San Francisco/Bay area Distance: 195 mi / 314 km Time:4-5 hours Take I-580 east to I-205 east to Highway 120 east (Manteca) or Highway 140 east (Merced) into Yosemite National Park.
Winter is least crowded -- but views with fresh snow and low clouds are truly memorable; summer is the most crowded, with traffic and people everywhere in the valley. The many waterfalls are most spectacular in the spring with the snowmelt -- but there is a chance the roads above the valley will be closed due to high snow. Book well ahead of planned arrival.
Located at the west end of Yosemite Valley, a short walk leads to this spring morning view of this spectacular waterfall. Bring an umbrella or poncho!