Merced River Relaxation

Short on time or funds? Using the Yosemite Area Rapid Transit System (YARTS) and the free Park shuttles, it’s possible to experience Yosemite in a day for under $100 per adult. This is one of five single-day "Yosemite on a Shoestring" excursions featured on this map that is accessible from the Merced area. Link them together for a multi-day adventure, or check out the longer Trip Ideas for more options.

Layers
Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System (YARTS)
1
Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System (YARTS)
Natural Area | National Park or Monument
Ride YARTS from Merced Transpo (7am) or Merced Amtrak (7:10am), and arrive at Yosemite Valley Visitor Center at 9:47am

The Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System (YARTS) is a regularly scheduled, fixed route, public transit system that operates year-round in the Yosemite region. YARTS provides service into Yosemite National…

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Cook's Meadow Loop
2
Cook's Meadow Loop
Outdoor Adventures | Hiking Trail or Trailhead
Stop at the Valley Visitor Center and pick up a self-guiding brochure for the one mile Cook’s Meadow Loop Trail. This short, easy walk takes approximately 30 minutes, and offers stunning views of Yosemite Falls, Half Dome, Glacier Point, and Sentinel Rock. If you want a longer hike, you can add a meander through Sentinel Meadow to make a 2.5-mile loop. Either length will take you across the lovely Merced River and through meadows teeming with wildflowers in spring and early summer.

Cook's Meadow Loop is a short easy walk offering stunning views of some of the most famous of Yosemite Parks sights.

The walk begins at the Yosemite Valley Visitors Center which can be accessed by the free visitors shuttle from either stop #…

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Sentinel Bridge
3
Sentinel Bridge
Outdoor Adventures | Scenic Viewpoint
From the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center, walk west along the bicycle path toward Lower Yosemite Fall. At shuttle stop #6, cross the street and follow the bike path, bearing left as the path forks. At Sentinel Bridge parking area (shuttle stop #11), walk out onto the bridge to enjoy a spectacular view of Half Dome reflected on the Merced River and Yosemite Falls nearby.

Located within Yosemite National Park, Sentinel Bridge is famous for its spectacular views of Half Dome reflected in the Merced River. From the bridge it is also…

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Picnic Areas at Yosemite National Park
4
Picnic Areas at Yosemite National Park
Outdoor Adventures | Scenic Viewpoint
Enjoy a picnic lunch at Sentinel Beach Picnic Area, or visit the adjacent Swinging Bridge Picnic Area, both of which have picnic tables, grills, vault toilets, and garbage/recycling receptacles. Potable water is NOT available at either picnic area. Take some time to relax on the beach and enjoy the Merced River.

Pack a lunch and visit the Picnic/Day Use Areas in the Park! With your lunches packed and plenty of water on board, pedal along the 12 miles of paved trails and take a lunch break at one of the beautiful Picnic/Day Use Areas in the Park:

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Degnan's Deli, Cafe and Loft Yosemite Village
5
Follow the boardwalk back across the meadow, cross the two streets, and turn right to return to the visitor center. This trail is wheelchair accessible (when not covered in snow). Explore the Village and enjoy an early dinner at one of several budget-friendly restaurants.

Degnans Deli, Cafe and Loft are located in the centre of Yosemite Village. These conveniently located restaurants provide reasonably priced snacks and meals for visitors to the Valley.

Dengan's Deli serves sandwiches prepared on site,…

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Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System (YARTS)
6
Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System (YARTS)
Natural Area | National Park or Monument
Hop back on the YARTS bus at the Valley Visitor Center at 5:55pm, and return to the Merced Amtrak station at 8:27pm or the Merced Transpo station at 8:37pm.

The Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System (YARTS) is a regularly scheduled, fixed route, public transit system that operates year-round in the Yosemite region. YARTS provides service into Yosemite National…

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Trip Plan Details

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In This Trip Plan

1 Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System (YARTS)
2 Cook's Meadow Loop
3 Sentinel Bridge
4 Picnic Areas at Yosemite National Park
5 Degnan's Deli, Cafe and Loft Yosemite Village
6 Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System (YARTS)