Thomas Hood - “I saw old Autumn in the misty morn Stand shadowless like Silence, listening To silence.”
RECOMMENDED AUTUMN ITINERARY
AUTUMN 2017 SEASONAL BLOG
Autumn is for alternative travellers. For us September is still summer in weather so October thru early December is Fall. A few storms take the dryness out of the California air and bring back the scent of the wet, the moss and leaf change. Sunsets are more beautiful, the High Sierras are generally still open, the crowds dissipate and the silence more complete.
HIKES IN AUTUMN:
The High Sierra is still open until the first or second major snowfall midway through the fall season, sometimes later into winter. But take the time now to see it whether a day trip from the Bug or on route from the east side of the Sierras. Definitley take the time to the top of Lembert Dome in the center of Tuolumne Meadows. For 3 or 4 hours work you get an excellent elevated views top of the Sierras. For next time go to Cathedral Peak also an excellent view looking down into Yosemite Valley.
We have many recommendations for backcountry trekking, but those of you who would , know already where you are going.
If you have the time to run east down to Mono Lake's Tufa Towers, Cinder Cone walks, Bodie Ghost Town State Park or Buckeye Hot Springs you must absolutely do it. We would be forgiving if you stayed overnight, since we escape to the East Side many times during season. Do not miss the Aspens changing color enroute. A hike up Green Lake Canyon will give you that in spades. Dogs allowed.
On the west side coming down toward Yosemite Valley are the must sees: The short Hike off of Olmstead Point and a stroll along or around Lake Tenaya. Do not forget to stop at Tuolumne Grove for the mile in, mile out walk. It is a smaller, but exceptional Yosemite sequoia grove.
Yosemite Valley's hikes should be focussed on how warm it is. Generally warm, fall days should see you up to Vernal Falls or further onto Nevada Falls. You are guaranteed water, unlike many falls in fall. Dogs on leash to bridge.
The Tenaya Canyon, where the empty Mirror Lake would be is magical in the fall. You may see wildlife and Big Leaf Maples' colored leaves falling in the walk about the lake. Run up past tree line on Snow Creek Trail to see a magnified Half Dome in your face.
this is the time of year to take a stroll about the Valley Loop Trail. The Valley's Black Oak trees begin to drop yellow to orange leaves late October into November. The Acorn Woodpeckers and Grey Squirrels are having battles over the oaks' dropping fruit. Dogs on leash.
Do not miss the Mariposa Sequoia Grove any time if year it is open. You will learn how fire, beetles, streams and elevation make these elderly venerable giants gain age. Go out of your way this time and seek out Wawona Point, an incredible view of that valley.
Sentinel Dome is the best place for sunsets in the fall. Watch for clouds coming in or going out and head up there. Also excellent for stargazing. Go before a few snowfalls closes the Glacier Point Road for the winter. We will pretend not to notice if you forget to come back for dinner since you took your own up for sunset! Give yourself extra time and see Taft Point first.
The Bug Loop Trail is also excellent this time of year. On our north & east facing slopes you will find alders, pin oaks, live oaks, black oaks, chaparral, willows, mountain lilac, california grape, buckeye, ponderosa pine, grey pine and knobcone pine.
Merced River Wild & Scenic Area, take your dogs, drive below us a few miles on 140 to the Day Use area, cross the bridge and park at a hard right above it. Then head upstream for a short hike to see the large non-native but beautiful white fig trees at the end in color along with the oak, grape & willow.
So a few miles below us is the Merced Wild and Scenic River day use area.You can pull your bike out and cycle across the suspension bridge and upstream along the river for a ten mile round trip on singletrack. You can also do the dirt road downstream as it is always beautiful, and earlier in the fall worth a swim afterwards at one of the beaches. At the beginning in cooler weather you can cycle up the Burma Grade for 1900 foot gain of switchbacks. At the top is a loop along the canyon edge and back for 20 miles for the adventurous and topo map minded.
Yosemite Valley: Any side stop on the loop road is worth stopping now that it is not busy with vehicles. Noteworthy is the Big Leaf Maples turning yellow that first mile past Pohono Bridge. Doing the Mirror Lake Loop will give you excellent fall colors as well!
Yosemite Falls view on a meadow above the river before the chapel. Or the swinging bridge stop before it. Stop and use the boardwalk to the river's edge. The falls may not be running, but the river is there with fish, birds and maybe still dragonflies.The alders wil be changing leaf and milkplants spewing silk fluff.
After seeing the Indian Village for some history relating to oaks, walk along the Valley Loop to the Lower Yosemite Falls area. You will find very large old Black Oaks changing color from young to elder oaks shedding their limbs one at a time. Spot the wildlife teeming amoungst them.
Also get out at El Capitan Meadows. Walk out into the meadow and soak it all in. if you cross the road onto the other side you may see climbers on the rock at an opening further in or right under the Nose, if you can find it's base.
IN EL PORTAL
Beside the old house, non-profits and neighborhood feeling, check out the railroad train and it's trestle from the old Yosemite Railroad and the fall colors there..
Spend a half day here, there is a State Mining and Mineral Museum at the Fairgrounds, old Jail, fascinating Mariposa History Center, old Bars, very old Courthouse, cool graveyard & old Gold Rush section on the main street with shops and the like. Don't forget the Yosemite Zip Lines!
"Our fourth visit and
second Thanksgiving! This place is a dream for single parents
- always another kid for my son to hang out with while I read
by the fire."
The Woods' - San Francisco