Activities Outside Yosemite National Park In California

Just outside Yosemite National Park in California are some great activities that shouldn't be missed. I spend as much time seeing attractions around Yosemite as I do in Yosemite. There are so many fun things to do just before you come or just after you leave the park. Below are some of my families favorite Yosemite National Park nearby attractions that can be done just a few miles outside its entrances.

The communities around the Yosemite are called, gateway communities. Tourists who come to Yosemite bring almost $400 million a year to the gateway communities of Yosemite National Park.

At the bottom of this page is a Yosemite National Park map so that you can see which entrances the below activities are by.

This first set of attractions are closer to the Highway 41 entrance of Yosemite National Park:

Sugar Pine Railroad

Just outside of Yosemite is the Sugar Pine Railroad. You get to it by going on Highway 41 (towards Fresno) south gate park exit. It is two miles outside of the park entrance. This authentic steam powered locomotive is one of my families favorite things to do!  Use the Highway 41 entrance.

Learn More About Sugar Pine Railroad


Lewis Creek Trail

Lewis Creek Trail will lead you to Red Rock Falls and Corlieu Falls. Two waterfalls that are beautiful. I typically do not see many people on this trail and it's just seven miles from the south entrance of Yosemite National Park just outside of Oakhurst, CA. Red Rock Falls is a 1.5 mile hike each way and Corlieu

Falls is only 3/10 of a mile hike each way. I have taken many kids on this hike, and theyhave all love it :)

Lewis Creek Trail



Bass Lake

Located just 20 minutes from Yosemite's south entrance. If your trying to stay in Yosemite National Park in California and you just can't get reservations, I recommend that you stay here at Bass Lake. Spend your days in Yosemite and your nights here. Or, enjoy all the recreational activities that this beautiful mountain lake and its resorts have to offer. Just off of Highway 41, Yosemite's South Entrance.

Learn More About Bass Lake



Chuckchansi Casino

Located just 1 hour and 15 minutes from Yosemite Valley. I think that this is a beautiful hotel and casino. I have eaten here many times and the food is excellent with several restaurants to choose from inside. Table games, the latest slot machines and great food await for you! Just off of Highway 41, Yosemite's South Entrance.

Learn More About Chuckchansi Casino And Hotel



Camping Near Yosemite

If you want to camp and the campgrounds are full in Yosemite, then camp just outside of this US National Park. I have found you tons of campgrounds near each of the entrances of Yosemite.

Camping Near Yosemite National Park





This attraction is closer to the El Portal Highway 140 entrance of Yosemite National Park:

Moaning Caverns

Moaning Caverns is California's largest vertical cave. You can take a walking tour of this cave or you can go on a three hour repelling expedition of this beautiful cave. Nearby is zip lining too :)

Learn More About Moaning Caverns





These attractions are closer to the Big Oak Flat Highway 120 entrance of Yosemite National Park:

Guided Yosemite Tour That Begins & Ends In San Francisco

The air conditioned coach picks you up at your San Francisco Hotel at 7am. They take you to Yosemite and return you to your hotel around 9pm. A knowledgeable guide will show you the main attractions in Yosemite Valley. This is a 5 star tour that is around $140. I think this is worthwhile if you only have one or two days to spend in Yosemite National Park.

Get A Guided Yosemite Tour That Begins And Ends In San Francisco



Hetchy Hetchy

Hetch Hetchy is a called the twin valley of Yosemite. San Francisco has put in a dam and covered up the valley of Hetch Hetchy to supply its city the power and water it needs. I love this valley of hiking trails and waterfalls. It is a beautiful place to see. Although it is outside and detached, it is very much a part of Yosemite National Park in California.

Learn More About Hetch Hetchy



Mono Lake

Located less than 30 minutes from Yosemite's east Highway 120 entrance. Mono Lake is a basin created by past volcanic activity. The lake is filled with 4 trillion brine shrimp and I personally don't like the smell! But I do like the view :) A bird watchers paradise because of the millions of birds and salt formed tufa rocks to add to its beauty. A great site to see just outside Yosemite National Park in California.

Learn More About Mono Lake



Bodie The Ghost Town

One of the wildest California ghost towns ever was a town named Bodie. People mined for gold during the day and partied hard with liquor, drugs and prostitutes at night. Gun fights were a nightly occurrence in this old wild west! My kids loved exploring and learning the history that is here. Bodie is close to the Highway 120 entrance of Yosemite National Park in California.

Learn More About The Ghost Town Of Bodie



Below is a Yosemite National Park Map so that you can see which of the entrances the above fun activities are located by.


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