We initially planned for a really early start for Yosemite but we had a late night so we slept in and set off only after we had a good night’s rest.
We planned plenty of fun stops along the way but didn’t had time to visit all of them. They are listed below so that we can KIV for any future visits to Yosemite.
Before driving to Yosemite, be sure to check the road conditions into Yosemite before planning your route since it is the wintertime. We need tire chains if the road conditions in Yosemite is rated R2. Yosemite Winter Driving Tips: http://www.yosemitepark.com/yosemite-winter-driving.aspx
Places of interest between Bakersfield to Yosemite
Stop #1: For a lunch stop, why not try dining in a plane, while on the ground? Certainly Richard’s Lunchbox in Tulare is an interesting lunch stop.
Address: 240 N L Street, Tulare, CA
They weren’t open the week before Christmas so we gave them a miss.
Stop #2: Bravo Farms
Shopping, food, market and treehouses?
Address: 36005 CA-99, Traver, CA 93673
Hours: 7am – 7pm, every day
Stop #3: The Historic Kingsburg Jail
This 80-year-old jail is free to visitors any day of the year. Well, of course, it is a jail isn’t it? Actually it is no longer a functioning jail but still worth short look to see how jails look like decades ago. Hint: It is Really tiny!
Address: Not sure, but it is right below a water tower shaped like a coffee pot. You can’t miss it!
Stop #4: Imagine this: Seeing the world’s largest raisin box! It is all “happening” at Sunmaid for fanatics of the tiny sweet wrinkled stuff.
Address: 13525 South Bethel Avenue Kingsburg, CA 93631
Hours: 8:30 am – 5pm
(Top tip in Yosemite: Do not leave food unattended in the car.)
Take Highway 99 to Fresno. From Fresno, continue on 99 and turn out towards Le Grand and then to 140 (Mariposa, Midpines, El portal) to Yosemite Valley. It is a slightly longer path but with better weather conditions. Call Call 209-372-0200 (press 1 and 1) to check on Yosemite road conditions and also visit the Ca Highway site for road conditions outside of Yosemite.
Tours depart daily from Yosemite Lodge at the Falls, Shuttle Stop #8.
As it turned out, it was snowy (nice!) and so we had to rent tire chains. Due to my earlier research, I rented the chains from here:
Stage Stop Mini Mart
5099 CA Hwy 140
Mariposa, CA 95338
6 AM – 10 PM, Mon – Sun
Only rents, doesn’t sell. Deposit refunded if returned unused
$25 rent, $25 deposit for standard cars
$50 rent, $100 deposit for SUVs and trucks
Putting on tire chains is an adventure. It could be much worse but we did eventually get it on by ourselves.
Driving in the snow is slow but we eventually reached our lodge (Lodge by the Falls) before dinner. We had a wonderful meal at Yosemite Lodge’s food court before having an early night in a wonderful winter wonderland.