Peddling through Yosemite ’s Favorite Season


Story and photos by Leslie Jones


The moment you drive through those impressive stone arches, around that final bend and witness your first glance at this historic, multi-faceted jewel through the towering redwoods, you instinctively know that you’ve discovered something very unique. Known for its stunning architecture, both inside and out, the fact that it easily blends with the surrounding trees and rock formations speaks volumes of its rustic beauty and appeal.

Walking down the rustic red-carpeted entry way while glancing into the gift shop filled with wares from local artisans, you soon step into the magical world-renowned Ahwahnee Hotel which comes alive with an old-world charm and hospitable energy. International in every sense of the word, a mixture of languages and ethnically influenced Native American and Middle Eastern décor lends added intrigue.

The entire front desk team is gracious, the concierge works tirelessly assisting guests and day visitors alike, and the intimacy of this place leaves you feeling as though you’re coming home. Perhaps this is what keeps so many coming back year after year.

Venturing outside, on a warm, fall day, children are playing on the expansive, green lawn while visitors are enjoying gourmet burgers, salads and cocktails in the outdoor dining area. Photographers are shooting a family of mule deer along with climbers on one of the area’s towering rock walls. Further back behind the property, the immense lawn area and beautifully designed Ahwahnee Bridge offers incredible views of Half Dome and the Royal Arches rock formations along with Yosemite Falls .

The area’s interconnected bike paths lead in multiple directions and each one is uniquely enjoyable. One direction heads through heavily forested woods and leads up to Mirror Lake , across to the valley stables and over to the Happy Isles Nature Center . This is also near the Mist Trail entrance which leads hikers and backpackers to the high country high above. Be sure to look up often at the world-famous Half Dome which proudly stands directly above.

Another expansive bike pathway leads down to Curry Village and large panoramic viewing meadows. Further down is the valley chapel, the swinging bridge, Yosemite Lodge and Yosemite Village . Trails are plentiful, well maintained, and easy to maneuver and the scenery along the way is incredibly diverse.

Several stops in the village are highly encouraged including the Ansel Adams Gallery which offers colorful photography and artist quality gifts. The nearby Yosemite Conservancy bookstore and visitor center are also quality, educational stops along the way if you desire something a little less tourist oriented.

Yosemite has something for everyone including rock climbers, hikers, backpackers, horse riders, campers and those who yearn for something a little more comfortable. It is a magical destination especially when the crowds head home and the fall colors arrive. Bikes are available to rent although bringing your own makes the journey that much

more enjoyable. Get out on the trails, enjoy the fresh air and a little exercise along the way. It will rejuvenate body, mind and soul!

Yosemite Conservancy

Ansel Adams Gallery


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