There’s no denying that Yosemite is an outdoor enthusiasts’ paradise. With its breathtaking views of the mountains, towering Giant Sequoias, and abundance of wildlife, it’s the perfect place to take hike. But it isn’t without its drawbacks. The park attracts more than four million visitors each year, including more than fifty-thousand overnight hikers, leading to overcrowding at times on popular trails. Many visitors traveling with man’s best friend are disappointed to find that dogs are allowed on paved trails in the park, and are banned from dirt trails, walk-in campgrounds, wilderness areas, and more.

Luckily, there’s a way to enjoy the natural beauty of the region without the crowds and restrictions, and it lies just outside of the park’s boundaries. Bass Lake and the surrounding area offers a multitude of hiking trails of varying difficulties, many of which are open year round, and all offering spectacular views and scenic routes without the crowds of Yosemite. These trails make a great addition to any trip to Yosemite. Before you start planning your trip, be sure to download The Pine Resort’s Free Yosemite Trip Planner, where you’ll find great tips, hiking guides for visitors of all ages and skill levels, maps, and a picture tour of the park.

Willow Creek Trail

This 2.7 mile loop Willow Creek Trail is a great trail for any hiker, from seasoned experts to beginners. It’s a relatively easy hike, with some moderate uphill climbs. The distance makes it a great way to spend a morning or afternoon, with plenty of time left in your day for other hikes or activities. The trail follows a creek upstream to two waterfalls, Angel’s Falls and Devil’s Slide, with views of the mountains beyond. Willow Creek Trail is open from May through October, and dogs are welcome. It’s also a popular trail for mountain bikers..

Way-of-the-Mono Interpretive Trail


For families visiting with children or anyone looking to learn something about some of the first inhabitants of the area,Way-of-the-Mono Interpretive Trail offers an easy 0.6 mile walk with signs describing the lives of the Mono Native American tribe and a vista point that offers a spectacular view of the mountains.

Goat Mountain Trail


Beginning in the Forks Campground, this four mile out-and-back trail offer sweeping views of Bass Lake, framed by the mountains in the distance. Open June thru September, Goat Mountain Trail is dog and horseback friendly, and is another popular mountain biking destination. Located along the trail is the Goat Mountain Fire Lookout.

Browns Ditch Flume Trail

One of the most unique trails in the area, Browns Ditch Flume Trail follows the metal flume that carries water to Bass Lake during the wet season. This easy, two and a half mile, one way trail has several suspended walk ways over the flume, as well as views of the valley below the lake.

Lewis Creek Trail

Just seven miles south of Yosemite, Lewis Creek Trail offers two different destinations. The first is Corlieu Falls, a half mile round-trip trail to an eighty foot series of breathtaking cascades. The second trail is a three mile round-trip path that leads to Red Rock Falls, a shorter, but much stronger, wider waterfall. Much of this well-maintained trail follows the route of the old Madera-Sugar Pine Lumber Company flume that once carried logs from the Sugar Pine Lumber Company to the town of Madera.

Nelder Grove



With Mariposa Grove closed for ecology restoration until at least the spring of 2017, visitors to the region looking to view the famous Giant Sequoias can travel six miles south to Nelder Grove. Though the Sequoias are more dispersed in this area than in Mariposa, on many trails they are spaced as close as a half mile from each other. There are several trails in this area, including Shadow of the Giants Trail, a one mile interpretive trail that follows Nelder Creek and Bull Buck Loop, a one mile round trip trail that passes by Bull Buck Tree, considered to be one of the world’s largest Giant Sequoias at a height of 246 feet and a base circumference of 99 feet.

Oakhurst Waterfall

For hikers looking for a longer trip, Oakhurst Waterfalls is an eight mile out and back trail. Open from March to August, this trail, though long, is an easy hike, and offers views of several waterfalls in the Oakhurst area.

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