Nearby Yosemite: Things To See & Do

While I’m sure there’s quite a bit more to discover, living just outside the park has opened my eyes quite a bit. I’ve learned about some things to do in the surrounding area. Here’s an index of photos I’ve taken nearby Yosemite.

Car Headlights Driving Through The Foothills at Sunset - SR120, nearby Yosemite
Car Headlights Returning Home From the Park on SR120

Groveland & Sierra Foothills

Iron Door Saloon in Downtown Groveland - Nearby Yosemite
Iron Door Saloon in Downtown Groveland

This quaint little mountain town is the last stop when traveling to Yosemite on SR120. Pictured above is the Iron Door Saloon, which boasts that it’s the “oldest continuously operated saloon in California”.

Old Priest Grade Road

Old Priest Grade Road at Sunset - Nearby Yosemite
Treacherous (but scenic) shortcut on the drive to Yosemite

Although this steep shortcut is actually just a road on the drive to the park, opportunistic photographers will see the value in pulling over and snapping some landscape photos. The view over the foothills is quite memorable – Especially at sunset! Of course, just driving such an intense, windy road is an adventure in and of itself.

Don Pedro Reservoir – Nearby Yosemite

Don Pedro Lake at Sunset, From Bridge
Don Pedro Lake at Sunset

While we’re talking about the foothills, it’s a good time to mention this scenic lake – also on the SR120 route. You’ll find it a few miles after Chinese Camp, on your left. As you can see above, sunset is a great time to stop and appreciate the serenity here.

Lee Vining Town

Grocery & Market in Lee Vining Town, CA
“Main Street U.S.A.”

What appears to be a hot, desert town on the east side of Yosemite National Park is actually a funky, thriving community situated at over 6,000ft! For many park visitors who are in the know, The Whoa Nelly Deli is legendary. I hope to write more about it soon…

Mono Lake – Nearby Yosemite

Mono Lake Waters From Above on Highway 395
A Gem in The Eastern Sierra

Finally, I’ll close with iconic Mono Lake. As you head east out of Yosemite on Tioga Road, the stunning, azure waters of this high desert lake come into view. Famous for its martian-like, abstract tufas located on its shores, there’s really nothing quite like it.

Also have a look at the main pages for each of these destinations below:

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About My Photos

The images on this website are available for licensing and/or sale as framed prints. If you’d like to purchase them for a blog, news article, or gift, feel free to contact me with the specifics. This way you’re supporting photographers such as me directly (as opposed to buying from a faceless stock photo corporation).

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– Nathan Allen

About Me

Photographer Nathan Allen

I’m Nathan Allen, photographer / creator of (Yosemite Photos) and international travel site I Dreamed Of This. In truth, I lived in San Francisco, New York, & Singapore…but nothing compares to life in the mountains. I share my experiences HERE.