Wawona Day Trip – Walking Distance or a Short Drive From Your Cabin!

Many repeat guests to The Redwoods never leave Wawona, as they have discovered the many recreational choices right in their own backyard. You can spend a whole day relaxing on the deck of your cabin, surrounded by towering pines, or, in the winter, nestled in front of a fire in your cozy living room. Here are just some of the ways you can spend a day in Wawona.

  • On each side of and actually spanning the South Fork of the Merced River is the Pioneer Yosemite History Center, a collection of furnished cabins and buildings, an old jail, horse-drawn vehicles, exhibits, and a covered bridge. During certain times, volunteers open the cabins and portray historic figures from Yosemite’s past. You can also take a 10-minute horse-drawn stage ride from the Wells Fargo Office in the History Center.
  • A riding stable behind the History Center is open during the summer, offering guided horseback rides.
  • Enjoy a campfire program, ranger-led walk, or evening entertainment at the Wawona Hotel. Check the Yosemite Guide for current schedule.
  • Play a round of golf on the historic 9-hole Wawona Golf Course. The course was laid out in 1917, and while the layout is not especially long, it features lots of rough and water hazards. Watch for deer grazing the fairways! After a winter snowfall, the course is perfect for cross-country skiing and sledding!
  • Swimming holes dot the South Fork of the Merced River as it runs through Wawona. Our front desk staff will direct you to some of our favorite swimming holes.
  • Spend the afternoon sunning on the rocks at Swinging Bridge, an idyllic mountain stream retreat.
  • Fishing is allowed on the South Fork from the last Saturday of April until November 15. You can obtain a California fishing license and guidelines at the Pine Tree Market in Wawona.
  • Hike Chilnualna Falls. A short 20-minute climb leads to a delightful small waterfall, which cascades over boulders and rocks. A strenuous 8.2 mile roundtrip hike, which gains almost 2,500 feet over 4 miles, will reward you with views into Wawona Valley and wooded ridges beyond, as well as spectacular views of Chilnualna Falls. Allow 6 to 8 hours for the roundtrip hike, and take plenty of water in the summer, as there is significant exposure to the sun on the trail, and temperatures can be extreme.
  • Enjoy a pleasant walk on the Meadow Loop Trail. This unpaved fire road skirts the edge of the Wawona Meadow, and then circles back through pine forests to the Wawona Hotel. Enjoy wildlife and solitude on this 3-mile loop, which should take less than 1 hours.
  • Relax with a beverage on the wide front porch of the historic Wawona Hotel, before enjoying a delicious dinner in the Wawona Hotel Dining Room.

On any day trip, always take along a pack with water, snacks, camera, binoculars, insect repellant, and sunscreen. Most scheduled activities, such as ranger-led programs, are offered primarily during the summer months.