Tag archives for Beyond Yosemite
California’s Highway 108 slinks through rocky gorges and around sunken lakes just beyond the northern limits of Yosemite National Park. I’m spending a few days road tripping the scenic byway because I’m on a mission to find the “tree man.” That’s what they call Ken Brunges, who lives in the shadow of one of the biggest juniper trees in the world.
Yosemite Valley—home to Yosemite National Park icons such as Half Dome, El Capitan, and Bridalveil Fall—is more than worth visiting. But those who confine their park visit to the valley are missing out on 99 percent of Yosemite. And though the park’s high-country highlights involve a bit of hiking to see, most of them can be reached fairly easily from scenic Tioga Road.
Animals are great. But when I’m hiking, I prefer them at a distance. The sudden appearance of a jumpy marmot in Alberta or a hump-rumped agouti in Belize—even more, a lip-smacking elk on the Oregon coast—freaks me out. Above all, I’m scared of bears, the sharks of the forests. I once clung close behind a shotgun-bearing guide…
The 19th century has a way of working its way into casual conversation in Columbia, California, one of a trio of gold-rush towns—Sonora and Jamestown are the others—clustered together on the fringe of Yosemite. All three are worth exploring—whether you use one of them as a home base while you’re touring the national park or simply want to soak up living history in the heart of the Sierra Nevada Mother Lode.
Few travelers venture outside seven-square-mile Yosemite Valley—much less beyond the national park’s boundaries. That’s a mistake. The greater Yosemite area—including much of Tuolumne County, which is home to a lion’s share of the park and many of its lesser-known gems—abounds with worthwhile attractions and offers visitors a glimpse at local life beyond the shadow of Half Dome. Here are four must-dos.