Off Beaten Path Attractions in Yosemite National Park

Though California has a huge population, and Yosemite is very popular, the park is big enough to conceal many hidden gems that few visitors encounter and there are many good things to do off the beaten path in Yosemite. Meadows, lakes, peaks and stunning views await you anywhere you go. Spend a little more time to look deeply at a topo map, ask rangers in one of the Visitor Centers about their favorite trails, pack a picnic and head off on a new trail (Snow Creek or Nelson Lake, anyone?), take a hike by moonlight, or come in the off-season to discover a completely different Yosemite.

Almost every heads to Yosemite Valley and many people mistakenly believe that the Valley IS the park, when it's merely 10 square miles out of 1200. So your first step off the beaten path is to base a visit somewhere else: Wawona, Crane Flat, White Wolf or even in the national forests that surround the busy park. Small, out of the way campgrounds at Tamarack Flat, Bridalveil Creek and Porcupine Flat are not on most people's mental map of Yosemite but are fine places to stay. White Wolf Lodge falls into this category, too.
Lots of people hike to Half Dome, the High Sierra Camp loop or along the John Muir Trail but you can find other routes far less traveled: Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne, Elizabeth Lake, Ostrander Lake or the Crane Flat Lookout are terrific destinations that don't include hordes of other visitors.

If you come to Yosemite in the winter you'll have so much of the place to yourself. People concentrate in the east end of Yosemite Valley and at Badger Pass Ski Area. Get away on snowshoes into Mariposa Grove or Tuolumne Grove and you may be making your own path.

Nelder Grove Observation Site

P.O. Box 10

This giant sequoia grove is located in the center of the Sequoia Gigantea's natural geographic range. Over a hundred mature giant sequoias are intermingled with secondary pine, fir and incense cedar...
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Tamarack Flat Campground

P.O. Box 577

This campground is open to tent camping on a first come, first served basis...
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South Tufa, Mono Lake

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Hwy 395 near Lee Vining

Amazing mineral formations on an inland sea...
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Wilderness Center

Yosemite Village

Permits for overnight backpacking and wilderness information...
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Ostrander Lake Trail

P.O. Box 577

6.3 miles southeast from Glacier Point Road...
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Snow Creek Trail

P.O. Box 577

A breathtaking hike up the wall of Tenaya Canyon...
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Mount Dana

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Porcupine Flat Campground

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Tioga Road

This campground lies north of Yosemite Valley along Tioga Road. It is open on a first come, first served basis from July through early September...
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White Wolf Campground

P.O. Box 577

This campground provides access to hiking, backpacking and fishing opportunities. Sites are available on a first come, first served basis...
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Smith Peak (via White Wolf Campground) Trail

P.O. Box 577

Leads northwest past Harden Lake...
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