Yosemite Valley Loop

October 21, 2022
Yosemite Chapel to Happy Isles
Total distance walked: 4 miles

On a pleasant Friday morning with a fresh chill in the air, Marilyn and I headed out to capture photographs of fall. We walked a short distance on the Yosemite Valley Loop trail beginning at Yosemite Chapel.

Yosemite Chapel
Yosemite Chapel
Valley Loop Trail behind Yosemite Chapel.

Leaves strewn about the forest floor crackled under foot reminding us that autumn was well underway.

Yosemite National Park
Bigleaf Maple leaf on a fern.

We found mushrooms, hidden gems of the forest, growing on deadwood and popping up from the ground.

Cryptic Globe Fungus

In a sunnier area, milkweed had gone to seed. Monarch butterflies require milkweed for their larvae. No milkweed, no monarchs.

Yosemite National Park

The path took us past LeConte Memorial Lodge (aka Yosemite Conservation Heritage Center). The Lodge is run by the Sierra Club and is used as a natural history library. It has limited hours and was closed the day we were there.

Farther up the trail we entered Happy Isles where dogwood trees were losing their depth of color.

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park

The Merced River surrounding Happy Isles was quite low compared to springtime.

Yosemite National Park
A stream instead of a river.

Temptation overtook us and we left the trail at Happy Isles to sit amongst the rocks. It was shocking to see the river—usually surging with energy—so dry.

Sitting in the middle of the Merced River looking south.
Clark’s Bridge over no water, looking north.

From there we headed back to the car on the undulating path through the woods, stopping to photograph more of Yosemite’s fall treasures.

Yosemite National Park
Near Sentinel Meadow

We enjoyed our autumn walk where Yosemite was slowing down and waiting for winter. Though I continued to hike throughout the remainder of 2022, this was my last visit to the park.