San Francisco to Yosemite along Highway 120
Just a 3-hour drive from the San Francisco International Airport to the beautiful mountains of Yosemite National Park.
- Hwy 101 South from San Francisco International Airport to Highway 92 East
- Highway 92 East to Highway 680 North
- Highway 680 North to Highway 580 East toward Stockton
- Highway 580 East to Highway 120 toward Manteca
- Continue on Highway 120 to Big Oak Flat Entrance of Yosemite National Park
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Let’s Start in Knights Ferry- East of Oakdale on Highway 120
As you leave the hustle of the big city take a breath of fresh air in the historic town of Knight’s Ferry. Stop in for a nice lunch at River’s Edge Resort. It overlooks the Stanislaus River, the rafters and the fisherman are always smiling and happy as they float by! Sunshine Rafting Adventures is a great local rafting company if your up for it! You can grab a bag lunch and take a short walk to one of the oldest covered bridges in California at the Knight’s Ferry Recreation Area. It was built in 1863, just a great reflection of the history in Knight’s Ferry. Refresh yourself at the Ice Cream Parlor on Knight’s Ferry Main Street, across from the volunteer fire house. As you are leaving town stop and say Hi to Manny and friends at the 50’s Roadhouse! Take a picture by the biggest rooster in town..When I need a day to refresh my soul and spirit I go sit by the river and just enjoy the calm. Sometimes it all you need to have a better outlook on the day!!
Chinese Camp-Highway 120
Don’t Blink! Another little historic town along the Highway 120 corridor leading into Yosemite is Chinese Camp.
The Tavern on the
corner serves the coldest beer around! New owners have really made it a nice friendly place to stop on the way to Yosemite! It has several old abandon buildings and several historic homes. The local elementary school has a modern Chinese touch to it. This is also a nice place for a bottle of water and pick up a post card to send to friends and family. Share your vacation!
Lake Don Pedro Vista Point-Highway 120
Get out and stretch your legs! This is a great place take a picture overlooking beautiful Lake Don Pedro at Moccasin Point Recreation Area. When you are at the Vista Point you can see the Jacksonville Stent Bridge to the East and up towards Woods Creek to the North. Railroad Canyon runs to the West into another big body of water leading to Fleming Meadows. Ski boats, Fishing boats, House Boats and Party boats are available for rent at both Marinas. In 1849 under the Jacksonville Stent bridge, there was a town called Jacksonville. It was the largest town on the Tuolumne River and it served as a trading post to the miners. I love the lake and I just wanted to share that little bit of history with you on the old town! Camp at Lumsden Campround and float down the Wild and Scenic Tuolumne River to the Old Wards Ferry Bridge with ARTA River Rafting Adventures or Sierra Mac Whitewater Trips!
6 Miles to the top of Priest Grade-Highway 120
Imagine this road in a covered wagon? Thanks goodness its 2020 and it only takes about 8 minutes to drive! Please stay in your own lane and watch out for other drivers or a few occasional falling rocks. Please stay on Highway 120 DO NOT TAKE OLD PRIEST GRADE. It is a windy uphill road and just safer to stay on the Highway 120. GPS will try to take you up the Old Priest Grade, just don’t do it. If you didn’t get a chance to eat, Priest Station Cafe is at the top of the hill.
Plug in your smart car and take a walk around this charming historic mountain town. There is a local museum with great pieces of history, visit The Breezeway for some snazzy clothing ideas,have some chips and salsa at Cocina Michocana or a fresh cup of coffee at Mountain Sage. Take a walk down Highway 120 and stop in the Iron Door Saloon, one of the oldest operating saloons in California. Try to stick a dollar bill on the ceiling and watch the bar patrons go crazy, then your invited the Iron Door Dollar Party in October. The Iron Door has some great live music so bring your dancing shoes too! Groveland has 2 historic hotels and both have recently been remodeled, walk in have a refreshment and view a room! The Groveland Hotel offers music in their fragrant outdoor patio in the summer, a must do if your in town! Need groceries or something from a pharmacy? Groveland has a pharmacy located near Yosemite Bank and grocery store near the Mary Laveroni Community Park.
This is small town living! A little White Church, a country store with a gas pump and RV park, a modern hotel and the Lucky Buck Cafe. How cute is that? Besides the Lucky Buck Café with the biggest scooners of beer around, Rainbow Pools is a favorite local hot spot. The Tuolumne River runs thru the Tuolumne Canyon with plenty of swimming holes along the way. Fishing for some Rainbow trout, jumping of the rocks into the pools, having a picnic or taking a short hike this place is an awesome afternoon stop! Another one of my favorite place to go! Somedays I take book and read other days I take a burrito and a beer!
You finally made it! Welcome to Yosemite National Park, Ca
Hasn’t it been a beautiful drive by Lake Don Pedro and through the mountains to get here? Go ahead and take a deep breath of this fresh Yosemite air! As you enter the Big Oak Flat entrance, you will pay your fee of $30 a vehicle and receive a map of Yosemite National Park. Myself, I like to drive into the Yosemite Valley floor. However, as a guest aand 1st time visitor I would try the Yosemite Shuttle Bus. There is parking near the main gate. The bus picks up and drops off at different locations around the Valley.
Why I suggest that is:
- The parking is very crowded and its very frustrating wasting your day trying to find a parking place.
- When you are driving you can not sit back and enjoy the scenery as you are watching for animals and curves in the road. Hop on the bus.
- Less stress is best and enjoy yourself.
If you choose to drive into the Valley here are a few suggestions.
- Drive the speed limit as the Park Rangers are very strict on speed inside the Park Boundaries.
- Watch for Bears and other Wildlife they will cause damage to your car in an accident.
- Please have patience while finding a parking place.
- Wear a life jacket when near the water.
- Turn on your headlights while driving.
- Pay attention to warning signs.
No problem! Currently I have 3 homes available within a 30 mile radius of Yosemite Gate. Prices range from $129 to $149 per room or we can arrange to rent the whole house. Call me at 209-768-9264 for dates, rates or specials.
I have lived in this beautiful area for the over 25 years, so if I can help make your visit to Yosemite anymore special, please let me know and I’ll see what I can do.
We do have access to Yosemite Tours, Horseback Riding, Kayak Rentals, Bicycle Rentals, Fishing Guide Service.
South Fork Campground offer free camping.Contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lets Wrap this up!
Yosemite National Park has had a special place my heart for the past 25 years and I am so excited to share my adventures in and around YNP with you! There is always so much to see, it seems there is not enough time for it all. If you would like to visit Yosemite with me as your personal guide it would be my pleasure!
Watch for updates and photos to the website and an upcoming blog!