Hetch Hetchy, Glacier Point, Tunnel View, Mirror Lake, and a myriad of ancient roads are side trips I took during this visit. Any one of the biggies I’ve written about already would be reason enough come to Yosemite but there’s so much more to see. Some of these are worth setting apart and mentioning.
The water supply for San Francisco comes largely from behind a dam built at one of Yosemite’s great canyons. After the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire, Hetch Hechy within Yosemite was the wildly controversial selection of location to create a huge reservoir. The city was growing rapidly; it needed a large and dependable supply of water. Not only was water important for daily life but also for fire control. Steps needed to be taken to preempt another out-of-control fire such as the one that destroyed the city.
Glacier Point is high above Yosemite Valley and is centrally located. Importantly it’s also on the south side which means that light illuminates most of Yosemite’s key features: Vernal Falls, Half Dome, Yosemite Falls, etc. Much of the year the road up is closed due to snow but unlike my last trip, I found the road open. And the views phenomenal. See for yourself.
Two quick mentions of other destinations. One of the best views along the length of the valley is as you descend into Yosemite on Wawona Road at Tunnel View. As you can see below, everything from El Capitan to Half Dome to Bridalveil Falls is visible in one shot. Also, while the loop around Mirror Lake is closed due to rockfall, it’s still worth a hike because of how beautiful it is and how close you get to the foot of Half Dome.
These were all places I visited either between visits or while recuperating from from hikes to Half Dome, Olmsted Point, Tuolumne Meadows and Clouds Rest. They were all impressive in their own right but overshadowed.by