park Annual Pass since we know we will hit a few more parks before the trips end. The annual pass is a way better deal; even if you plan on just 2-3 days, it pays for itself.

Bonus: it’s valid until the end of next September so almost two free weeks.

Driving in to Yosemite National Park, Dirty Windshield Road Trip
Driving into Yosemite National Park, Dirty Windshield Road Trip

The drive through the park provided us with breath-taking sights. There were ample places to stop and get out for photographs of scenic vistas or take various hikes. Several campgrounds and rest areas also sprinkled the Yosemite Valley Loop. If I could change any one thing, I would say the signage could be more clear; it’s easy to take a wrong turn and circle back to where you just were.

Stream running through Yosemite, Dirty Windshield Road Trip
Stream running through Yosemite, Dirty Windshield Road Trip
Tip:
  • Hit the restrooms at the base of the entrance to Glacier Point as there are no more until the top, but there are ample at the top

The ride up to Glacier Point was cool. Ascending switchbacks with no railings along wooded cliffs are terrifyingly amazing. The Park service was performing some light controlled burns along the route, which was interesting to see.

 

Controlled Burn at Yosemite, Dirty Windshield Road Trip
Controlled Burn at Yosemite
Fun fact:
  • Forest fires are beneficial for the forest. Sequoias require the burn to open their cones so the next generation of saplings can take begin to grow. Read more info here.

Smoke on Roadway from Controlled Burn at Yosemite, Dirty Windshield Road Trip

Glacier Point proved to be worth the ride. Overlooking the Valley, Glacier Point offers excellent views of the mountains, redwoods, and Sequoias. Although we did not go for any extended hikes today, I will note that hikes in this section of the park are said to be the best.

Peaceful Solitude at Glacier Point, Yosemite National Park, Dirty Windshield Road Trip
Peaceful Solitude at Glacier Point, Yosemite National Park

Upon leaving Glacier Point, we made our long descent down the side of the mountain into the Valley. At this point, it was nearing sunset, and the light was hitting the rocks and trees so delicately.

The rest of the ride was varied with steep windy roads and long straightaways. Mostly all downhill grades made for a relaxing trip. Happy to be resting close to tomorrow’s destination of Sequoia National Park.

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