Orlando Bingles’ Western Adventure: Day 14

by Bingle on Jun.13, 2008, under Richard Bingle Family

The park wasn’t nearly as crowded on Memorial Day as it had been the day before (I figure most folks were on their way home) and we had no problems driving or parking within the valley on our second day in the park. Unfortunately, while it wasn’t drizzling like it had been the day before, the mountains were still pretty well socked in with clouds. The sign as we entered the park indicated that Tioga Pass (our planned route to Death Valley the next day) and Glacier Point Road were still closed.

Lookout Below

We started the day by hiking a ways up Four-Mile Trail towards Glacier Point. It turns out that Glacier Point is around five miles up Four-Mile Trail, and it is quite a climb at an altitude change of 3200 feet. We never intended to hike to the top, an instead ended up hiking uphill for about 30 minutes which was about .5 mile up the trail with a resulting gain in altitude of about 600-700 feet (over 4 miles and 2500 feet short of the top). Not having a trail map, getting tired, figuring there wouldn’t be much of a view at the top due to the weather, and the thought of encountering snow on the trail once we got to higher elevations, we decided that was far enough and headed back down. Going down was much easier than going up!

Hiking had caused us to work up an appetite, so we parked in the day use lot again and took the shuttle to the Visitor’s Center and had lunch at the deli (as had been recommended by Karen’s friend). We probably could have ordered 3 or 4 sandwiches for the 5 of us instead of one apiece as we were pretty stuffed when we were done.

After lunch we took the shuttle to Happy Isle (yesterday’s shuttle black hole) and hiked the .8 miles to the footbridge near the bottom of Vernal Falls. While the path was smoother and wider than Four-Mile, it seemed much steeper (or maybe I was just getting worn out). We eventually made it to the bridge, took some pictures, and got a drink at the water fountain by the bridge.

Going Down

We briefly considered hiking the Mist Trail up to the top of the falls, but once we saw the condition of the trail past the bridge (rocks and broken asphalt) we quickly decided we’d seen enough of Vernal Falls after-all. Unfortunately, this time the walk down was almost as bad (if not worse) than the walk up had been. With the path being as steep and smooth as it was, it was fairly hard on the knees and we were all glad when we had reached the bottom.


We finished our day with a visit to the Happy Isle Nature Center and then headed back to the van and back to our hotel in Oakhurst. As we were leaving we noticed that both Glacier Point Road and Tioga Pass were now both open! We decided it was too late in the day to drive the almost 2 hours up to Glacier Point (besides, the clouds were still prevalent), but did give us hope that we could drive over Tioga Pass the next day on our way to Death Valley.

Next stop, Tioga Pass!

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.