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  • Writer's pictureEcho Adventure Cooperative Members

Top 10 Half Day Adventures In & Around Yosemite

What is there to do in Groveland? What if we only have a half day to play in Yosemite? How can we make the most of everyday of our vacation? What do you recommend for a short day with small kids?

We get these questions A LOT, so here are, in no particular order, the top 10 things to do when you only have a half day in the area!

1 Shopping in downtown Groveland

This itinerary assumes you have an insatiable appetite, so adjust as needed! Start with lunch at California's oldest bar, the Iron Door Saloon! Then say hello to Top of the Trail Coffee Roasters for a walking latte (yes, of course, that is a thing. Right?)

The easy next move is Trail Less Traveled Bike & Gear for fun t-shirts and information on local mountain biking areas! Pop into the gift shops like Serendipity, Precision Optics, Breezeway Gifts, and Motherlode Made before heading to our Yosemite Basecamp Outfitter for new and used gear!

Then cross the street to see and smell the leather hides, furniture, and accessories at Ranch Revived! There are also incredible wellness shops at the Mountain Leisure Center, so you can schedule a massage at Brightfire Wellness! Last, but not least, stop at The Grove Mercantile for the BEST house-made ice cream.

On your way out, we recommend stopping at Around the Horn Brewing for a snack and Crowler of their finest mountain-brewed beer!

2Sierra Sunset BBQ and Stargazing Tour

Dinner and show! Seriously, this 5 hours evening puts Medieval Times to shame (can we even say that?). You'll load up and head over to an incredible lava flat outside town. Your guide will grill up hot dogs while you relax or explore the area. Pro tip - ask about the quick walk to dramatic views of the Tuolumne River Canyon. Once the sky darkens, your guide will take you on a cultural and historical tour of the night sky. You will definitely never see the night sky the same!

Available Fridays, May - October | $75.00 - $125.00 | LEARN MORE

3 Merced Grove of Giant Sequoias

Did you know that Tuolumne County is home to the biggest tree species in the world!? Several groves of Giant Sequoias exist throughout Tuolumne County and the Sierra, but one of our favorites is the Merced Grove, located just inside Yosemite National Park on Highway 120. This 3-mile roundtrip hike is perfect for a half-day adventure.

For more great hiking ideas throughout Tuolumne County, CLICK HERE for Visit Tuolumne's Best Trail Map!

4 Mountain Bike Rentals

Enjoy sightseeing through Yosemite Valley, mountain biking in Stanislaus National Forest, or just peddling around Groveland on a Norco Storm Hardtail Mountain Bike or a Specialized Rockhopper Hardtail Mountain Bike that are equally suited for most mountain trails, fire roads, and park paths! Cruisers are also available for rent if you would like more of that Cadillac comfort!

Available Year Round | Rent for 1, 2 or 3 days | $60.00 - $150.00 | LEARN MORE

5 Fly Fishing

Due to the extreme changes in elevation across the region, we have access to incredible fly fishing all year long! Depending on your ability and experience you can choose our private Family Fun Fly Fishing Half Day and or the Experienced Anglers Private Half Day! Don't need a guide? Then you can rent fly fishing gear and we'll point you to our favorite spots!

Fly Fishing Available Year Round | Trips start at $180.00 per person | LEARN MORE

6 Ahwahnechee Village and Museum

The Yosemite Valley museum's displays focus on the heritage and culture of the Ahwahnechee people. This is a guide favorite and a must-see! It is located in eastern Yosemite Valley, in Yosemite Village, nearest to Yosemite Village Parking. The Yosemite Museum is also located at shuttle stop #5 on the free Yosemite Valley shuttle route.

Available Year Round, 10am - 3pm | Free with Park Entrance | LEARN MORE

7 Yosemite Valley & Roosevelt Cookout

This isn't technically a half day, but it starts late and is private and customizable! Ultimately, this adaptive adventure is customized based on ability and aspiration.

You'll enjoy a leisurely afternoon sightseeing and walking among the iconic landmarks of Yosemite Valley before relaxing on the bank of the Merced River and swimming in crystal-clear mountain water while your guide sets the table and grills up the perfect dinner! Your Roosevelt BBQ will begin with fresh fruit, green salad, and fresh bread before you are served an organic, locally sourced steak with two grilled, seasonally available vegetable sides! We'll keep the sparkling lemonade and iced tea flowing and end our meal with a summer pie selection. This will be a dinner you will remember for a lifetime!

No worries, vegetarians, we got ya! Options and other food preferences are available upon request! Ultimately, this adaptive adventure is customized based on ability and aspiration.

Available April - September, 12pm - 7pm | $225.00 - $270.00 | LEARN MORE

8 Groveland Yosemite Gateway Museum

Located on Highway 120 in Downtown Groveland, the museum's exhibits cover the Native American era, to the Gold Rush, to the massive Hetch Hetchy project ending in 1935. Exhibits depict the daily life of a range of local families who settled in the area and their work in mining, lumbering, and tourism. They also have an incredible historical walking map of Groveland - Our Yosemite Basecamp, for example, was built in 1870 as a livery stable!

Museum open 10 - 2 Fri, Sat, and Sun. | Free | LEARN MORE

9Off Road Jeep Tour

Join Miller's Off Road Adventures for an incredible half-day Jeep Tour! Explore the doorstep of Yosemite National Park on their off-road adventure tours through the pristine Stanislaus National Forest, where you will experience the Tuolumne River Canyon's breathtaking views and incredible wildlife!

​Each Jeep has 4 doors and holds up to 5 passengers, including the driver. There is a mesh Bimini top and open-air metal doors in the warmer months. Adaptive and pet-friendly jeeps are also available upon request! Tours are always kept small, with at most 4 vehicles in any group.

Available April - November | $350.00 - 420.00 per jeep | LEARN MORE

10 Take the Scenic Route

From Tehachapi Pass to Lake Tahoe, there is almost no wrong turn in Sierra. It's all freaking spectacular! If you have extra time, we recommend spending it on the way to your destination.

Coming to Yosemite from LA? Loop around the Sierra and up Hwy 395 and then over Tioga Pass! This adds 2.5 hours of driving, but you will pass through the desert, around Mt Whitney, and over the highest drivable mountain pass in California. Sounds fantastic and we didn't even mention Schatts Bakery!

Visiting From Sacramento? Drive Highway 49 and enjoy wine tastings, Gold Rush Era town, cavern adventures, hikes through Giant sequoias, and way way more!

Bay Area!? That's an easy one! Stay along the Highway 120 entrance, but drive up through Highway 41. You can take the Sugar Pine Railroad, ride horses through the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias or stop at the Wawona Hotel and the Pioneer History Center.


About Echo Adventure Cooperative

Echo Adventure Cooperative is a socially and environmentally sustainable worker cooperative (with B-Corp Certification!) offering adventure goods and services to Yosemite visitors! Visit us at our Yosemite Basecamp in downtown Groveland, CA and experience our:

  • The Adventure Loft, a full-service, high tech, sustainable, accommodation for up to 4 adult adventurers!

  • The Basecamp Bunkhouse, is our full service, family friendly, ADA compliant accommodation for up to 6 visitors of any age!

  • The Basecamp Outfitter is our one stop shop for your adventure needs with park information, informational videos, guided adventures, a full-service fly shop, outdoor essentials and used gear store. Our store focuses on worker owned, us made and certified B-Corporations like Fish Pond, Patagonia and more!

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