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  • Writer's picturethetravelingartemis

Sierra Nevada Heights

Trip Occurred: May 2015 Blog Written: August 2020


This trip was all about beautiful scenery. We traveled from Tahoe to Yosemite with a stop at Bodie. I'd only been to Bodie once, years ago, and was dying to return. While the weather didn't make it an ideal time to visit, it was just as beautiful and interesting as I remembered it.

We began our trip in El Dorado Hills at Selland's Market Cafe. Selland's has a nice variety of food of good quality. I wish there was one closer to where we live but it makes for a special treat whenever we head up 50.

After lunch we continued up the mountain to South Lake Tahoe.

No trip to Tahoe is complete without a stop at the beautiful Emerald Bay. 

We leave Tahoe, and California momentarily, on our way to Bodie. The trip is on highway 395. A beautiful and scenic drive.

After driving up 3 miles of an uneven dirt road, we final come to Bodie, an abandoned boomtown in the mountains of the Sierra Nevada. It is at an elevation of 8,375 feet and became a ghost town in the 1940s and in 1962 became a State Historic Park and a National Historic Landmark.


As soon as we got out of the car it started to hail. Only a little at first and then it picked up.

Heading back down the mountain from Bodie. SO MUCH HAIL ON THE CAR!! It looks like it snowed.

We passed the town of Lee Vining and Mono Lake before we reach Yosemite. While we didn't stop at the lake, I have visited it in past. It's and weird lake that has a high level of salt and black flies. Soooooo this is not a lake you swim in. It does have these weird rock formations called tufas that are pretty cool and different.

We finally reach the Tioga Pass entrance to Yosemite. We were a little worried it was going to be closed as it had snowed on and off throughout the week and the gate had been opened and closed in response. Considering the hail storm we experienced at nearby Bodie, I worried we had missed our chance. If this gate had been closed, we would have had to backtrack towards Tahoe adding probably 3-4 hours to our trip. That open gate was a welcome site and at 9,943 feet in the Sierra Nevada, we entered Yosemite.


One we enter the park we experience snow, then rain, and then a weird effect of steam from the rain on the road. It sort of acts like fog and in some areas was quite thick.

By the time we make it to the valley, the weather is a dry as can be (despite the gray clouds). Oh! And we saw a bear on the side of the road! Fantastic wildlife viewing and we haven't even made it to our hotel!

We stayed at The Ahwahnee Hotel. It's a beautiful historic hotel, and the nicest in the park, with a superb restaurant and fantastic service. When we next visit Yosemite, this is the hotel we will stay at. Be warned though, it has to be booked in advanced. Oh! And the pictures of Yosemite Falls? That was the view from our room. No matter how many times I looked out the window, seeing Upper Yosemite Falls was breathtaking.

Our first day in the park we head towards Yosemite Village and hike to Yosemite Falls. On our way back we saw some deer. I love that the one in the back is looking at me. They were so calm that one wandered within 5 feet of me.

Our final full day of the trip and we head to Vernal Fall via the Mist Trail. It's a moderate hike so be prepared. You can get to Vernal Falls and Nevada Fall from the same trail if you want. I believe it is also one of the trailheads that will take you on to Half Dome. Being extremely afraid of heights, Half Dome is not a hike I will ever do so I may be wrong about that.


You may notice in the pictures above two bags and then some food on the bed. The Ahwahnee, knowing you're probably going to be out for lunch, lets you pre-order your lunch and basically gives you a bag lunch to take with you on the trail. It was brilliant!

The next morning, we drove home. What a great week experiencing Tahoe, Bodie, and Yosemite. I would totally do this trip again. We took this trip at the end of May, which makes Tioga Pass a little risky BUT it's not peak season yet in Yosemite.


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