I was introduced to this four-day tour by the Sacramento Bike Hikers, who used to do it every year, and for that I’ll always be grateful. The loop has enormous scenic variety and an iconic destination that amps up the drama from the first pedal stroke. Not every mile is rewarding. There’s some boring flat straight stuff, there’s some traffic dodging, there’s some rough road surface, and there are way too many people in the Park. Yet it remains a grand, bucket-list experience. Just say it with me: “riding my bike to Yosemite.” Right. You’re down for it, I know.
It’s not at all daunting. The climbing is mostly quite mellow, and there’s only one longish day, and that’s almost all downhill. For that and other reasons, I don’t recommend trying to shorten the ride. This is really one of those rides you want to keep epic. Try to talk a friend who wants to go to Yosemite into driving a sag wagon. But I’m a realist, so after we walk through the tour we’ll talk about ways to shorten it.
If you have a National Park pass of some sort, remember to pack it before setting forth. It does no good to remember it on Day 3 as you approach the Park entrance.
Distance: 49 miles one way
Elevation gain: 2630 ft